We are all that kind of girl

Leanne Walstow 29 January 2015

Something that’s probably obvious is that if you like Girls, you’ll like Lena Dunham’s literary debut Not That Kind of Girl – it too is raw, slightly uncomfortable yet remarkably enjoyable.

Dunham presents the reader with an often graphic account of her life-experiences, which range from hilarious to heart-breaking, even at times a little existential. Aspects of Girls’ Hannah that Dunham shares – anxiety, oversharing and romantic awkwardness – are meditated upon at length alongside personal anecdotes, featuring a list of “18 Unlikely Things I’ve Said Flirtatiously”, containing the quote “Not to sound like a hippie, but I cured my HPV with acupuncture.”

We are invited to recognise our shared experiences and reflect on them alongside Dunham – “Emails I Would Send If I Were One Ounce Crazier/Angrier/Braver” – sounds familiar, right? Her recollections of her time at college may strike a chord with many; losing one’s virginity, platonic bed sharing and the fear that comes from being seemingly directionless in the life (hello!).

The book itself is a joy to own in its hardback form; the endpaper is nothing short of glorious. As well as being an interconnecting whole, it is perfectly structured for the busy Cambridge lifestyle as the text can work as a series of stand-alone essays too; perfect for those odd hours between supervisions.

Not That Kind of Girl offers a fresh perspective on what it’s like to live as a young woman in the 21st century. Dunham expertly handles difficult themes and in doing so makes us more comfortable with ourselves. We are invited into Dunham’s intimate world, but looking around we find in many cases it is also our own.