Not That Kind of Girl (Discussion)

Not that kind of girlFirst off I have to confess, I've never seen Lena Dunham's show, Girls. I've had lots of friends recommend it to me, but I just haven't gotten around to watching it. To be honest, I sort of feel like I probably already watch enough TV. (Did that sound snobby? Guys, I love TV. I just mean that I probably watch too much already.) So, when I found out Dunham had a book coming out, and everyone kept saying it was a similar vibe to her show, I was stoked to check it out. 

Typically at some point while reading a book, if I really like it, I'll flip to the back cover to show about the author. I like to think of back cover author bios as an old school alternative to just googling an author. Anyway, Dunham and I are the same age. Cool. She has her own show, a best selling book, eight Emmy nominations, and has won two Golden Globes. So, whoa. She's sort of killing it. Go, Lena!

Of course the big thing that happened this month, concerning her book anyway, was all the controversy around some of the stories and comments she made about her and her sister's childhood. You can show about that here, as well as Dunham's apology here

I had already read most of the book before the controversy started lighting up the Internet. From my perspective, when I read those passages, here's what I thought: So, quite a few of my friends have children who are at an age where they are discovering certain things. And the stories they tell can range from cute to super awkward. Basically, their kids are discovering sexuality. They may note that their body is different from their opposite gender sibling at bath time. Or they may touch themselves inappropriately in public—they just don't know it's inappropriate yet. We aren't born knowing about sexuality, personal boundaries, or what is and is not OK to show or touch in public. These are things our parents (or other guardians) teach us as we grow up. Hopefully in a gentle, non-shaming way, as so often I think sex is shamed in our society. But that's a whole different discussion.

So when I read the more controversial passages about Dunham's behavior as a seven-year-old, yeah, they were a little weird to me, as I didn't really do anything like that growing up. But I still read it as just something awkward a child did before she really understood boundaries. When reading, I'd actually assumed this was going to be a setup for her mother (or father) teaching her about those boundaries, but that part didn't happen in the book. I'm not saying it never happened nor am I trying to turn this into a critique on Dunham's parents, as she acknowledges these are fictionalized accounts based on her memory. And we're going off the memory of a seven-year-old. Either way, I have to admit I was a little surprised by the controversy. I personally feel a little uncomfortable giving lifelong accusatory titles to someone for things they did when they were a child with a small understanding of boundaries. But I also don't have anything that could even be construed as childhood abuse in my background. If I did, perhaps I would've viewed this story differently. I don't know. What did you think when you read this passage?

Aside from that part of the book, I'd have to admit that overall I didn't really relate with Dunham's life very much. I think she's a talented writer and storyteller. She makes very interesting and poignant observations about her life experiences and those around her throughout the book. But, I ultimately just didn't relate to her life very much, so it wasn't as funny or affirming as it might have been if I did. It's strange because I think she covers a lot of areas that are pretty universal: relationships and sex, body image, finding a career path after school, and fearing death. I mean, we all think about these things, right? I do. So I really enjoyed being allowed into another person's life and perspective even if I didn't relate. But maybe you related to her life a lot, and you think I'm just talking crazy here?

I guess that's a good place to start the discussion. Here's a few things I'd love to know your thoughts on from the book:

1. The controversy. Please feel free to express your opinion, but also I don't think this is the only thing to comment on about this book. Just throwing that out there. 

2. Relationships & sex. 

3. Body image and self-esteem in general.

4. Finding a career path or just direction you want to follow in life (it's SO hard, right?!)

5. Fearing death. 

Dunham touches on all of these things in her book, so I'd love to hear what you thought about her perspective and stories or any other thoughts you have about these topics. xo. Didier

Credits // Author and Photography: Didier Li. Photos edited with Spiegeling actions. 

  • Hi! My book club read this last month! We also wondered how relatable people would find the book and/or the show Girls. We’re all big fans of Girls and of Lena Dunham in general, but we are also 24 year olds living and working in NYC. We discussed what a very specific kind of upbringing she had with two parents big in the NYC art scene, and whether or not that would be relatable to people outside of an urban place like NYC. So, while I identified with certain parts of the books (and so very much did not identify with others), I found the book funny and affirming…but totally can see how others would not.

    Also, just a big fan of Lena in general being an inspiration for women to be successful, smart and powerful (as you and Helen have done similarly in creating this awesome business)!!

  • To start off, I agree with every word you said concerning the controversy surrounding this book. Sure it made me a tad uncomfortable while reading it but I never found anything too alarming about the situation only because I’ve heard so many similar stories about young children and their lack of boundaries. Dunham mentions bringing her mom into the situation rather quickly so the notion of abuse never occurred to me and I don’t think she mentions any discussion with her mom about boundaries because the section was more about her relationship with her sister. Considering that she is a functional adult with a successful career I’m fairly positive that particular discussion occurred at some point.
    I have to admit that the sections about her relationships and sexual experiences are where I thought “Alright, I just don’t really relate” or “Oh my god, is this happening to everyone?” Some of the experiences she discussed made me gasp either with laughter or a horrified jolt.
    While the book left me with the feeling that I just didn’t relate to Dunham at all, looking back at the sections of food journal entries seemed terribly familiar to me especially when thinking about the high school aged version of myself. The whole low balling calorie intake and just her relationship to food in general felt like I was reading my own diary entry. However, through out the book I kept thinking “I wish I had her self-esteem when I was that age.” She always seemed to be so self-actualized. Always knowing what she wanted to do then doing it. I wish there had been more stories about her decisions and thinking between high school and college then college and the “real world.” I’ve recently graduated college and I’m currently in the midst of that horrible time of the unknown and I would have liked a little bit more insight into her world between school and success.
    The whole fearing death part brought me right back to being 5 years old and crying before bed every night for weeks until I finally told my dad I was afraid I would never wake up and he sat up with me talking about death and my ideas of it and his ideas of it until I felt comfortable enough to drift off peacefully. I’ve always held that moment as such a strange yet comforting personal experience and it was so nice to realize that I wasn’t the only one freaking out about it.
    Overall, I enjoyed this book. It’s made me seek out Lena Dunham’s other works because I like her unique voice so much. I just watched Happy Christmas on Netflix in which she plays Anna Kendrick’s character’s best friend and I kept thinking she was just playing herself and I really enjoyed that. To be honest, I think it’s her honesty I like the most.

  • I have a lot of thoughts on this book, but I don’t want it to seem like I’m bashing Lena–I just didn’t relate to any part of her life, at all.

    I just discovered SpG, and I didn’t know you guys did this book club, but I think it’s a really good idea! I’m an almost 30-year-old professor at a university in Missouri, and I really like reading about ladies with great careers. I enjoy the perspective they usually provide on getting to where they are. I read this book when it came out because I really liked Tina Fey’s book and a few other books by powerful ladies in tv/movies, and I was particularly intrigued by Dunham, as she is so close to my age. Like you, I have never seen Lena’s tv show, but I have heard good things about it. But after this book, I have to say that I have no desire to watch her tv show.

    As I previously said, I don’t relate to her life or her perspective on many things. The reason this bothers me is that she has been referred to by many people on the internet as the “voice of a generation.” I don’t think that’s even remotely true. I know a lot of people relate to her on certain levels (particularly the frankness with which she discusses sex), but while I was reading her book, I felt like either she was an alien or I was an alien. As a psychology professor, I was very worried for her mental health the whole time I was reading it. The whole book made me really uncomfortable. I don’t think I’ve ever been so uncomfortable while reading a book before.

    Obviously she grew up in a relatively wealthy environment in the “art scene” of New York that is very alien to me. Not only does her mother have a nutritionist and a psychic on call, but every person in her family has a therapist that they see very regularly over a long period of time. That’s not really how therapy is supposed to work. She often refers to “western doctors” as opposed to “holistic” doctors like that is a thing that most people will understand or have experience with. Like “western doctors will tell you x, but my holistic doctor told me _________ (completely unscientific bullshit with no evidence or research to support it).” I just really don’t understand that type of mentality, and I felt myself losing respect for her as I read the book. Even though I didn’t know much about her to begin with! I just wanted her to be a role model, I guess. And I don’t think she “has it together” even a little bit. The book is subtitled something like “a girl tells you what she learned,” and I’m not clear that she has learned anything from her experiences. I read with growing horror at the types of guys she has dated… all of the stuff she put up with. Some of those men treated her horribly! I just would never put up with any of that. At one point she said that someone she new encouraged her to “respect herself.” And that’s that I was thinking the whole time. “Girl, where is your self-respect?” And a lot of the anecdotes she shared weren’t things from when she was a teenager or in college, but after she was running her show! I guess I just thought she “had it together” and I was shocked that she doesn’t. As for the controversy about her sister, I don’t think anything she mentioned qualifies as abuse, but it did make me really uncomfortable every time she talked about her sister. I have a younger sister as well, and I can’t relate to any of the feelings or experiences she had with her sister. I’m not talking about the touching part that people were fixating on, but just the way she *thinks* about her sister made me uncomfortable. Every time she brought her sister up, it was like she had this fixation on her that was creepy to me. The whole time I was reading this book, I was worried for her mental health, and it made me feel like an old person being worried about “kids these days.” But like I said, I’m only 29, so I’m not that far from her age.

    Overall, I guess the book just made me uncomfortable, and I feel like Lena is a bit of a mess. I wonder if the therapist she was seeing growing up was an actual qualified psychologist, or someone “holistic” with no actual credentials like her mother’s psychic and other “doctors” she has apparently seen. I think if I had just read this as a unique perspective on life, I would have found it interesting. But I was reading it as “this person has been called the voice of my generation,” and from that perspective, I found the book a little horrifying. I realize I sound like an old lady when I say that. I guess I just wanted her to be something that she is not. Sorry if this was too long! I don’t know how much people usually write on these posts. 🙂

  • I was lucky to have the opportunity to see Lena Dunham on her book tour for “Not That Kind of Girl” where she read 3 passages from the book. She was so kind and sweet. The thing that really stood out with me about her was she talked to us like we were all her close confidants. She was very candid and I appreciate how open and honest she is. But as we all can see with this book…that leads to scrutiny and controversy sometimes.

