Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Not That Kind of Girl

I SO much enjoyed reading Lena Dunham's Not That Kind of Girl. I am a huge fan of hers -- think she has a unique perspective, an off-beat sense of humor, an intelligent sensibility, and an ability to mix and match vulnerability and confidence.

Not That Kind of Girl is a memoir of her childhood in New York, college years, and post-college activities prior to Tiny Furniture (which I also loved). It is presented in the form of distinct essays, but flows well as a whole.

There is a large section devoted to misadventures with the opposite sex. These segments are highly amusing, and also poignant, as the younger Dunham fumbles through her attempts to navigate what passes for "romance" in the 21st Century. There was a lot I could relate to from my own youth. In fact, I find Dunham in general to be very relatable, even though we are generations apart.

The writing throughout is masterful, with wonderful little asides and turns of phrase that continually tickled me. She is a great humorist. I particularly enjoyed the anecdotes about her quirky childhood, and her budding neurosis. It was touching to see this child plagued with anxieties turn to her parents and caregivers numerous times, as she clearly grew up largely feeling safe and loved by those around her.

I wanted to highlight many, many parts of the book. Here is one of the few I chose to highlight (for the sake of brevity I am not sharing a brilliant and touching few paragraphs on her fear of death)"

Looking back on her college years, during which she was a bit lost and alienated: "If I had known how much I would miss these sensations I might have experienced them differently, recognizing their shabby glamour, respected the ticking clock that defined this entire experience. I would have put aside my resentment, dropped my defenses. I might have a basic understanding of European history or economics. More abstractly, I might feel I had been somewhere, open and porous and hungry to learn. Because being a student was an enviable identity and one I can only reclaim by attending community college late in life for a bookmaking class or something"

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