If you were to ask me, ‘what got you through Cuba?’ I’d answer ‘Andrew and Lena Dunham’s memoir.’ To me, Not that kind of Girl was the perfect beach read (especially while I was sick).
My perspective is a little more forgiving than Meagan’s, and it’s definitely okay to disagree overall. That’s what our book club for two discussions are for! To discuss.
Sidenote: I’m a huge fan of GIRLS too, and this may make me biased.
I think that overall Lena was really brave throughout each chapter. She talks about her vagina, being raped, her sexcapades, OCD and anxiety problems. I admired her as she exposed herself in an honest way for the majority of the book, and was able to laugh at herself while reflecting.
There were a lot of things that I couldn’t relate too. It was strange to me, though, being born in the 80s like Lena – you’d think I would catch on to her social, cultural and entertainment references, but I just didn’t get it sometimes.
Without giving anything away, the beginning was the most funny. Somehow it got less funny as I continued to read. Lena’s sarcasm was appreciated though, and her truthful remarks did open my eyes to some life lessons I might have missed during my early 20’s.
Lena is a voice of our (female) generation, and being a big fan of GIRLS I found it hard to separate my suspended disbelief from the TV series and the book. Her protagonist Hannah sounds a lot like her in the novel. Scenes that stood out in GIRLS would mix with my interpretation of Lena’s real-life experiences and exaggerated life events in Not that kind of Girl.
I wasn’t necessarily shocked about Lena looking into her sister’s vagina when she was young. Maybe I’m desensitized from GIRLS, but it seemed like a natural and harmless exploration. Here, Lena found rocks and her mom came to remove them from her sister’s private area. Apparently, this was a controversial scene?
The timing of when I read this memoir counts for something too. I was suffering from a lot of anxiety on our trip (Varadero, Cuba) because I had gotten severely ill from something I ate or the drinking water. Knowing that someone else suffers from anxiety and panic attacks really helped me stay calm and live day by day. Reading on the beach is also something I love to do, and I was glad this memoir suit my needs.
I know Meagan referred to herself as NOT marking up her book and highlighting quotes, but I did. I’m going to leave you with a little something,
“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.”
– Lena Dunham