Guest Post: Here’s the thing, I didn’t enjoy reading Lena Dunham’s memoir Not That Kind of Girl.

By: Meagan Laroque

So if you’re madly in love with the woman and not open to critically discussing elements of this book, I highly suggest you stop reading this post. Maybe just click on Daniela’s link instead. It’s okay, we can bond over something else later, like baby elephants, chai tea, travel adventures, or this –>

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You know those people who mark off favourite quotes as they read? Daniela and I both do that. I have a solid collection of memorable quotes from some of the best novels I have read. But with Lena’s book, I found myself marking off quotes or pages that instead of inspiring me or provoking belly laughs, made me want to use the book in a D.I.Y. craft project that involves transforming the book to a point where it’s illegible.

imagejpeg_2Overall, I felt the novel was a series of arbitrary rambles targeted towards spoiled, upper-class twentysomethings. I found myself thinking ‘wait, what?’ far too often. Here’s an example: There’s a section called ‘Friendship’, where friendship is never actually discussed. It’s literally an entire section dedicated to Lena’s “bi-curious” nature and her falling for other girls. I’m all for gay rights; I even have a T-Shirt that says so! But that’s not friendship. Friendship is unconditional love without sexual desire.

How can you write a memoir that dedicates more than half the book to relationships, and not once reflect on friendship?

The section ‘Love and Sex’ is a documentation of Lena’s past relationships. After reading that section, all I could think about was how important it was to her self-worth, and how much weight she put on being in a relationship. There was nothing empowering about this message. It was as though she was condemning the unattached and single, letting us know we aren’t truly valuable and worthy until we’re loved by another person.

Sorry Lena, but Sahaj Kohli said it best: “The fact that someone else loves you doesn’t rescue you from the project of loving yourself.”

Don’t get me wrong – I still have some respect for Lena. She really put it all out there (right down to the nipple hair), free of secrets with no hesitation. I sincerely enjoyed her section about therapy and becoming secret bffs with her therapists’ daughter. There are parts of the novel that made me laugh, gasp, or even stop and relate to my own personal experiences. But those moments were rare.

Which is why I give this book one half thumbs down!

The (hilarious and sometimes witty) illustrations throughout the book, on the other hand, get an A++.

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