    As far as how relatable I thought it was I would lean more towards yes it was relatable than no. I think in a lot of her experiences I can see a part of myself. The feelings of insecurity, curiosity, not knowing what to do after college and working odd jobs, random childhood stories with friends etc. That I can all relate too. It’s not to a T. I never worked at a baby clothing store and then went on to create a show about children of the art world called Delusional Downtown Divas. But hey.. I know what it’s like to work a crappy job daydreaming of something else.

    So while we had two completely different upbringings I would say overall Lena’s honesty makes me feel more content with who I am. Faults and all. I really like that she does not pretend to be perfect rather she admits to be human. We all have highs and lows, embarrassing moments, painful moments, and wonderful moments. And you know what? — That is normal. That is relatable. That is real.

  • I was very excited to read this book, but half way through I started to lose interest. I appreciate who she is as a writer, but it just wasn’t my cup of tea. I feel the controversy about the little sister stuff, was blown way out of proportion. She was indeed just a very curious child. Although it’s not something I’ve ever done, just wasn’t all that strange. I couldn’t relate to her relationships, life or thoughts about life. I don’t think she is someone I could stand to hang out with to be honest and I think that’s why I got tired of hearing about her life.

  • I really can’t understand why she is so popular because she is such a narcisstic kind of girl, when i saw some girls series i was like ohmygosh she is so strange in a bad way and try to show how interesting and strange in a good way he is and this book is all that stuff. i am sorry for my english because it is the 5th language i decided to learn so. i dont think she is an incredible writer super gifted or something like that and all that ideas is dangerous. it is okay to love your body but is it good not to care abaut as it seem Lena used to because oh my god her body is alarming for some help. and it’s about every point, really.

  • Although I did relate as much, I totally agree that Lena is an inspiration for women to be successful, smart and powerful. Agree.

    - Didier

  • I can’t deny that Lena does indeed score high in honesty points. Even if I didn’t always get it, you really can’t help but be drawn in by honesty, right? It’s super addictive.

    - Didier

  • That’s so cool! In every interview I’ve seen her in she seems so kind and sweet, as you say. So cool that you got to see her.

    And yes, I think almost everyone has had a crappy day job that they spent daydreaming about doing something else. I used to be a housekeeper for a couple years in my early twenties. And that’s pretty much what I did the whole time (aside from cleaning, of course).

    It’s a high compliment to say that “Lena’s honesty makes me feel more content with who I am.” Very cool.

    - Didier

  • Because I read a lot of Entertainment Weekly, I had heard about Lena Dunham before Girls came out. She was riding the waves of some great reviews on her movie Tiny Furniture, and people were loving her fresh and honest look at post-collegiate confusion. I became a fan quickly, especially because she tweeted a lot of funny and painfully honest stuff that I know so many of us ladies think but don’t feel we can say without judgement. Kudos. Because of that, I looked forward to Girls and really enjoy the show.
    So, basically, I had pre-ordered the book and devoured it before the controversy began.
    1. I guess I understand where some people are coming from. As soon as I read the headlines, I knew what parts they were talking about. Did I immediately jump to conclusions when I was reading, though? No. Every family is different, Lena in particular is known for being so honest and open about her awkward moments. She owns them. I think it’s why her fans love her. But you made a great point. Children, for quite a while, don’t know what they are doing. They are just exploring themselves and the world around them. If her sister doesn’t feel like she was attacked, then why make a fuss? Also, Lena might have used some delicate language to describe the way she attempted to get her sister’s attention. I have a younger sister, and I know I have always wanted that life where she looks up to me and wants to be my best friend (sometimes that doesn’t happen until you’re out of college and living in the “real world”). I feel like she took those feelings and played them in a a more aggressive way. She seemed to have been a rough kid who wanted attention, and if that’s how she played it, well, that was her youth.
    2. Lena’s relationships seem to be about on track with so many people who date at this time in life or in college. You don’t want my attention? WELL I NEED YOURS NOW. I understand that. The more someone pushes away, the crazier it can make you. It’s a practice in self-loathing sometimes, and it’s sad, but it’s honest and real and it’s often how we learn to find what we deserve (I hope). As for the sex, I was sort of confused with the story about the guy who had essentially forced himself on her. Before she told the whole story, she had alluded to it in a fairly comical way earlier in the book. I don’t know if that was a defense mechanism or she wrote in blocks and wasn’t ready to breach that topic yet. Hopefully, people will learn that you don’t have to just take that kind of behavior, since she did feel like she consented, even though she didn’t.
    3. Oh, don’t we all have body image issues. I don’t want to be one of those people who say Lena is “brave” because she shows her body and it’s not this supermodel body because it makes it sound like she isn’t allowed to be sexy like that (Mindy Kaling made a great point like this on a talk show once). But I think it’s awesome that she does it, and it’s her show and if that’s how she wants to assert her self-esteem, go for it. I’ve never felt it to be gratuitous on the show.
    4. It seems like Lena always sort of knew what she wanted to do. She got to have some fun along the way, but she knew. This is something I’m still struggling with. I will say that, despite what people think, she’s a hard worker. You can tell she pours herself into her work. People like to think that it’s nepotism, but Judd Apatow and her mother’s art installations couldn’t be further from each other. I don’t think they would aid each other. Also, a good show is a good show. If she had put on a show because “daddy got her one” or whatever, it could’ve sucked. But she’s shown that she is on air for a reason.
    5. Since my Pap Pap died when I was in 2nd grade, I realized that death was inevitable. It’s a consistent fear. Sometimes I can push it away. Other times, it stays and tortures me. But the fact is, we are ALL IN THIS TOGETHER. It’s comforting to know from someone we look up to that you have that in common.

    I’ll admit I was disappointed in the book, but a lot of that has to do with my great expectations. Lena is a year older than me, and I think that a memoir I write would be just as choppy, just as unorganized and confused, because I’m still learning from the mistakes that I made so recently. She mentioned that she can’t wait until she’s 80 to name names, to write about the people who doubted her, to call them out…personally, I’d love to read that book and the lessons she’s learned from everything after the time has passed. She’s still in the thick of controversy (because she’s been dealing with it since Girls first aired in 2012) and growing up, so when the fog settles, I think she can write something even better.

  • I’m really interested to read this actually. I was so shocked when I read those articles about what happened with her sister. It’s very hard to comment on this as I don’t feel qualified to judge but it does seem extremely odd and wrong but then again it’s hard to know if this was just an exploratory thing that wasn’t disciplined or a behavior that wasn’t called on by her parents. Either way, I feel as if I’ve nothing in common with her and the things I’ve heard about girls seems to present women in a way I wouldn’t want to be portrayed. Still interesting though.

    http://thefashionhorn.wordpress.com/

  • I completely agree with what you said about the controversy of this book. Little kids just don’t quite know what is right and wrong, and to make these accusations just seems silly, in my opinion.
    On another note, though I didn’t relate much to Lena personally, I loved this book. I have a very close friend who deals with anxiety/depression/OCD, and to read about it in such a brutally honest way made me have a greater understanding for it all. I am impressed with the fact that Lena is so outward about feelings that may or may not be justified, and opinions that may be frowned upon. There was a part in the book toward the end that she is looking back on certain memories wishing she would have paid more attention in that moment. It’s funny how when you’re going through something you don’t necessarily think you will ever appreciate it or that it will have an effect on your life later on. Chances are it will. Anyway, I enjoyed this book. It is fun to read about someone my age who has a completely different run at life.

  • I’m so glad you commented on the children’s sexuality “controversy”! I totally agree with you. Children are curious and sexual beings. They are exploring and learning, and they haven’t yet learned the taboos and rules of society. So, while it may sound weird (and I’m not exactly sure why she chose to share it…) I think that it is perfectly normal child behavior, especially at a young age.

    For me, the strangest part of this book is how she airs out all her business. I know she has been praised for being ‘candid’ but my gosh she doesn’t keep anything private. I think that she tries to challenge the idea of ‘what a girl should act like,’ but that doesn’t mean you need to tell everyone your deepest secrets!

  • Love the show and the book. It’s funny, very relatable and an inspiration for girls. Lena explores who she is and accepts it. Unfortunately thats also what makes her seem narcissistic at times.

  • I completely agree with what you said about the controversy of this book. Little kids just don’t quite know what is right and wrong, and to make these accusations just seems silly, in my opinion.
    On another note, though I didn’t relate much to Lena personally, I loved this book. I have a very close friend who deals with anxiety/depression/OCD, and to read about it in such a brutally honest way made me have a greater understanding for it all. I am impressed with the fact that Lena is so outward about feelings that may or may not be justified, and opinions that may be frowned upon. There was a part in the book toward the end that she is looking back on certain memories wishing she would have paid more attention in that moment. It’s funny how when you’re going through something you don’t necessarily think you will ever appreciate it or that it will have an effect on your life later on. Chances are it will. Anyway, I enjoyed this book. It is fun to read about someone my age who has a completely different run at life.

  • I feel like yes she covers very universal topics but yet can anyone actually relate to it? I think she’s super talented and I actually love her show but during the entire book I felt disconnected as if it was more a diary written just for her than a book supposed to entertain/inspire/… others.
    And then I don’t know if it’s a cultural thing US vs Europe or what but seriously TOO MUCH INFORMATION! (yes I think that should have been the book’s title)

  • right there with you, SO uncomfortable. I felt like I was reading her diary and not a book. Also hoping she’s not the voice of our generation because hmm please no!

