David Mair, Staff Writer

Lena Dunham’s life — and book debut — is quite a page-turner.

Lena Dunham, author of “Not My Kind of Girl,” being interviews in 2012 at Fortune’s Most Powerful Women Conference.
Lena Dunham, author of “Not My Kind of Girl,” being interviews in 2012 at Fortune’s Most Powerful Women Conference.

At 28, Lena Dunham is the creator and director of the acclaimed Home Box Office (HBO) show “Girls.” She has been nominated for eight Emmy Awards and has won two Golden Globes, and she was the first woman to win the Directors Guild of America award for directorial achievement in comedy.

A few weeks ago, her first book was published by Random House. “Not That Kind Of Girl” is a collection of short essays.

The essays in “Not That Kind of Girl” are all about Dunham’s experience growing up, how it has shaped her and how it continues to do so.

It is by no means a basic chronology of where she grew up, what school she went to or who she associated herself with. Rather, it’s a collection of essays and stories that invites readers into portraits of Dunham’s life and thoughts as she grew up.

In one essay titled “Emails I would send If I Were One Ounce Crazier/Angrier/Braver,” she writes several emails to anonymous people about things she wishes she could have said.

It includes an email to a childhood friend she first performed oral sex on when they were in college. She told him he should have called when her cat died.

“Grace,” which discusses the loving relationship Dunham has with her sister, tells the story of her sister confiding in her about being lesbian.

One essay is simply a list of things she’s learned from her mother. One example is that sometimes a dog smells another dog’s “tushy,” and it just doesn’t like what it smells.

The collection includes many more hilariously thought-provoking pieces.

In this collection, Dunham demonstrates how talented she is as a writer. She eloquently depicts a very real experience of what it is to grow up — especially as a woman.

Her witty humor, along with an always-sarcastic undertone, coupled with her much-needed perspective on life enables readers to enjoy her stories while simultaneously gaining a new frame in which to view the day-to-day.

Without a doubt, young women will enjoy reading this book. It’s not only relevant but possibly necessary in today’s society, where women are sexualized.

While it does revolve entirely around a girl’s life experience, men could also serve to benefit from it just as much, if not more.

Dunham’s writings provide an insight that too often men do not bother to take the time to gain.

Each essay, though hysterical, force the reader to pause and realize that Dunham is pointing out something in her life that is true in others’ as well.

It’s a genuinely great read because of how Dunham is able to pull the reader in so well.

“Not That Kind of Girl” is a page-turner from cover to cover; with each essay being a gut-bustingly funny tale of Dunham’s life. It reminds any who read it that life is awkward and uncomfortable but full of meaning and joy. ◼︎

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