Publishing Date: September 30, 2014The Premise: Lena Dunham, creator, producer and star of HBO's Girls has written a collection of essays that details her personal experiences and as the title puts it, tells you what she's learned. As a fan of the show, I feel incredibly lucky to have been given a chance to get a copy of this to read. It is comprised of five sections titled: Love & Sex, Body, Friendship, Work and lastly, Big Picture. Each chapter reveals personal experiences from Dunham that are really accessible to any reader. It tackles topics such as body image, falling in love, dealing with death, to name a few.
Publisher: Doubleday Canada
Pages: 288 pages
My overall thoughts and review: Going into this text, I knew immediately that Lena Dunham is obviously not the character that she portrays on tv, but the writing of the novel has the same charm and wit that you would get from an episode of Girls. You can really feel Dunham's style and her voice coming across. I know that the show is mostly often spoken about because of the controversy of how they approach sex and how raw and explicit it can be. What Dunham attempts to do is also translate that into her book, which of course is a difficult task to do it tastefully. I really enjoyed how personal Dunham got with her reader and basically in my opinion, did not hold back. She shared moments which I myself, if I experienced, would be terrified to share. Some passages made me want to just reach into the book and give Dunham a big virtual hug. Her stories of relationship problems were so accessible and so relatable. She is able to empathize with the reader and demonstrate that yes, she is human, and she has made mistakes just like all of us. Through the difficult parts of the text, she also offers the reader extremely important messages which I found to be particularly reassuring such as the one that follows:
"When 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 a transgressive intellectual experiment. It's something you accept, condone, and learn to believe you deserve. This is so simple. But I tried so hard to make it complicated." (49)In contrast to those more serious personal experiences shared, there are of course, some laugh out loud moments. My favorites in particular include the chapters: "Emails I would send if I were one ounce crazier/angrier/braver" and "I didn't fuck them, but they yelled at me." The emails one in particular was just perfect. It has definitely inspired me to well, not go out and send crazy emails, but to have maybe a type of journal and write in an email format to kind of release my stress, which I'm sure Dunham felt when writing out that section. The last section I mentioned is Dunham describing how she will most likely write another memoir like this one but when she is eighty, and of course, she would name names, which sounds incredibly intense and enticing! There are also illustrations might I add which obviously make everything very ~Lena~. It was a good contrast of the super personal experiences that were deep and the funny experiences she encountered. If you are a fan of the show, you can see some overlap in some stories such as Dunham's one time experience of working at an over-priced children's clothing store is similar to in the show where Jessa is seen working in a store similar to that. I really, really enjoyed just how honest Dunham was with the reader and that honesty, well it is incredibly brave but it just really felt like you were talking to a really good friend while reading it. I have read a few memoirs and biographies, but none quite like this one. I just really enjoyed it and I think that even if you aren't a fan of the show or know much about Dunham, you should take a chance on it because it might surprise you. It definitely surprised me.
My Rating of the Book: ✮✮✮✮✮ (5/5 stars)
Now Available for Purchase at:
Chapters/Indigo - Amazon.ca - Book Depository
Disclaimer: This book was sent to me by Random House Canada for consideration/review. All opinions are my own.