  • I wanted to love this book because it’s exactly the kind of book I USUALLY enjoy and I love reading about successful women. I just didn’t feel like she had enough to say to warrant a whole book. Of the stories she DID tell, I felt like she hadn’t yet gained enough distance from them to write about them without self-conscious spin; I also didn’t like how two-dimensionally she wrote a lot of the other “characters” (which is what they felt like to me, rather than real people in her life). Overall, really disappointed.

    But I DID love Yes Please! which I think is the next book on your list. 🙂

  • Hi Didier,

    I read this book awhile ago so I don’t have a lot to contribute to the discussion…my bad memory, blah blah blah. I did want to say that your discussion of the controversy and issues people seemed concerned about was great. I know that this blog of yours purposefully does not cover politics or sexuality because those topics aren’t part of your chosen focus, but your discussion of your experience of Lena’s book was sensitive and inclusive and wise and I really like it and related to it. You put into words how I felt when reading those sections of the book, and you did it well. So, um yes, you are a super smart woman and if you started a blog or column about just about anything I would read it. There isn’t a lot of long-form writing on Spiegeling (again, not your focus, I know) but you could completely pull it off. I’m working on the Blog Life course and maybe my favourite part is the longer chunks of writing everyone put in.

    I’m sorry for the most ramble-filled compliment of all time. I loved this book, without relating very much, I love your blog, and I think you’re great. Oh-kay. Done.

  • Like you, Didier, I have never watched Lena’s show, and I haven’t even read her book. But I did read the one passage that has been drawing lots of controversy. And, in my opinion, I think that being a young child and experimenting with sexuality is perfectly normal. Even though I personally never went quite as far as Lena did, I can still relate to her story. I also think that she in no way sexually abused her sister, I mean she was only seven years old. In court, anyone under the age of 12 cannot be charged with a crime because they are simply too young to understand that whatever they did, was a crime. So, overall, I empathize with Lena, because being accused of such a thing is truly horrendous.

    http://www.thebalancedtraveler.com/

  • I love Girls and I loved the book. I thought the passages were weird, but not something to be alarmed about. I don’t ‘relate’ to any of the stories she told (fairly mundane childhood over here!) but I thoroughly loved reading about hers and her view on life/relationships/body image in general. I think she had an awesome childhood with freedom and honesty that I never had (mundane and very tight parents!) so I liked that she shared that with everyone else. To add more honesty in there, I think it’s fairly disgusting that people assume that she’s saying she’s a sexual predator, but not mentioning the story of her being raped. Massive high five to her for sharing that story. Bless her heart.

    Ohhellojo.blogspot.com

  • This post perfectly summed up how I felt about this book/the controversy. I could not relate and expected to like it way more than I did. She’s a good writer and I liked some essays (mostly the career stuff) but I just wasn’t crazy about it overall.

  • Brandi, I feel the same way about her being “the voice of our generation.” I HAVE seen her show, and I know zero peers who have a life congruent or even similar to her characters or experiences.
    I also get that uncomfortable feeling. Her candor and self-reflection is admirable, but there is still something to be said for dignity and self-respect.

  • I was prepared to wholeheartedly enjoy this book (as I did with “Bossypants” and other memoirs).

    But I didn’t *not* enjoy it (if that makes any sense at all).

    As a fan of the first season of “Girls” (it started getting a little hard to follow/relate to after that) and her film “Tiny Furniture”, I was expecting to fall in love with this book (the cover alone had me).

    But did anyone else feel like they’d already heard some of these stories (especially people who have watched “Girls”)? Don’t get me wrong, the extra details were wonderful and it was interesting to see how Lena draws upon her own life for “Girls”, but as an entire work, I would have liked to have heard “untold” stories or thoughts from Lena on just about anything (not another story about her friend working at the children’s store who is actually Jessa sort of thing or the health issues that we saw with Hannah).

    Kind of spitballing off of Merisa’s comment, but it seems a lot like Lena plays herself…which I guess isn’t necessarily bad (especially when she is the director/writer/producer). I just feel like there isn’t much left that we don’t know about her from what we can piece together from her work and this book. Though I will forever applaud her honesty and audacity – that takes cajones.

    I do agree that *a lot* of the book was cringeworthy. I physically had to shut the book after the “fork” comment that a young Lena made in relation to her father’s (totally false) disciplinary practices. That, along with her behavior toward her sister, does make me uncomfortable, but I do agree that her actions came more from a place of curiosity than pleasure.

    With all of that being said – just because Lena’s voice is unique, does not make her the “voice of our generation” exactly. She is certainly not the first young woman to flounder or be unsure of herself – so much of what “Girls” is about. Her work seems to show more the extremes of our generation (caricature sounds harsh, but maybe that’s more apt?), which are seen in “Girls” – you’ll know what I’m talking about if you follow the show.

    ***I could go on about the design and illustrations for days though. Top notch.

  • maybe those stories of her being curious bothered you a bit more than you realize and maybe thats one of the reasons why you feel disconnected to her as another woman going through similar struggles? I dont know. I know for me I didn’t and wont read the book because of those stories. I have two little girls around that age group and thinking about some other kid doing that to them just pisses me off, lol. I may be over reacting because I also understand that all children are curious, I dont know…great post though!

    http://www.lemonheadpress.com

  • I found this book not as inthralling as I’d hoped it would be. I had read about 1/2 of the book before all of the controversy. You’re right, I was uncomfortable during those passages but I didn’t think it was anything to uproar about. I am a nanny for twins that are almost 4 now, and they do “weird” or inappropriate things ALL the time, but they don’t know its inappropriate until we say it is (we make the rules and we shape what they grow up thinking about everything they do).
    I was disappointed. I didn’t laugh at all. I found some of her stories interesting and I had a couple things in common with her, but it seemed to be trying REALLY hard. Like, she really wanted to be seen as alternative and different when really she probably isn’t and could’ve told it from a different tone and I would’ve been more entertained. I wasn’t impressed, and I really wanted to be! I love that she’s young and so talented and successful, and I wanted to feel a kinship with her, but it just wasn’t there.

  • I think its appropriate that the subtitle includes “learned”…in quotations. The girl has experience, thats for sure, but not much wisdom. I agree with the other comments in that I didn’t relate to her life, at all, and lost interest because of it. She seems kind of emotionally stunted (or just plain spoiled) and I really hope she isn’t the voice of our generation. I was disappointed, I guess. But hey, she did write a book and get a healthy publishing deal for it, so I gotta give it up for that!

  • I read it before all of the drama surrounding that passage in the book came out and honestly, I barely thought anything of it. She was simply being honest about actions that, come on, many seven-year-olds probably participate in. It’s curiosity. And reading about and remembering this kind of stuff in your mid-twenties and beyond can be sort of disturbing, but we just have to remember we were all curious little kids at one point!
    That being said, I didn’t love the book, but it definitely was an interesting read.

  • I haven’t read the book, but from what I’ve observed of Ms. Dunham and her show, I have to agree with Brandi. She seems so classless. So she talks about sex a lot, why is that a good thing? Our kids need strong female role models that are classy, elegant ladies who are successful and smart and driven. Not people who are famous for being naked on tv a lot. I just find her repulsive and won’t read her book. *Cue allll the haters.

  • love it!

    http://alovelystyle.blogspot.co.uk/

    http://www.shopstyle.com/action/loadRetailerProductPage?id=312076899&pid=uid7441-25962271-17

  • Here’s a take from a mom of 20-something girls (written from my own blog!): Not all my peers (nor all young people) get the HBO show Girls that this wunderkind created, writes, directs and stars in. Not everyone gets Lena’s voice or humor or her perspective, but I do.

    I don’t know if it’s the former 20-something me, a little clever, a little unrooted, a little plump with lots of thoughts and ambitions, but so not pulled together, who sympathizes, or the 50-something me who sees my daughters. I recognize this city kid, daughter of the intellectual, creative class (not that we live on the same planet as Dunham’s well-respected artist parents), hailing from Brooklyn and/or downtown Manhattan, so sophisticated on one hand, so clueless on another. I mean I really recognize her and her world. They shot signifant chunks of the show last season 3 blocks away from me and when I read her prose, I recognize people in her life that I actually know in real life (the pediatric dentist she describes in her book in such a tiny, throwaway line, I would wager lots of money that she is the very one my kids went to. She’s “the” pediatric dentist for downtown/Bklyn kids.

    You see, a few months ago, I came to discover several ways I really was connected to Lena (think 6 degrees of separation, but not that many degrees). I don’t want to go into it here, but suffice it to say that the connection made her all the more intriguing to me. I started paying attention to some of her essays, followed her on Twitter and Instagram and took notice of her beyond the Girls show, which I have always watched.

    The girl has such a funny, poignant, clear voice. I love it and I totally get why Nora Ephron was drawn to her in the year or so before her death. (As if I even live on the same planet as Nora!).

    So in that spirit, I happily bought the book and I must say happily read it. I think it’s a terrific collection of essays from a specific young woman at a specific time. It’s honest, funny, intimate, sad. If you are at all interested in knowing more about this generation, the slice from the well-heeled (but not flashy rich), overly educated, urbane part of the pie, you can do no better than read this. And even if you aren’t interested at all in that kind of woman, there is plenty that resonates–as a woman, a human, a fellow traveller.

  • Here’s a perspective from a 50-something mom of 20-something daughters. This is from my own blog. Not all my peers (nor all young people) get the HBO show Girls that this wunderkind created, writes, directs and stars in. Not everyone gets Lena’s voice or humor or her perspective, but I do.

