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Summary

Lena Dunham, acclaimed writer-director-star of HBO and Sky Atlantic's Girls and the award-winning movie Tiny Furniture, displays her unique powers of observation, wisdom, and humour in this exceptional collection of essays.

"If I could take what I've learned and make one menial job easier for you, or prevent you from having the kind of sex where you feel you must keep your sneakers on in case you want to run away during the act, then every misstep of mine was worthwhile. I'm already predicting my future shame at thinking I had anything to offer you, but also my future glory in having stopped you from trying an expensive juice cleanse or thinking that it was your fault when the person you are dating suddenly backs away, intimidated by the clarity of your personal mission here on Earth. No, I am not a sexpert, a psychologist, or a dietician. I am not a mother of three or the owner of a successful hosiery franchise. But I am a girl with a keen interest in having it all, and what follows are hopeful dispatches from the frontlines of that struggle."

©2014 Lena Dunham (P)2014 HarperCollins Publishers Limited

Critic reviews

Advance praise for Not That Kind of Girl:
"It's not Lena Dunham's candour that makes me gasp. Rather, it's her writing--which is full of surprises where you least expect them. This is a fine, subversive book." (David Sedaris)
"Always funny, sometimes wrenching, these essays are a testament to the creative wonder that is Lena Dunham." (Judy Blume)
"Dunham's writing is just as smart, honest, sophisticated, dangerous, and charming as her work on Girls. Its essential quality is a kind of joyful super-awareness: of herself, the world, the human. Reading her makes you glad to be in the world, and glad that she's in it with you." (George Saunders)
"Very few women have become famous for being who they actually are, nuanced and imperfect. When honesty happens, it's usually couched in self-ridicule or self-help. Dunham doesn't apologise like that--she simply tells her story as if it might be interesting. The result is shocking and radical because it is utterly familiar. Not That Kind of Girl is hilarious, artful, and staggeringly intimate; I read it shivering with recognition." (Miranda July)

What members say

Average customer ratings

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  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars

Such a disappointment.

I'm a fan of Dunham and of Girls and I expected so much more from this book. Like another reviewer I was disappointed to find no discussion of her creative process, no reflections on writing in general, just simply nothing about the thing most people respect her for - which is her work! What this book is is the confessional journal of a nausiatingly privileged twenty-something's mental pathologies and to be honest, it felt like having coffee with that friend who just bangs on and on about their first world problems and doesn't filter a single thought that comes out of their mouth.

As other reviewers have stated, the lowest point is a section in which she reads an old food diary, listing everything she ate along with each item's caloric value. When she encounters an item for which she is uncertain of the caloric value, she does an exaggerated upward inflection that had me on the edge of throwing my computer out the window. This list goes on for an excruciatingly leisurely fifteen minutes in this audiobook. FIFTEEN MINUTES. She doesn't even attempt to justify or explain the list's presence in the book, or even to analyse it, which perhaps could have drawn something interesting from it. She just sticks it in like a kid who forgot to bring anything for Show And Tell. The childish egomania of the thing was bewildering.

The number one bane of feminist creatives is that we are so rarely asked about our work, our thoughts, our minds – instead we are asked about fashion and dieting, boyfriends and sex etc etc. I just cannot fathom why Dunham, who is a skilled writer and an outspoken feminist, chose to use the opportunity of writing her own book to fill it with the sort of banal nonsense that any Glamour Magazine interview would have asked her. What a waste of time.

13 of 14 people found this review helpful

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Boring

Just a boring life story, nothing out of the ordinary, interesting or funny.. Feels like it was written by someone proving to themselves that they can write.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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Awful, self indulgent, self obsessed drivel

I have really ambivalent feelings towards Lena. She is clearly blessed with a great writing talent but this is just a rehash of the only thing she seems capable of writing about. Herself. I

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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  • Connie
  • United Kingdom
  • 18-10-14

Obviously listen if you are a fan of Girls

Would you listen to Not That Kind of Girl again? Why?

Maybe. I love Lena, so am intrigued by anything she has to say, but was a little disappointed by the lack of excitement in the story, but I love love her and did really enjoy it, an easy listen.

Would you be willing to try another book from Lena Dunham? Why or why not?

Yes I hope her next book is more juicy. The scene where she reads out her calories was too long, although I got her point.

Which scene did you most enjoy?

Where she explains how she first made it.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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Reasonably entertaining....

I love Lena Dunham but I found this a little too self-indulgent and frothy. Didn't lend itself well to the audiobook format being non-linear and containing various lists etc. I think I would have preferred this one as an actual book.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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disappointed

I wasn't really enjoying it. I was expecting someting totaly different. Too boring, stuff she learned were a but crap- I didn't learn anything useful from her.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Grim

If this book wasn’t for you, who do you think might enjoy it more?

Peeping Toms? Sex starved?

What was most disappointing about Lena Dunham’s story?

Very disappointing. All over the place biography with very little depth unless you are interested in someone who has very little self-respect's sex life.And it's American.

What didn’t you like about Lena Dunham’s performance?

Her; "I'm a rebel- just for the sake of it, shallowness."

If you could play editor, what scene or scenes would you have cut from Not That Kind of Girl?

It would need to be put in some sort of logical order and need some interesting content or perspectives injected into it.

Any additional comments?

Avoid if you have any brain cells that need exercise.

4 of 6 people found this review helpful

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Absolutely encapsulating.

As usual, Lena Dunham was brilliantly interesting and fantastically insightful. I wish I could thank her for sharing her life.

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dazzling story telling

I thought it would be all essays and opinion but instead it was a beautiful tale of a young girl growing into a woman. wonderfully read.

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A millennial's memoir

So relatable. It's like reading my own journal if I was as eloquent and articulate as Lena Dunham. She's got a great gift in putting a girl's random thoughts into coherent writing. Her anxieties, struggles with identity and mental health resonated with me.

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Profile Image for Sarah Cobbold
  • Sarah Cobbold
  • 06-03-15

Indulgent

I'm a fan of Girls so my expectations were high. I just didn't get it. I bought the book on audible and parts were torture. Listening to Lena read through days of dieting food was one of my lowest points. I'm still a fan of Girls but would steer clear of another book - particularly On Audible. Shame as I've always admired her ballsy approach.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Gidget
  • 23-02-15

Loved it!

Great book! Loved that Lena Dunham was reading it herself. Funny/awkward and cringy stories. Amazing! You need to read it!

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Profile Image for Oyinkansola
  • Oyinkansola
  • 28-01-16

Alternate title: my awkward sexual history

Would you recommend this book to a friend? Why or why not?

Nope: I thought this book would explore other themes (career, friendship, family) - in a mindy kaling-bio type way. instead i was disappointed to get one sexual stop after another. Each designed to make my jaw drop a little more than the last. Lena is definitely funny- indisputable, but after an hour or two or three, I am no longer amused.