When word got out about the 3.7 million dollar purchase of her memoir, I didn’t think much about reading Lena Dunham’s book. I’m a fan of Girls, for sure. But my adoration for the show didn’t go beyond the HBO series. I only knew Lena Dunham as her character / alter ego Hannah, and the story lines she endured.
Then one day while perusing my NYPL account, I did a search and placed a hold on the book. That was in October. I was # 764.
Well lo and behold, just in time for the Girls premiere, it was my turn!
I read it in 3 days!
There were many laugh-out-loud moments that stirred my kids to ask what’s so funny? (Which I wasn’t about to explain.)
I expected it to be hilarious, that much I knew about Lena Dunham.
But I didn’t expect the gems of wisdom translated into straight forward advice, sheathed in incredibly relatable, honest insights.
The subtitle, A Young Woman Tells You What She’s “learned”, sums it up well — she spins her story into teachable moments, for others to heed.
The topics veer into touchy territory– including a rape experience that she wasn’t totally tuned into, and a penchant for prescription pills. Sex, love, death, food, illness and family are all covered. She shares some bits from working on Girls (what it’s really like to do a sex scene), but mostly her stories / lessons come from school, camp and family.
Could this be something I’d want GL to read when she’s (a lot) older — in an Are You There God It’s Me Margaret, kind of way?
It’s got the same coming of age appeal. But way raunchier with explicit descriptions.
It’s the real deal.
There’s no glamorizing, no fairy-tale-ing and certainly no pretty bow that wraps it all up.
It’s messy. (There’s a lot of vomiting, awkward sex-tells and crazy obsessing.)
And in the end, she writes this:
Soon you will find yourself in more and more situations you don’t want to run from. At work, you’ll realize that you’ve spent the entire day in your body, really in it, not imagining what you look like to the people who surround you but just being who you are. You are a tool being put to its proper use. That changes a lot of things.
So yes. Yes, I want GL to read it.
I want her to know about someone like Lena Dunham– who puts it all out there (as unflattering as it may be), and at the same time shows us there’s power in authenticity. That being vulnerable is okay. And self expression matters.