    I don’t know if it’s the former 20-something me, a little clever, a little unrooted, a little plump with lots of thoughts and ambitions, but so not pulled together, who sympathizes, or the 50-something me who sees my daughters. I recognize this city kid, daughter of the intellectual, creative class (not that we live on the same planet as Dunham’s well-respected artist parents), hailing from Brooklyn and/or downtown Manhattan, so sophisticated on one hand, so clueless on another. I mean I really recognize her and her world. They shot signifant chunks of the show last season 3 blocks away from me and when I read her prose, I recognize people in her life that I actually know in real life (the pediatric dentist she describes in her book in such a tiny, throwaway line, I would wager lots of money on is the very one my kids went to. She’s “the” pediatric dentist for downtown/Bklyn kids.

    You see, a few months ago, I came to discover several ways I really was connected to Lena (think 6 degrees of separation, but not that many degrees). I don’t want to go into it here, but suffice it to say that the connection made her all the more intriguing to me. I started paying attention to some of her essays, followed her on Twitter and Instagram and took notice of her beyond the Girls show, which I have always watched.

    The girl has such a funny, poignant, clear voice. I love it and I totally get why Nora Ephron was drawn to her in the year or so before her death. (As if I even live on the same planet as Nora!).

    So in that spirit, I happily bought the book and I must say happily read it. I think it’s a terrific collection of essays from a specific young woman at a specific time. It’s honest, funny, intimate, sad. If you are at all interested in knowing more about this generation, the slice from the well-heeled (but not flashy rich), overly educated, urbane part of the pie, you can do no better than read this. And even if you aren’t interested at all in that kind of woman, there is plenty that resonates–as a woman, a human, a fellow traveller.

  • I enjoyed the book overall. There were some sections I was bored while reading, but others I thoroughly enjoyed. When the controversy about the so-called abuse to her sister arose, I had to go back to that part of the book to even understand what all the controversy was about! It obviously had very little impact on me. I completely agree that she was a seven year old who knew little of boundaries, just as most seven year olds. No big deal in my book!
    Overall, I didn’t relate a whole lot to the book, but I still found it entertaining. I’m 21 years old, and I live in a small town in Arkansas. I am attending a university 30 minutes from my house. I graduate from college in May, so I have not had any experience of moving out, moving away, or trying to be a successful college graduate. I struggle with body image issues, so reading about how confident she is in her own skin makes me think, “Hey I can feel that way too!” I can totally relate to the fear of death she discusses in her book. I worry daily about my parents passing away. I can somewhat relate to her relationships and sex life. I’ve had bad relationships that I stayed in too long when I wasn’t treated the way I should have been treated; I think most of us have. However, when reading about her sex life during and after college, I was left thinking, “Is this what I was supposed to be doing for the last three and a half years?” But I think it is important to remember that what is normal for one person does not have to be normal for another. Just my thoughts! 🙂

  • I had a hard time stomaching the first part of her book. I just could not relate to her sexual experiences as a college student. I’m not prudish, but my mom always taught me to be very aware of my surroundings, especially when alcohol was involved. I guess some girls aren’t taught that from their parents… I have known too many girls, like Lena, who got in trouble with men while drunk or high….I just hope the cycle of college girls getting taken advantage of will end and unfortunately it begins with us (women) being more careful…any who…

    The rest of her stories I could relate to. Her relationship with her sister was eerily similar to my sister and my relationship….aside from the pebble story. And let’s be honest. That was not abuse…it was her just being a awkward child with no boundaries.

    I enjoyed most of the book for her story telling. I had fun reading about her upbringing as it was so different from mine, but my mom is an eccentric artist so I could draw some parallels 🙂

  • Normally, I do not comment here; even though I have often read the books that are discussed in the book club. However, the discussion around this book that I read quite recently makes me want to chip in.

    

First of all, the controversy: I feel the same way most of you do, except that I did not even react when reading that passage. Although, as someone said, I have never had experiences of abuse and I respect that it would make you feel differently. 



    Secondly, based a bit on what I have read here and a bit on what I have heard in ”real life” (working in a bookstore I overhear a lot of conversations): I feel like women (yes, because seemingly, most men do not think that her book is of interest but I won’t develop that thought here right now) judge Lena very, very quickly. In a lot of the cases, they have not read the book or seen Girls (a show that I love). They have seen an image of her, read an article or heard someone else commenting on her and therefore feel that they have the right to have a lot of opinions on Lena as a person/as an author/as a director-actor AND the duty to share these opinions with everyone. Normally in the bookshop, if I ever hear critical comments (which does not happen often, people rather recommend each other books) the person criticizing the book has read it and is, most of the time, criticizing the writing and not the author. The sole exception would be Bukowski, I guess; he stirs up feelings as well. Ok so that was a long digression but I find it quite fascinating to hear girls my age (I am 23) morally condemn Lena just because they have read a blog post, or to read someone’s comment a bit further up here: the person hasn’t read the book, hasn’t seen the show but her ”body needs help”. Not relevant while discussing a book, sorry. Oh, and from people judging morality/mental health etc based on reading this book: an autobiography will never tell you the truth about anything. Have you read ”Goodbye to All That” by Robert Graves? Do so, then read the epilogue he wrote. You understand at what point the life he presents to you and that the person you think you know inside out has a whole different story that he chooses to not share. In reality, everything is fictualized. That is how the human brain works. No thought of yours will ever be completely objective etc and of course Lena Dunham’s memory works exactly the same way. She might exaggerate/repress/delete/add. Her texts are supposed to capture the reader, which is why she, naturally, has only chosen the episodes of her life that are worthwhile telling. No one would ever read a book about what cereal she had when she was seven. Also, this is her childhood + her teenage years + a lot of her twenties compromised into one book; it’s going to be dramatic. 



    Finally: what I thought about the book. I respect Lena and I like her writing; she can really retell a story well. From what I have seen in her texts and her movies/TVproductions I feel like she is one of those writers who bases pretty much everything on her own life/experiences (I was a bit surprised of not finding more name alterations in the book, especially since she is as honest as she is but I guess she has permissions to publish them. Does anyone know?) but I do not mind that since she is so talented in doing so. So I am 23, as I said, living in Europe. My friends are from different social backgrounds and nationalities, and I definitely feel as if Lena could be a voice of this generation. Not THE voice but A voice with many others. No matter what the parents do or where you live; we all ask ourselves the same questions. Some are a bit more important, such as what-should-I-do-after-college and some are a bit less important (in hindsight, they are all matters of life or death when you are 17) such as does-this-heart-shaped-smiley-on-MSN-messenger-mean-that-he-likes-me? So for me, the book was extremely relatable; everything from relationships (not the sex, but I have friends that have similar stories to Lenas’), body image, career choices and fears (when I was a kid I was convinced that someone had killed my parents, snuck into the bodies and that they would kill me if I showed them that I knew. Catch 22: so scared but couldn’t tell my parents (I know it doesn’t seem that way but I had a very idyllic childhood)). 



    Ok so sorry for very very long rant but I no one I know has read the book yet and I have had a lot of things to say about it so now it all comes out I am procrastinating, writing this seemed like a better idea than writing my essay. Ok thank you for choosing Not That Kind of Girl this time, I’ll check in to see what people comment!

  • I thought her book was a riot. That said, I am a 52 yr old Mom of three teens/young adults. Her turn of phrase and observation of the mundane (describing her shopgirl life—we have all had these jobs!!) was so incredibly OBSERVANT! How many of us have gone through the various stages of life (and yes, the degrees to which she experienced things was very on the edge…) and actually NOTICED? Felt, internalized and grew from it? I absolutely loved her descriptions of Grace. My 21 yr old daughter has confided to us that she is a gay woman and I appreciated Leah’s range of emotions for her sister–she loved her so much, worried for her, and in the end, admired her for her self possession. And I photocopied the pages where she described Grace and how she was “opaque” to us but ultimately the most self secured of the family. Her experiences were far ranged but so humorous (her roommate coming into her bedroom during her first encounter with a man and yelling Mazel Tov!) and they were very real, authentic to her. An interesting read. Relatable experiences? Maybe not. But told with wit, compassion for life and zest. good for her!

  • I was very curious about the book this month! I also have to admit that I haven’t seen Lena Dunham’s show or movies, but I heard a lot of good things about them. So I was excited about reading the book and also looked up some facts about Lena online before.
    In general I couldn’t really relate to the sorry. I think it was interesting to somehow be able to peak in somebody else’s life, especially as this someone is famous … And I liked the way she described things, with lists, and text but also letters and emails. I really liked the sections about the emails that she never sent – I guess everybody has some of them, even if there not typed down … But beside these facts I lost interest very quickly. Somebody said that he or she felt alien in respect to the story and I think that describes my feelings pretty well. I couldn’t relate to the lifestyle, the handling of doctors or relationships. I still think it’s impressive how honest she was or is and I think I am going to try to find some video of an interview with her, to better understand her as an author.

  • Hi Didier, abit of an unrelated comment as I didn’t read Lena’s book for this month’s book club but I don’t know where else to comment on future book selections so I would like to say here, can we pleeeeeeease (!!!) do a murakami book in future?! He’s my favourite writer ever and my favourite titles are Wind Up Bird Chronicle, 1Q84 and South of the Border West of the Sun. I would like to know what you and the lovely readers of SpG think of his writing. Thanks! 🙂

  • Hey Em!

    I ordered Lena’s book as soon as it became available in Australia and upon receiving it in my eager little hands I read page by page and finished the book within a matter of days.

    Her thoughts and views made me laugh and made me think about the world other people live in, a world that sometimes crosses over into mine but for the majority of the time stays clear from my path. I understand not being able to relate to her life, frankly I’m not sure if many people would. I was raised in a somewhat traditional disciplined home. I went to school and enjoyed it, I went to university, I got a boring stable job and I have only had one boyfriend and we’ve been together for over 4 years now. My life has been fairly black and white and has not involved condoms on cactus plants or painful summer camps or potentially inappropriate touching with my sister (I am an only child). However, my life isn’t all easy and my find that my mind sometimes thinks and observes in a similar way to Lena’s. I think at a million miles a minute and I observe the world around me as if it were an art exhibit and it’s my assignment to notice all the little quirks that make it what it is.

