October Book Review: Not That Kind of Girl

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It has been a long time since I’d waited, with bated breath, for a book to be released, might have been with the release of Breaking Dawn in 2008. About six months ago I got wind that Lena Dunham was putting out a satirical memoir, chronically her experiences as a young lady. I marked the release date in my calendar and started the mental countdown, y’all already know I have a girl crush on Lena Dunham. Promptly on September 30th I logged into my Audible account and used a single precious download credit on Not that Kind of Girl: A Young Woman Tells You What She’s Learned.

I recently read this book review via Jezebel and I feel like it will closely mimics what I am about to say, but I will use more elementary words: I did not read this book to improve my quality of life, but to get to know someone who I admire greatly. I think sometimes we pick up a book and we are hoping for a relatable tale and then we gage how good we think that book is based on how well we related. With Dunham’s memoir I had to take a step back and say, “No, I cannot relate to that experience, but I can relate to that emotion.”

“I am not a mother of three, or the owner of a successful hosiery franchise, but I am a girl with the keen interest in having it all.”

Dunham has lived a unique life, growing up with artist parents in Brooklyn New York, and while it was never clearly stated, I would say that she grew up comfortably. I do think Dunham was encouraged to live the life she wanted and was encouraged to speak her mind and love her body. Unfortunately, I do not think most young girls could say the same, I certainly couldn’t. However, I will say that if you did not receive that message of feminism [and what that means] as a young girl, you can certainly receive that message from Lena Dunham. You can define for yourself what you think is happiness for you and you can go after it without being “that kind of girl”.

“Someone shows you how little you mean to them and you keep coming back for more before you know it you start to mean less to yourself. You are not made up of compartments, you are one whole person. What gets said to you gets said to all of you, ditto what gets done. Being treated like shit is not an amusing game, or transgressional intellectual experiment, it’s something you accept, condone, and learn to believe you deserve.”

Dunham speaks of her experiences with anxiety, self-worth, body image, family, relationships, and sex. She also shares her experience of being raped, what that meant to her, and how she reacted to it. While I couldn’t relate to the situation, I could relate to the way she reacted and how she felt like she was not reacting the way that people would expect her to act in the situation. I think we see things on TV or in movies and we make broad assumptions for how we should think, feel, or act in a traumatizing event. Maybe we think, “Oh, I shouldn’t laugh so loud because people might think I don’t care, or I’m not grieving enough. I shouldn’t move on so quickly.”

“You’ve learned a new rule and it’s simple, don’t put yourself in situations you’d like to run away from, but when you run, run back to yourself.”

Lena Dunham, thank you for sharing your story. Is it too awkward for me, as a 30-year old lady, to ask you to be my bestie? xoxo ‘n lols, crystal

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