Not That Kind of Girl
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.”
“The gifted [Lena] Dunham not only writes with observant precision, but also brings a measure of perspective, nostalgia and an older person’s sort of wisdom to her portrait of her (not all that much) younger self and her world. . . . By simply telling her own story in all its specificity and sometimes embarrassing detail, she has written a book that’s as acute and heartfelt as it is funny.”—Michiko Kakutani, The New York Times
“Dunham has crafted warm, intelligent writing that is both deeply personal and engaging. . . . [Hers] is not only a voice who deserves to be heard but also one who will inspire other important voices to tell their stories too.”—Roxane Gay, Time
“A lovely, touching, surprisingly sentimental portrait of a woman who, despite repeatedly baring her body and soul to audiences, remains a bit of an enigma: a young woman who sets the agenda, defies classification and seems utterly at home in her own skin.”—Chicago Tribune
“A lot of us fear we don’t measure up beautywise and that we endure too much crummy treatment from men. On these topics, Dunham is funny, wise, and, yes, brave. . . . Among Dunham’s gifts to womankind is her frontline example that some asshole may call you undesirable or worse, and it won’t kill you. Your version matters more.”—Elle
“[Not That Kind of Girl is] witty and wise and rife with the kind of pacing and comedic flourishes that characterize early Woody Allen books. . . . Dunham is an extraordinary talent, and her vision . . . is stunningly original.”—Meghan Daum, The New York Times Magazine
“There’s a lot of power in retelling your mistakes so people can see what’s funny about them—and so that you are in control. Dunham knows about this power, and she has harnessed it.”—The Washington Post
“As Dunham proves beyond a shadow of a doubt in Not That Kind of Girl, she’s not remotely at risk of offering up the same old sentimental tales we’ve read dozens of times. Dunham’s outer and inner worlds are so eccentric and distinct that every anecdote, every observation, every mundane moment of self-doubt actually feels valuable and revelatory.”—Heather Havrilesky, Los Angeles Review of Books
“Dunham’s book is one of those rare examples when something hyped deserves its buzz. Those of us familiar with her wit and weirdness on HBO’s Girls will experience it in spades in these essays. . . . There are hilarious moments here—I cracked up on a crowded subway reading an essay about her childhood—and disturbing ones, too. But it’s always heartfelt and very real.”—New York Post
“We are comforted, we are charmed, we leave more empowered than we came.”—NPR
“Touching, at times profound, and deeply funny . . . Dunham is expert at combining despair and humor.”—Publishers Weekly (starred review)
“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 the reason (he claimed) he never wrote an autobiography. Dunham’s crystals are on perpetual display, sending light shafts everywhere. . . . [She’s] a genuine artist, and a disturber of the order.”—The Atlantic
“It’s not Lena Dunham’s candor that makes me gasp. Rather, it’s her writing—which is full of surprises where you least expect them. A fine, subversive book.”—David Sedaris
“Always funny, sometimes wrenching, these essays are a testament to the creative wonder that is Lena Dunham.”—Judy Blume
“Dunham’s writing is just as smart, honest, sophisticated, dangerous, and charming as her work on Girls. Its essential quality is a kind of joyful super-awareness: of herself, the world, the human. Reading her makes you glad to be in the world, and glad that she’s in it with you.”—George Saunders
“Very few women have become famous for being who they actually are, nuanced and imperfect. When honesty happens, it’s usually couched in self-ridicule or self-help. Dunham doesn’t apologize like that—she simply tells her story as if it might be interesting. Not That Kind of Girl is hilarious, artful, and staggeringly intimate; I read it shivering with recognition.”—Miranda July
“This book should be required reading for anyone who thinks they understand the experience of being a young woman in our culture. I thought I knew the author rather well, and I found many (not altogether welcome) surprises.”—Carroll Dunham
From the Hardcover edition.
by Dr. Joseph Mercola; Foreword by David Perlmutter, M.D. Foreword by David Perlmutter, M.D.