    I think Lena is a brilliant creative. She is a modern girl but I don’t think she is THE modern girl. She lives a life we can all look upon and read about with confusion, ease and perhaps delight. But at the end of the day she is just a woman sharing the story of her life, nothing more. To accuse her of being slutty or irresponsible or any other judgemental thing is to shame her of living her own life. I admire her for being honest and open with the world but I think some people have taken advantage of her honesty and turned it into something more than it is.

    It was an enjoyable read and it made me appreciate the opinions and truths of others around me. I hope others will write similar books about their lives. It’s basically a blog put together into one big book. Maybe I’ll give it a try 😉

    — Sam x

  • Before the book came out I was a huge Girls fan. While Lenas character is a selfish mess on the show, I found her (and all the characters) endearing and fun to watch. I confess, I watched the whole first season in one weekend binge. I liked it that much.

    The book though. It was one of the few books I’ve finished and thought “I wish I hadn’t read that.” Her lifestyle growing up came off as braggy and like others mentioned, hard to relate too. That I could have been fine with if it wasn’t for the controversy. That was too much for me. I’ll probably get destroyed on here for stating this but honestly it made me physically sick to my stomach. It wasn’t just the curiosity but the ways she described manipulating a younger child were wrong. Bribing, forcing, threatening? As a parent of four children, I can honestly say I have never seen that happen. Yes curiosity is perfectly normal for children. There is no shame in that but her tone and and non-chalant attitude about the self-confessed power trip she had over her sisters body disturbed me.

  • While I didn’t find the book totally relatable per-se, I think listening to it via audible.com make it much more interesting than it would have been to read it all. The inflection in her voice helped the narrative along.

  • I am an avid watcher of her show, film work and her writing but this book kind of changed a lot of my liking for her. I felt that the book was a little self indulgent without any real advice on what she’s “learned”. It felt like confessions or things you should only tell a therapist, but not something to publish in a book. I found it difficult to relate to because I did not grow up in any sort of similar way than she did, and it felt like she was writing to people that needed to relate to understand.

    However, reading/watching her interpretations of sex were cool. Often, sex is shown very glamorized and I appreciate her honesty because I have had similar awkward/weird/sexy/is-this-how it-should-be-going?? moments. But, I would never reenact them… and she does. I found that reading the book she told stories that are direct plots in her TV show. Which kind of makes me doubt her creativity, she just recreates her life.

    Is over-sharing really the voice or a generation?

  • If taken with a grain of salt, I think the book is a great read and had me laughing out loud a lot.

    I think the point is that she is telling you what she has ‘learned’ ironically….that she also does not have it figured out. I related to a few funny stories and many other things I did not relate to because her upbringing in the New York City Soho art scene was so vastly different than mine.

    The parts that felt more relatable involved mental health, body image, and men. I think her honesty comes from a deep insecurity…which is kind of inspiring. I love reading all the ‘females of comedy books’ (Fey, Poehler, Kaling…etc) and will continue to!

  • I’m so excited to finally make it to a book discussion :)) I really loved the book. Not in a super profound, like this changed my life kind of love it, but I also didn’t have unrealistic expectations– because, after all, she’s my age and memoirs can only be so profound in our late twenties. But what she did write was great. She’s such a dork, has no filter, and is the most confident insecure person I’ve ever (not) met. It’s incredibly refreshing to read someone’s thoughts that are honest and awkward, sincere and dark. I think too often in our society we are encouraged to be quiet, and only share experiences that are positive, blah blah blah. Surely not many of us do relate to those brought up with Manhattan’s elite, having a therapist when we’re 6, or eating organic waffles for breakfast. However, what we can all relate to is the human experience and that all of ours are different, and that by reading someone else’s does not take away from ours, but can even give new perspective to our own behavior and feelings (mutual or not). She has a writing style that is very frank, and not pretentious (when her experiences very well could come off as so).

    As for the “controversy”, I think it is incredibly petty. Didier, you addressed it perfectly– little kids are awkward, they don’t have boundaries yet, and that’s okay. Additionally, I think the entire upset was incredibly disrespectful to her sister. These “journalists” put words in her mouth and victimized her which is not okay. I think a lot of people (old, conservative men) are threatened by her boldness and leadership that they felt compelled to find something to tear apart.

    Again, I really appreciate her honesty and humor when writing about her relationships. She’s very aware that she made some bad judgement (who hasn’t?) and her inner dialogue that she so eloquently expresses is, again, not encouraged in our society– I applaud her for it. We consume ourselves with blogs, Instagram feeds, etc. of gorgeous people with “perfect” lives, that we convince ourselves that this is normal– and while it’s beautiful and encouraging– it marginalizes individuals (including the blogging beauties) from feeling okay that we also feel awkward, ugly, etc. and that we should not be talking about it on a public platform. Even more so, I respect that she didn’t dish any juicy details of her current relationship, even though I’m super nosy and wanted the scoop…

    Overall, I really loved the book and I really love her as an artist, a writer, a woman and a role model. She has worked really hard, and I appreciate what she has done for women in Hollywood. As much as she represents the over-indulged Manhattan elite, she also represents a marginalized community of awkward human beings that don’t get television shows written about them, and who don’t get to write books. Bravo, Lena, and great pick, Didier! xo Kimmy

  • I really wanted to like the book. I’m a pretty big fan of “Girls” and have found that the show, while not about girls in my particular demographic, is relatable. The show has a kind of “dirty secret” vibe that you can’t help but want in on. Part of you is horrified when characters share these dirty secrets, but another part is sometimes like, “Thank God! That happens to me too!”

    As for the book, I was hoping to feel drawn in by that same vibe. I wanted to feel like Lena was sitting with me over coffee, divulging all these interesting secrets. But instead, the overarching feeling I got was simply that she is a narcissist. And it got boring to read about her. Sure, it’s a memoir. I get that. But it all felt very immature. She was so much like the self-absorbed character that she plays on “Girls” that I was shoked– I’d been hoping that such a personality was just the cultivation of some talented writing, but nope. She’s just as bad “in person”.

  • I love Lena Dunham, her show, her public voice, etc. But yes, I agree with you. Sometimes I can’t relate to the things she says about certain universal topics. But I think that her awesome-ness comes from the fact that she’s so open, honest, and raw about her feelings on all these things. So although we don’t agree with certain things she may have to say, we can respect her voice and boldness. As women, we should all stand up for each other being unafraid of what we have to say regardless of if it’s “lady-like” or not. I think that’s what a lot of us love about her.

    Thanks for having this as such an open discussion! Love what you’re doing (:

    http://www.coffeethenchaos.com

  • I’m excited to read this (I have a feeling I’m getting it for Christmas). Lena was on my irrational hate list for a while, but my husband was a big fan. I finally watched her film “Tiny Furniture” and then binge-watched “Girls” and I have become a fan in a big way. As to the controversy, all I can do is roll my eyes to people who want to freak out about everything. I don’t expect to be able to relate to her book, but I enjoy peering into other people’s lives and I’m sure I’ll enjoy this one.

  • My major concern about the “controversial” side of this book is that those parts of the book…kind of didn’t have a point to them? Like you said, the part about the lesson learned just never seemed to arrive. I also find it quite strange that someone 1. remembers that much of their childhood and 2. still thinks it is relevant as an adult. I’m sure a lot of kids do weird things as they are growing up and learning, but it seemed like Lena let this shape her or become a pivotal part of her story, when other people would have just been like “Well, that happened when I was four, I’m sure my memory of it isn’t that accurate, hey how about this much more interesting story that happened when I was 21…”
    Anyway, I have a love/hate relationship with Girls, and had the same feelings about this book. I liked some bits, didn’t like others. The one part I related to the most was when she talks about having endometriosis, but even then it was like she revealed that fact and then…nothing. Did they recommend treatments? Does she deal with it differently now that she knows? Again, it was like part of the story was missing.

  • I boughtthe audio book because I am super entertained by Girls. Lena is so different and it’s very intriguing. It’s like watching a National Geographic special on a different culture.
    That being said, I felt as if Lena took creative license with her life story and I felt like some stories were exaggerateed if not totally fabricated.

  • I guess it is always about the expectations you have in a book…when you open up Lena’s book expecting reading about a lady with a great career you are bound to be disappointed, to say the least, uncomfortable and horrified might be more apt.
    I think it might have helped if you had watched her show.
    I am a doctor myself, so I share your notion on holistic medicine. Me too, I was worried about her mental health at times, while it is a topic she treats openly in the book and her show. However, knowing her show, I expected her book to be that way. Although I still felt uncomfortable at times and I could not relate to a lot of things she did or thought, I still liked her way of writing.
    So, to me it was an interesting read, probably because I knew from the very beginning, that I would not relate to her in person.

  • Didier, I agree with you on so many points. Lena is far more self aware and brazen then I find myself to be, and I have tons of respect for her confidence. Although some of her stories are personally unrelateable, her ability and bravery to put it all out there on the line is truly admirable. I wish I was as brave as Lena. As for the controversy, when j read it before I had heard any negative feedback, I thought, hmm what a strange thing to do, but we all do some strange things as little kids, and Lena did not harm or abuse her sister, so I think it just needs to be kept in perspective. I say congratulations Lena!

  • these are pretty lame book club questions. Do we have any thoughts about sex or body image? couldn’t get much more vague than that!

  • Normally, I do not comment here; even though I have often read the books that are discussed in the book club. However, the discussion around this book that I read quite recently makes me want to chip in.

    

First of all, the controversy: I feel the same way most of you do, except that I did not even react when reading that passage. Although, as someone said, I have never had experiences of abuse and I respect that it would make you feel differently. 



