Lena Dunham is known for being the creator and protagonist in HBO'S tv show 'Girls' and even though I've seen no more than half an episode, I was intrigued when Not That Kind Of Girl started creeping over the blogosphere. Where did this rise of popular female-charged non-fiction come from? I had to see what all the fuss was about.
Whether you like this book or not, depends on what your stance is on the idea that 'everyone deserves to tell their story'. I feel quite strongly about this... I'll explain.
Biographies of any kind are very self-involved. They are about an individual person's life. What they've done, experienced, achieved, failed at. A successful biography - to me - is one that goes further than just telling stories. A successful biography is one that makes you think about your own life, how you understand things and what changes you could make.
I tend not to take personal-attack reviews seriously. What you 'think' about the writer shouldn't matter, it's what you have personally gained from reading the book that matters. Books should make you feel. So, when I glimpsed over reviews on Goodreads I read some pretty damning opinions on the style of narrative (self-involved) and the content itself (TMI) which I thought was really unfair.
Lena is a voice of our generation, not THE voice, and I think she knows that. It's a perspective on life that I believe anyone our age (mid-twenties) can relate to in some way or another. This was her intention, which is why the book is divided into topics to discuss, rather than chronological chapters. Topics range from sex life to friendships, therapy to the body, and these are discussed in terms of memories that Lena has of her own life.
I found myself laughing-out-loud and cringing at sections that may have been too-close-to-home. We've all had friends like Lena, or maybe we're like her, ourselves, and that's what makes it so relatable. Maybe I have no idea of what it was like to grow up in New York, with a therapist and suffering from serious hypochondria, but that's really besides the point. It's the honesty that maybe we don't display in our own lives that I really admire about Lena. It must be hard to lay your life out on paper for anyone to read, especially when you're discussing your sexual escapades.
We're not here to judge a person on the reasons why they're writing about their life, when you've personally made the choice to read a book about someone's life, and so when I think about the book in terms of its content I want to read it all over again. It forces memories of your own to the forefront of your mind and makes you evaluate who you are and what you have done. It's a must-read, not just for women, but for men too.
If you've read Not That Kind Of Girl, share your thoughts below, we'd love to know what you thought of it too!