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Not That Kind of Girl
Cover of Not That Kind of Girl
Not That Kind of Girl
A Young Woman Tells You What She's "Learned"
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For readers of Nora Ephron, Tina Fey, and David Sedaris, this hilarious, poignant, and extremely frank collection of personal essays confirms Lena Dunham--the acclaimed creator, producer, and star of HBO's Girls--as one of the brightest and most original writers working today.

"If I can take what I've learned in this life and make one treacherous relationship or degrading job easier for you, perhaps even prevent you from becoming temporarily vegan, then every misstep of mine will have been worthwhile. This book contains stories about wonderful nights with terrible boys and terrible days with wonderful friends, about ambition and the two existential crises I had before the age of twenty. About fashion and its many discontents. About publicly sharing your body, having to prove yourself in a meeting full of fifty-year-old men, and the health fears (tinnitus, lamp dust, infertility) that keep me up at night. I'm already predicting my future shame at thinking I had anything to offer you with this book, but also my future glory in having stopped you from trying an expensive juice cleanse or having the kind of sexual encounter where you keep your sneakers on. No, I am not a sexpert, a psychologist, or a registered dietician. I am not a married mother of three or the owner of a successful hosiery franchise. But I am a girl with a keen interest in self-actualization, sending hopeful dispatches from the front lines of that struggle."

For readers of Nora Ephron, Tina Fey, and David Sedaris, this hilarious, poignant, and extremely frank collection of personal essays confirms Lena Dunham--the acclaimed creator, producer, and star of HBO's Girls--as one of the brightest and most original writers working today.

"If I can take what I've learned in this life and make one treacherous relationship or degrading job easier for you, perhaps even prevent you from becoming temporarily vegan, then every misstep of mine will have been worthwhile. This book contains stories about wonderful nights with terrible boys and terrible days with wonderful friends, about ambition and the two existential crises I had before the age of twenty. About fashion and its many discontents. About publicly sharing your body, having to prove yourself in a meeting full of fifty-year-old men, and the health fears (tinnitus, lamp dust, infertility) that keep me up at night. I'm already predicting my future shame at thinking I had anything to offer you with this book, but also my future glory in having stopped you from trying an expensive juice cleanse or having the kind of sexual encounter where you keep your sneakers on. No, I am not a sexpert, a psychologist, or a registered dietician. I am not a married mother of three or the owner of a successful hosiery franchise. But I am a girl with a keen interest in self-actualization, sending hopeful dispatches from the front lines of that struggle."

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  • From the book

    Little Leather Gloves
    The Joy of Wasting Time

    I remember when my schedule was as flexible as she is.
    ---Drake

    I worked at the baby store for nine months.

    Just recently graduated, I had stormed out of my restaurant job on a whim, causing my father to yell, "You can't just do that! What if you had children?"

    "Well, thank God I don't!" I yelled right back.

    At this point, I was living in a glorified closet at the back of my parents' loft, a room they had assigned me because they thought I would graduate and move out like a properly evolving person. The room had no windows, and so, in order to get a glimpse of daylight, I had to slide open the door to my sister's bright, airy room. "Go away," she would hiss.

    I was unemployed. And while I had a roof over my head (my parents') and food to eat (also technically theirs), my days were shapeless, and the disappointment of the people who loved me (my parents) was palpable. I slept until noon, became defensive when asked about my plans for the future, and gained weight like it was a viable profession. I was becoming the kind of adult parents worry about producing.

    I had been ambitious once. In college, all I seemed to do was found literary magazines with inexplicable names and stage experimental black--box theater and join teams (rugby, if only for a day or so). I was eager and hungry: for new art, for new friendship, for sex. Despite my ambivalence about academia, college was a wonderful gig, thousands of hours to tend to yourself like a garden. But now I was back to zero. No grades. No semesters. No CliffsNotes in case of emergency. I was lost.

    It's not that I didn't have plans. Oh, I had plans. Just none that these small minds could understand. My first idea was to be the assistant to a private eye. I was always being accused of extreme nosiness, so why not turn this character flaw into cold hard cash? After hunting around on Craigslist, however, it soon became clear that most private eyes worked alone---or if they needed an assistant, they wanted someone with the kind of sensual looks to bait cheating husbands. The second idea was baker. After all, I love bread and all bread by--products. But no, that involved waking up at four every morning. And knowing how to bake. What about preschool art teacher? Turns out that involved more than just a passion for pasta necklaces. There would be no rom--com--ready job for me.


    The only silver lining in my situation was that it allowed me to reconnect with my oldest friends, Isabel and Joana. We were all back in Tribeca, the same neighborhood where we had met in preschool. Isabel was finishing her sculpture degree, living with an aging pug named Hamlet who had once had his head run over by a truck and survived. Joana had just completed art school and was sporting the festive remains of a bleached mullet. I had broken up with the hippie boyfriend I considered my bridge to health and wholeness and was editing a "feature film" on my laptop. Isabel was living in her father's old studio, which she had decorated with found objects, standing racks of children's Halloween costumes, and a TV from 1997. When the three of us met there to catch up, Joana's nails painted like weed leaves and Monets, I felt at peace.
    Isabel was employed at Peach and the Babke, a high--end children's clothing store in our neighborhood. Isabel is a true eccentric---not the self--conscious kind who collects feathers and snow globes but the kind whose passions and predilections are so genuinely out of sync with the world at large that she herself becomes an object of fascination. One day Isabel had strolled into the...

About the Author-
  • LENA DUNHAM is the creator and star of the critically-acclaimed HBO series Girls, for which she also serves as executive producer, writer and director. She has been nominated for 8 Emmy awards and has won 2 Golden Globes, including Best Actress, for her work on Girls. Lena has also written and directed two feature length films (including 2011's Tiny Furniture), created two web series, and is a frequent contributor to the The New Yorker. Lena graduated from Oberlin College in 2008.
Reviews-
  • AudioFile Magazine Narrator and celebrity author Lena Dunham brings her talent for "oversharing" to a whole new level as she shares casual thoughts on sexuality and insecurity. From her childhood to her present renown as producer and star of HBO's "Girls," Dunham methodically details her sexual experiences juxtaposed against her frequent battles with OCD and low self-esteem. Listeners who know Dunham's television work will appreciate the intimacy her narration brings to her autobiography. However, her delivery lacks the liveliness of her television persona. Furthermore, the associative nature of her musings doesn't translate well to audio; her temporal and topic jumps may have listeners wondering if they downloaded the book in the proper order. C.A. © AudioFile 2015, Portland, Maine
  • Publishers Weekly (starred review)
    "Touching, at times profound, and deeply funny . . . Dunham is expert at combining despair and humor."
  • The Atlantic "Most of us live our lives desperately trying to conceal the anguishing gap between our polished, aspirational, representational selves and our real, human, deeply flawed selves. Dunham lives hers in that gap, welcomes the rest of the world into it with boundless openheartedness, and writes about it with the kind of profound self-awareness and self-compassion that invite us to inhabit our own gaps and maybe even embrace them a little bit more, anguish over them a little bit less."--Maria Popova, Brain Pickings

    "Reading this book is a pleasure. . . . [These essays] exude brilliance and insight well beyond Dunham's twenty-eight years."--The Philadelphia Inquirer

    "Witty, illuminating, maddening, bracingly bleak . . . That great feminist icon Norman Mailer was very careful, through a lifetime's work, not to unbury his 'crystals,' his prismatic lodes of psychic material: it's
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Not That Kind of Girl
A Young Woman Tells You What She's "Learned"
Lena Dunham
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