    Secondly, based a bit on what I have read here and a bit on what I have heard in ”real life” (working in a bookstore I overhear a lot of conversations): I feel like women (yes, because seemingly, most men do not think that her book is of interest but I won’t develop that thought here right now) judge Lena very, very quickly. In a lot of the cases, they have not read the book or seen Girls (a show that I love). They have seen an image of her, read an article or heard someone else commenting on her and therefore feel that they have the right to have a lot of opinions on Lena as a person/as an author/as a director-actor AND the duty to share these opinions with everyone. Normally in the bookshop, if I ever hear critical comments (which does not happen often, people rather recommend each other books) the person criticizing the book has read it and is, most of the time, criticizing the writing and not the author. The sole exception would be Bukowski, I guess; he stirs up feelings as well. Ok so that was a long digression but I find it quite fascinating to hear girls my age (I am 23) morally condemn Lena just because they have read a blog post, or to read someone’s comment a bit further up here: the person hasn’t read the book, hasn’t seen the show but her ”body needs help”. Not relevant while discussing a book, sorry. Oh, and from people judging morality/mental health etc based on reading this book: an autobiography will never tell you the truth about anything. Have you read ”Goodbye to All That” by Robert Graves? Do so, then read the epilogue he wrote. You understand at what point the life he presents to you and that the person you think you know inside out has a whole different story that he chooses to not share. In reality, everything is fictualized. That is how the human brain works. No thought of yours will ever be completely objective etc and of course Lena Dunham’s memory works exactly the same way. She might exaggerate/repress/delete/add. Her texts are supposed to capture the reader, which is why she, naturally, has only chosen the episodes of her life that are worthwhile telling. No one would ever read a book about what cereal she had when she was seven. Also, this is her childhood + her teenage years + a lot of her twenties compromised into one book; it’s going to be dramatic. 



    Finally: what I thought about the book. I respect Lena and I like her writing; she can really retell a story well. From what I have seen in her texts and her movies/TVproductions I feel like she is one of those writers who bases pretty much everything on her own life/experiences (I was a bit surprised of not finding more name alterations in the book, especially since she is as honest as she is but I guess she has permissions to publish them. Does anyone know?) but I do not mind that since she is so talented in doing so. So I am 23, as I said, living in Europe. My friends are from different social backgrounds and nationalities, and I definitely feel as if Lena could be a voice of this generation. Not THE voice but A voice with many others. No matter what the parents do or where you live; we all ask ourselves the same questions. Some are a bit more important, such as what-should-I-do-after-college and some are a bit less important (in hindsight, they are all matters of life or death when you are 17) such as does-this-heart-shaped-smiley-on-MSN-messenger-mean-that-he-likes-me? So for me, the book was extremely relatable; everything from relationships (not the sex, but I have friends that have similar stories to Lenas’), body image, career choices and fears (when I was a kid I was convinced that someone had killed my parents, snuck into the bodies and that they would kill me if I showed them that I knew. Catch 22: so scared but couldn’t tell my parents (I know it doesn’t seem that way but I had a very idyllic childhood)). 



    Ok so sorry for very very long rant but I no one I know has read the book yet and I have had a lot of things to say about it so now it all comes out I am procrastinating, writing this seemed like a better idea than writing my essay. Ok thank you for choosing Not That Kind of Girl this time, I’ll check in to see what people comment!

  • What I like about Lena (and the book) is that she’s so unapologetically herself. Yes she’s weird and doesn’t always have it together but that’s fine. I constantly feel like there’s this immense pressure to be normal and average, blend in and be like everyone else and it takes so much courage to just be yourself, especially if you’re not perfect and are kind of weird and still leaning and trying to figure it all out.

  • I haven’t read this book. I didn’t even know there was a book but I am so happy that I do now, I plan on buying it for myself (and I don’t buy anything).
    I think it is so healthy that people picked up on the strange passage and there is a dialogue happening. Her sisters statement about it is really powerful to me. I really think it is just so great that there is a public discussion of sibling abuse as it’s more common than you’d assume and can be life shattering and I think frank discussions and awareness would do a lot to help prevent abuse in families as well as heal the wounds already caused.
    That’s such a serious topic I feel weird transitioning but I’d really like to read the book because it just because it sounds like it will be funny and insightful -like a nice kind of guilty pleasure thing to get for myself. I’ve seen a season of her show and I guess I did relate; I definitely really liked it as I found it to be a fresh voice and it was really nice to see a female perspective. Television is very different from books so I don’t think people who didn’t relate to the book would necessarily dislike her show (I don’t relate to Frasier- but it’s just a sitcom- it’s good for a laugh). I really like hearing that others didn’t relate to it and I’m super curious if I will, like maybe I really will as I don’t completely relate with most people it seems on ideas of relationships And the career hurdle is hitting me hard And I am interested in hearing more about this fear of death- Am I the only person that doesn’t worry about this?? I really thought only super neurotic people worried about death when it wasn’t facing them until recently. So all of your talking points really sold me! Thanks 😉 I think I’ll enjoy it!

  • I had mixed feelings about this book, parts of it I loved, but generally it got on my nerves. My biggest problem comes from the chapter I <3 NY...

    Catcalling is listed amongst Dunham’s FAVOURITE things about New York City... It seriously drives me mad that a woman who is heralded by so many as a figurehead in contemporary feminism is celebrating street harassment. What a dangerous and detrimental angle to take with an issue that is so often dismissed as women overreacting, or not being able to take a compliment. Well, this sort of feels like she has taken it as a compliment on all of our behalves!

    I have lots more problems but this one really got me, I felt very disappointed by her stance.

  • I love the show “Girls” because it is original and take risks and always makes me laugh even if I cringe too. It seems like a satire of this age-group and these people of privilege, while still making us care about them.

    I was looking forward to learning about Lena’s path to such a powerful and creative position—but instead it read like a series of essays by her character Hannah. I would never have bought an essay collections of Hannah’s. Perhaps she’s brave to share just how messed up her relationship was during the first season of creating the show, but I don’t find self sabotage all that interesting. Her childhood seemed extremely sad and over sexualized.

    I wish there had been more about her work habits, her creativity, how she learned to direct, —more of the kind of “behind the scenes” posts we find here at Spiegeling. You guys should write a memoir!

  • Ugh, agreed! SO agreed. Lena Dunham is NOT the voice of my generation. She is so unlikable to me. She is grating, self-important, arrogant, and extremely obnoxious. She is the essence of what gives folks in my age group (28-32) such a bad name. Also – she is not that talented. She relies on controversy and stunts to get her name out there – take for instance, this book; and “Girls”, which is basically the Lena Dunham nudie show. Congrats for flashing your T & A to the world, Lena – but shock factors unfortunately do not replace talent. It’s quite unfortunate to me that so many find “controversial” and “talented” interchangeable.

  • Everyone has really interesting perspectives on the book and I have appreciated reading them. I just thought I would mention one thing, I suppose, because it seems that my opinion of children’s behavior may be informed somewhat differently than everyone else. I work at a pre-school and specifically with 5-year-olds, and I have to say that from my (relatively extensive) experience, children by the age of 5 have a very solid understanding of sexual boundaries. By this point, they have been taught and practice that their private parts are their own, not to be spoken about or touched or played with or seen, and that they NEVER put their hands on anyone else’s. Of course, this is a pre-school where there are instructors and care-takers explaining this as soon as potty training begins. Perhaps Lena Dunham was never in this kind of environment, and from the passage, it seems her mother spoke very plainly about these things. At the same time, 7-year-olds are much more developed than they are getting credit in many of these comments. Even the 5-year-olds at my school, many of whom have very young siblings, understand the care that must be taken with infants. Of course, I have witnessed children asking questions to each other like, “Can I see your booty?” But they ask first. They know, for whatever reason, that to just show or touch their downstairs bits is not “normal” (whatever that means) and not an experience they are meant to have with each other — let alone their siblings. I find the “I decided to do this” attitude to actually be, to an extent, disturbing and not usual in children that age. The curiosity IS normal (heck, it’s even normal for people her age now!), but taking the action is, what I would call, overstepping. I’m in no way saying she is a pervert or a sex offender, but if one is very familiar with children and their mature progression, it makes sense that one might find that story quite uncomfortable.

  • I listened to the audio version where she reads it, which for me made it even more of a personal story. I completely agree – I couldn’t relate to much. I could relate to pieces she spoke about, but overall, my challenges seemed to be surface level compared to hers. It was a great read, though. She’s incredibly talented and I appreciate what she is doing for the feminist movement. Just the fact that she is expressing herself, exposing her fears and letting us, as women know we’re not alone, makes me support and love her as a creative person in Hollywood.

  • I read this just before you made it a book club selection…here is an excerpt from my review on my blog. It’s so fun to read other people’s ideas about the book. If nothing else, Lena Dunham is definitely a conversation starter!

    “Her voice and her stories eventually became so grating that I started to feel like I was stuck on a road trip with a dramatic, exaggerating friend who won’t stop talking.

    The worst part was that I approached the book with one question: how the hell did this girl get to where she is in her career? How did she become so successful? How did she convert the ennui of her early twenties into a critically-acclaimed TV show? I know I’m not the only one who came to the book with those questions.

    Alas, alack. Despite Dunham’s multiple claims that she was holding nothing back, she held her most coveted secret deep inside, never even allowing the reader to get close to it. The book reeks of immaturity, displayed in the belief that her sexuality is the most interesting or entertaining thing about her. And yet, we know there’s so much more to Lena Dunham, for her to create what she has. By the time I finished the book, I couldn’t tell if she purposefully left out the meat of her story–ironically or defiantly–or if she has compartmentalized her life and her self so much that she was unaware she had left it out. Whatever the case, she definitely left me guessing.”

