“Not That Kind of Girl” is Dunham’s collection of personal essays, arranged into a book of Dear Abbey-esque advice for women. She covers topics at length including body image, love and sex, work, and friendship, artfully piecing them together to embrace the big picture.
Perhaps what I love most about Dunham is her ability to speak so candidly about subjects that popular culture often sweeps under the rug. In her chapter titled Barry, she discusses her experience with a boy for whom the chapter is named, and the nuanced facets of date rape.
She writes eloquently about dealing with OCD and anxiety, topics that I relate well to. Seeing Lena articulate and overcome these struggles gives me hope.
Dunham has come under fire for several reasons during her burgeoning career. Accusations range from nepotistic casting decisions to racial homogeneity to representing only a very limited, privileged experience on her show.
Despite these allegations, Dunham remains positive. I would argue that though her show may seem overly exclusive, her critics owe it to themselves to look anew on her book.
The style in which Dunham writes is poetic and poignant. Her prose and message transcend experience and status to speak volumes of truth to our generation.
So if Dunham’s work allows one more girl to understand that her struggle isn’t only hers, it’s worth it. Dunham relates to the angst, the depression, the fretfulness of being our age, and she’s here to talk about it.
“I can never be who I was. I can simply watch her with sympathy, understanding, and some measure of awe. There she goes, backpack on, headed for the subway or the airport. She did her best with her eyeliner. She learned a new word she wants to try out on you. She is ambling along. She is looking for it.”