Thursday, December 31, 2015

Lena Dunham: A Wonderful Writer I Can't Relate To... But sometimes wish I could.

Not That Kind of Girl: A Young Woman Tells You What She's Not That Kind of Girl: A Young Woman Tells You What She's "Learned" by Lena Dunham
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Usually I read memoirs to find the connections between myself and other people.

Lena Dunham is not a woman I can connect to. Not at all. Even though we're of the same generation (she's two years younger than I am) and we're both writers, and we're both liberal politically, that is where our similarities end.

Where she is outspoken, I am quiet. Where she is open, I am private.

In the first episode of "Girls" her character has learned that her parents are going to stop sending her money, she has to find a paying job or convince the company she's been an intern with that she is worth offering a paycheck to. She sits in a bathtub with her female friend, while they shave their legs and such, and laments over this horrific situation where she'll have to fend for herself in New York City.

In "Not That Kind of Girl" Dunham writes about the $200 jeans her sister talked their father into buying for her at fifteen years old, the organic food in her diet, and her parents sending her to a nutritionist. This is not a world that I know anything about. My favorite jeans were hand-me-downs from my best friend, and food often came from a banana box at the food bank. I've been primarily on my own financially since I was eighteen years old, and have had to build my career without the added benefit of any sort of internship because of this.

Though completely unfamiliar, I found Dunham's world quite fascinating. It was interesting to read about a woman who came from the same generation, the same era as me, less than a day's drive apart in distance, yet in a completely different world. Dunham has an incredible knack for being herself. She doesn't hide, she tells her horrors and her achievements with equal reverence. She regards the truth about herself to be the only thing worth telling. Why make things up?

I've also been watching her show and listening to her podcast, Women of the Hour. I highly suggest exploring all three. It's worth it to explore her world.

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