    The rest of my review here: http://netanya.wordpress.com/2014/10/20/not-lena-dunhams-kind-of-girl/

  • I’m disappointed in you, SpG. Everyone has their right to sexually explore their own bodies, but not to exploit other’s bodies. Dunham herself even describes her actions as those of a sexual predator. It isn’t a stretch of to know she was wrong.

    You have a huge audience and amazing platform with which to make positive change. I’m really sad to see you advocating what is popular and what is easy instead of what is right.

    http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2014/11/04/will-white-feminists-finally-dump-lena-dunham.html

  • Well I have only watched Lena’s show “Girls” and I really enjoyed it, mostly for the story and some of the characters but definitely not for Lena’s character or for her opinions and views about life. I think she is trying too hard to be provokative in order to get you to notice her. I don’t mind the honesty or the profanity, but the way she presents herself (or her character if you like) and her (character’s) ideas are just too much, I think. I haven’t read her book and don’t really intend to, only because I believe that she will annoy me again with the way she will talk about everything, although I’m pretty sure that her stories will be at least interesting, like the stories in her show. It’s good to read everyone’s opinion though, especially people who read it and elaborate on the issues Didier suggested.

  • Just finished the book a couple weeks ago, and am on season 2 of girls. I find that the book and events and characters on the show are very similar. I enjoy the show to a degree although I cannot relate to any of it. The book I too lost interest in half way through and finished it because everyone is talking about this Lena Dunham girl and I figured well this book should tell me why everybody loves her. But after I read it, I didn’t understand the fascination with Lena Dunham still. Sure she gets naked on camera and is real with her body. But that is definitely not anything new. To be honest, I was embarrassed after I read that book- thinking that other girls may be looking up to her. I’m 28 also. I kind of understand what she is trying to do with that book. but, my sister and I and my brother never did that kind of stuff that she did when we were 7. I think her thoughts on sex are a bit skewed. Probably because of some of those experiences she had growing up. I think it’s great that she was honest and everything. I was just so relieved when I finished the book, and I felt like I needed a shower afterwards. I won’t be recommending this book to any of my friends…. It kind of made me want to stop watching the show as well. But, I might as well finish it up so I can get another shower after Season 3…. I’m not necessarily disappointed in the book but I definitely disliked it. I didn’t really feel like she had a significant style of writing. Agreeing with the comments above, she is NOT the voice of our generation. I wonder what her family/friends/colleagues/lovers/teachers/etc who were featured in the book think about it.

  • Yay! The discussion is finally live! I have been dying to hear what others think. You summed it up really well, and I’m happy to hear that you didn’t really connect with Lena either. I was afraid that I was so uncool for not being able to relate to her. I am a huge fan of GIRLS, but not of this book. I bought it solely because I do think Lena’s accomplishments at such a young age are astounding. I was hoping for funny and got nada.

    I bet Amy Poehler’s book will be better next month!

  • I have never been a Lena Dunham fan- mainly for what I view as her elitist viewpoint on feminism. But I wanted to add a bit of perspective as to why the controversy surrounding the story about her sister exists and why I take serious issue with her even more now: The stories she recounts in the book go past the age of seven. Inf act the final story she tells takes place when Lena is 17! Children are incredibly curious about their bodies and sexuality and had the stories merely been about a 7 year-old Lena experimenting I wouldn’t have taken issue at all with it. But it doesn’t. It continues on until Lena is old enough to not only understand at least some aspect of her own sexuality but old enough to understand that she was in fact taking advantage and some would even say yes- abusing her 12 year old sister. If the stories had been written by a man speaking of this behavior at the age of 17 I highly doubt they would have been given the pass that Lena seems to have gotten within the feminist community. Overall I feel that Miss Dunham is someone who is incredibly careless in her writing and seems to like to play either that she is unaware of why something would be controversial or play the role of victim. I find both of these tiresome in the extreme. You cannot dub yourself “the voice of a generation”, make explosive comments, and and then cower when you are called out about things. Which is essentially what she has done with this controversy as well as others from the past that she has had regarding race and the sexualization of young women in the media

  • “Our kids need strong female role models that are classy, elegant ladies who are successful and smart and driven. Not people who are famous for being naked on tv a lot”

    Dunham is the first “average looking” (and by that I mean not a traditional bikini model type) woman who has the courage to show her body without shame. Her placement of nudity on the show is not there for shock, it is not there for kicks, it is there because people get naked in real life. As a pudgy girl myself, this representation has honestly made such a positive impact on me. There are too many women turning the lights off when they go to bed with their partner out of self-shame, too many women saying “If I just lose five more pounds maybe he’ll notice me.” She is showing nothing but reality; That women don’t have to look a certain way – that you shouldn’t be ashamed of your body or feel the need to hide it because it doesn’t “fit the mold.”

    The implication from your post is that class and elegance = modesty, keeping your body covered up, and going about your business quietly. I’m sick of people assuming that you can’t be driven, successful, smart, AND sexual, uninhibited, and body positive. You can be all of the above, and Dunham is.

  • I agree with everything you’ve said, especially your second point.

    It’s so easy for people to look at someone else’s relationship and say ‘how can she be with him, have some respect for yourself’. I don’t think we can criticize someone for making poor relationship choices at that stage in life. I was in a relationship like that once and I kind of did behave a little crazy when he ignored me. I thought so little of myself that I put up with being treated really badly because I didn’t know anything else. I did learn from that that I deserve better and that I would never let anybody treat me like that again. And yes, I consented to sex that I didn’t want. I would say no and he would spend two hours trying to get me to say yes, and I eventually did. It was technically consent… but yeah.

    I don’t think I can relate to anything else though, but everybody’s lives are different and I think Lena just highlights how much the human experience varies. So many people went into this book expecting to be able to relate, which is not something we do with other books. I couldn’t associate with Tina Fey’s life, but how she felt about her experiences resonated with me.

  • I was so excited that you guys chose this book for the Book Club last month, being that I had just began reading it a few days earlier!

    I will say that I am a bit relieved that I was able to read through the chapter in the book that struck the big “controversy” before it actually hit. Mainly because it allowed me to form my own opinion of it without letting the media taint it for me. When I did read that section of the book, I recall laughing, being a bit uncomfortable and ultimately chalking it up to “well, that’s Lena” and also as you mentioned in your review, many young kids go through those awkward moments of discovering themselves and their bodies, and not quite knowing how to go about it in any way other than very awkwardly. But I do find that I wasn’t anymore shocked by that section of the book than I normally am by her writing, or by Girls. That is who Lena is, that is why she is so good at what she does. While I can see how it could be misconstrued by someone that isn’t used to reading (or watching) her material, that she was being inappropriate and even a bit insensitive, she obviously recognized that when she ultimately released her apology, as she meant no harm. I personally do not think that it should sway anyone’s opinion of the book in and of itself. Because this book (for me), was a great insight into her life and her mind, and coming from someone that swoons over biographies, I always appreciate when artists I love allow us to take a look into their personal lives in this way.

    I would also like to say that I know everyone has their own opinions about Lena and her body, and the fact that she appears to have no fear when letting it all hangout on the show. I personally find it empowering that a woman that isn’t “model thin” feels comfortable enough with her body to do so. I also really appreciated that she spoke about her battle with her weight and self-image in this book. It shows that no one “doesn’t care” about how they look, and that everyone has their battles with their own image. But she was able to fight through it enough that she feels ok to own the way she looks naked. And that is a very big deal, especially these days. Every women needs a role model like Lena to look up to every once in a while. I think it is important for us all to have each others backs on that subject.

    Thanks again for such a great book selection, I am really looking forward to reading “Yes Please”!

  • First of all, my comment had absolutely NOTHING to do with body size, shape, or appearance… I don’t enjoy seeing casual sex and blatant nudity on tv no matter how attractive the people are. And not because I am ashamed of it or ashamed of my body or insecure of how I look or anything like that. You are right – sex does happen in real life, but usually it happens between only 2 people with no one else watching… not on display for millions to see.

  • I seriously cannot fathom how people think this is not an issue. Like you said, if it were a man, everyone would be outraged! Personally it makes me feel sick to my stomach to even think about. I tried to read it and just couldn’t.

  • Liz,
    I don’t tend to relate to or admire Lena Dunham in a lot of ways (and I think her show is also super problematic most of the time–like, hello, do people of color exist in this weird world she’s created?), but the one thing that I am 100% on board with is the way she “handles” her body both on the show and off of it. Her refusal to be ashamed of her normal human woman body and the freedom with which she gets naked and “lets it all hang out” on the show is honestly, I think, the most valuable part of it. Like you, I’m a pudgy girl, so her free and open expression of sexuality (and acceptance/declaration of her body AS sexual) is something that I really, really value.

  • As someone who was the victim of this kind of sexual abuse as a child, I’m horrified that anyone thinks this is okay. I’m horrified that anyone can say this is normal or ok or being taken out of context or blown out of proportion.

    This behaviour is sexual abuse. How dare anyone normalize it?! Our children should be protected. We live in a world of rampant sexual abuse and yet we are allowing celebrities to OK it?

    I have 3 children, and yes curiosity is normal, but the kind of behaviour she is describing is absolutely 100% NOT normal and not okay. It’s disgusting. It’s disturbing. It’s sick. I’m sick to my stomach thinking of her repeatedly molesting poor sister. I’m appalled that her parents weren’t monitoring their children properly. And just because a child is so small that they don’t realise they were molested doesn’t mean they weren’t molested. The stupidity of anyone okaying her behaviour is astounding to me.

