Not That Kind of Girl by Lena Dunham

I listened to the audiobook of this. Presumably anyone who is a fan of hers would know Dunham’s voice, so this would have been pretty bad if she did not read it herself. I like the way Dunham talks. I like her manner of speech (presumably how many of the young folk speak these days?) and her slightly nasal tone (she discusses some sort of adenoidal complaint in the book). I like her TV show. I have no clue what is supposed to be going on in the TV show, though, and I have yet to work out if we are supposed to be laughing at or with her on-screen self and her friends. nb: I laugh at them, they are awful people. We’re supposed to hate them all, right?

This is her memoir, or a collection of essays about what she has “learned” (her speech marks, not mine) in her twenty-seven years. Why shouldn’t she write a memoir at twenty-seven if she feels she has something to say? She has achieved a lot in those years so she ought to share her knowledge. Many of her struggles and problems of her youth are universal to all girls. And many of them are so laughably middle-class I am open-mouthed as I listen. Many of her observations are witty and entertaining, also.

There is an excellent chapter on why she chooses to take her clothes off on TV a lot. There is a thought-provoking chapter about a time she had a horrible sexual experience. There is a whole chapter about her fairly normal periods, and many references to the sort of health issues that only the very well-off worry about. She loves her family and respects her parents. She seems nice enough, but there is no way that we could ever be friends, mainly because she writes about her friends for her TV show and nothing would ever be private.

Dunham’s upbringing and mine are so different that we may as well have been raised on different planets. Still, I enjoyed some of her anecdotes, even if sometimes I marveled at the complete and utter unacknowledged (in this book, at least) privilege that she has enjoyed in her life.

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