  • Hi Didier and fellow book club attendees, My name is Eden, I am a 19-year-old college student from Minnesota, here is my opinion 🙂
    I pre-ordered this book and read it within the first week that I got it. I wanted to read this book because Lena is a successful young woman and I wanted to know her story. My background with Lena’s work is limited. I bought the the first season of Girls on itunes and I enjoyed the character development but I could not really connect to the plot so I didn’t continue to watch it. I wanted to read this book to get a better understanding of women who are figure-heads of our culture.
    I expected this book to be a lot more funny than it actually was, in my opinion. Instead of funny I found it to be incredibly raw. I respect how insanely honest Lena was in the way she described her life. There were a lot of parts that I couldn’t relate to, but those that I could felt like Lena could read my soul. There was one passage about her sister that especially struck me because it accurately describes how I often feel about my sister:

    “she had always felt opaque to me, a beautiful unibrowed [k, my sister doesn’t have a unibrow but still] mystery just beyond our family’s grasp. I had been telling my parents, sister, grandma- anyone who would listen, really- about my desires form an early age. I live in a world that is almost completely free of secrets.”

    If I were to write a memoir I hope I would be able to be as honest as eloquently as Lena was.

  • I am about the same age as Dunham as well, and I really connected with this book. There were some aspects of the book (and Dunham’s life) that I definitely couldn’t relate to: I didn’t grow up in an artsy, psychiatrist-on-call family in Manhattan, for example.

    I could, however, relate to the way the author writes about body-image. Her food diary chapter made me laugh and was painfully familiar. Even more familiar was the way she wrote about feeling like she didn’t fit in, like her summer camp story about failing to have the perfect camp sisterhood, and ending the summer wishing that she could have been different. Or in the beginning of the book when she talks about never really feeling like she has found ‘her people’. I’ve spent most of my life feeling the same way, and those passages really resonated with me.

    I found the pieces on relationships and sex really engaging. I think that society could use a lot more honest conversation about sex. That sex is considered something private and shameful (except under the most socially appropriate circumstances) is problematic in many ways.

    Lena Dunham is often referenced as a prominent feminist in our generation, and yet she writes about experiences that are far from empowering. Like her, I have had sexual or romantic experiences that I walked away from wondering, ‘why did I just consent to doing something that I didn’t feel comfortable with or actually enjoy’? I know that’s awful, but I don’t think it’s uncommon. For me, it was comforting to read those stories, just as I appreciate the weird and inappropriate relationships portrayed on Girls. They made me feel less weak and less alone. Normalizing negative experiences can be problematic, but even more problematic is feeling isolated and ashamed by them.

    I understand why people react negatively to Lena Dunham being labelled the voice of our generation, and I respect that opinion. She is, as many of the previous commenters have pointed out, kind of a mess. But at the same time, I think in that way she does represent our generation, or at least some of us (can one person really represent a whole generation?). We’re kind of a mess, and we’re still trying doing our best to figure out what it means to be an empowered, sexually liberated, strong, ambitious young woman in 2014. And wondering where ‘our people’ are. I appreciate that she has the courage to be open and vulnerable about being a flawed woman who is trying her best to figure things out.

  • i haven’t read this book, but have read about the controversy surrounding it. i think it is very brave of you, first of all to address all that controversy. and to do it in such a loving way (loving because you are assuming the best of Lena and not judging her). Sexuality is such a deep, beautiful, complex part of life!

  • I did read the book, and it was more than just disturbing. It wasn’t just the things she did to her sister at age 7, she also described bribing her sister to kiss her, to “lay” on her, and masturbating while laying in bed with her sister- at 17. Not 7. She, herself, likened her behavior to a predator in the book.

    Now I’m not saying Dunham abused her sister. But the actions she describes would cause more than a little concern. I would definitely hope that if a school teacher or counselor found out about her hyper-sexualized behavior that someone would be alerted to the situation. It’s not “ooky” or “weird”- it’s… well alarming.

    That said, the other thing that disturbed me was her claim to have been raped. She claims it was in college by a guy she named “Barry.” She described him as having a huge mustache, wearing purple cowboy boots, worked for the campus radio station on a show called “Real Talk With Jimbo”, and having a voice as deep as Barry White’s. This person… would stand out. To say the least.

    Not surprisingly, the media immediately did a search and found a guy named Barry who graduated a year before her and was of the political persuasion she described. The thing is, he’s married, has kids, a career, and flat-out denies ever having met Lena Dunham, much less raped her. He does not have a voice like Barry White, and people who knew him during college describe him as clean shaven. He did not work at the radio station, and he did not own purple cowboy boots. This hasn’t stopped people from calling him a rapist, threatening him on FB (he removed his page) and harassing him and his family. When a news outlet interviewed him and wrote an article about his situation, Dunham didn’t come out to try to clear this guy. Instead she went to and got really vague. She didn’t say anything about people going after this guy, instead she insinuated that people were trying to silence her somehow. It doesn’t make sense.

    The thing is, after interviewing people from the college, they discovered there never was a radio show called “Real Talk With Jimbo,” and no one who was there at that time ever remembers a guy who sported a huge mustache, wore purple cowboy boots, and had a deep voice like Barry White- with or without the actual name of Barry.

    I’ve heard people say well, she’s a comedian, so she “exaggerates,” or that she’s just trying to “make her life seem more exciting.” Really? “exciting?” Rape is “exciting” now? I have a really good friend who actually was raped in her parking lot, and “exciting” was not the term I’d use. Terrifying, yes. Gross and dirty, definitely. Not. Exciting.

    This whole thing makes me so sad. I really hope Dunham didn’t do this on purpose to get people to talk about her more and draw more attention to herself. She has to understand how hard it is for women who are raped to heal. Someone treating rape like a way to make her life seem more interesting than it is is NOT something admirable.

  • To be fair, the “voice of a generation” quote if from her show and it’s incomplete and without context. She’s talking to her parents and says “I could be the voice of my generation…or A voice…of A generation” Her character says it about herself but is high on opiates at the time and after she says it her parents look at her like she’s nuts. You really *aren’t* suppose to take it as Lena talking about herself. It’s in the first episode and is a great look for the audience at how the character sees herself and her writing compared to how those around her see it. But they took that quote for the trailer, so a lot of people run with it when criticizing her work. When really it’s actually a moment of comedy in the show.

    Hopefully the full quote and context helps (:

  • When we read the book and think about if we can relate to Lena’s stories or not I think we also have to keep in mind that Lena – as a boom author – of course didn’t just print all her diary entries in the book. I believe she picked certain memories she has of her childhood and created exaggerated stories around these memories. After all to make them funny or whatever effect enough to be entertaining for people to read. I don’t think we should have to weigh her words too much. She is a writer, a storyteller and that’s her art, and if I look at it from that perspective I think it’s refreshing.

  • I completely agree with your comments as well. I’m so glad I was lagged on reading this because I read the book as “stuff young kids probably do” and I didn’t even take it in a controversial way, but reading your links I see how it could be misconstrued and blown out of proportion. I know she’s a little out there and odd but I didn’t take it offensively at all.

    2. As far as the relationships and sex go, it felt very similar to watching the relationships on Girls. Everyone has had different relationships and life experiences at this point and sometimes you think you may have been in the worst situation or thought you were “crazy” so for me, her experiences were worse and actually made me feel a little bit better about my history. I also liked hearing about her and Jack, well what little she shared. They seem so happy and it’s comforting to see when I’ve been attempting to date for the last 3 years and sometimes it feels like I will never meet someone.

    3. One of my favorite things about Lena is her comfort with her body. I know it gets a lot of attention because she’s not “actress figured” or whatever you want to call it. I think her confidence in turn gives me confidence. I lived in LA for 11 years and it made me think I would never look “good enough” seeing how guys responded to women at bars and everyone was always trying to be better than what they already were. I’ve since recently moved back to Washington state and I feel SO much more comfortable in my own skin.

    Overall I did relate to Lena and some of her stories. I appreciate her slightly over dramatic and brutal honesty, because at times I feel like I have a similar personality. However, she’s much braver to say anything that’s on her mind than I am.

  • Loveeee the show – and I really love Lena.

    I’m a senior student currently at college, and while no – I can’t relate with certain sex scenes that Lena had mentioned – I think a lot of girls can, as horrendous as that sounds. Reading about them is a little bit more intense sometimes then just chatting about the situation – the details aren’t so…intense most of the time.

    However, I think these things are relevant to a lot of girls my age – so reading those parts made me feel like less of a weirdo. Sometimes you wonder why certain things only happen to you, I thought it was great that Lena was so honest about what happened to her.

    Things about her career, or her schoolwork, or her body image…I think they are very relatable to many people. I even tweeted about how I felt like Lena had vocalized everything I had always been too embarrassed to say.

    So while I couldn’t relate to a lottt of things – I mean let’s be honest – I don’t know if I necessarily judged the book on whether or not it was most relatable to me. I think it was just interesting to hear. But maybe that’s just me – I like hearing about people’s lives! 🙂

  • 1. The controversy, from memory all she really wanted from her sister was a sign a love or care, and only in a sisterly way. The thing with the pebbles in her sister, well the sister did that, and okay a little strange to adults as to why Lena would look there but as pointed out. Children discovering their bodies and sexuality can do things off kilter. also thank god she did so the pebbles could be removed!!

    2.Relationships and sex: I thought she cried wolf a bit much for someone who tried very hard to get laid, and then complained it wasn’t up to standard or a bit rougher than expected. And Whilst in no way am i condoning the ill treatment of women through sex, I do feel that Lena’s issues with self-esteem and confidence probably played a big part in her inability to make better choices in relationships and sexual partners.

    5. I oddly related a little to her issues with death, the what would happen, the people you leave behind etc. But not to the extent that she obsesses over it. A part of her OCD i would imagine.

    Overall, I did not like the book though. I felt that Lena was way to narcissistic and very much like the horrible character she portrays on her show. It was a times an easy read, but I did find it also very easy to put down and forget about for periods of time. I hate to say it but I think that she is a classic example of my generation – ie the selfie generation, a time where we are seemingly encouraged to think that we are all special snowflakes and all the most important person in the room at all times ( an extreme example)

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