- Written and narrated by: Lena Dunham
- Published By: Random House Audio, September 30, 2014
- Length: 6 hours 10 minutes
- Source: Purchased
For readers or listeners of Nora Ephron, Tina Fey, and David Sedaris, this hilarious, poignant, and extremely frank collection of personal essays confirms Lena Dunham – the acclaimed creator, producer, and star of HBO’s Girls – as one of the brightest and most original writers working today.
“If I can take what I’ve learned in this life and make one treacherous relationship or degrading job easier for you, perhaps even prevent you from becoming temporarily vegan, then every misstep of mine will have been worthwhile. This book contains stories about wonderful nights with terrible boys and terrible days with wonderful friends, about ambition and the two existential crises I had before the age of twenty. About fashion and its many discontents. About publicly sharing your body, having to prove yourself in a meeting full of fifty-year-old men, and the health fears (tinnitus, lamp dust, infertility) that keep me up at night. I’m already predicting my future shame at thinking I had anything to offer you with this book, but also my future glory in having stopped you from trying an expensive juice cleanse or having the kind of sexual encounter where you keep your sneakers on. No, I am not a sexpert, a psychologist, or a registered dietician. I am not a married mother of three or the owner of a successful hosiery franchise. But I am a girl with a keen interest in self-actualization, sending hopeful dispatches from the front lines of that struggle.” (audible)
I decided to give this one a listen because I’m fascinated with Lena Dunham and her rise to fame. I’ve watched her HBO series Girls a few times, and seen Lena on a few talk shows. She seems witty and fun.
This book is very much as Lena herself appears in her show and in person, it’s open and honest and there is a fair amount of sex thrown in. The sex is frank, and not written for shock value as much as an honest portrayal of sex in her life. I was surprised to read of her actual lack of sex at a young age and more of a pursuit of that closeness she wanted with a boy/man. She honest about her own exploration of her body, masturbation isn’t new, she’s just telling the truth as she explains how she did it and what she finally experienced and how it impacted her life.
The book begins by discussing her life in college, and some discussion of her teen years. Lena seemed a bit unfocused in her academic adventures, but finally lands where she fits in best. She tells of lots of friends both girls and guys. Her obsession with food and her weight also take up a good portion of the book. This was sort of sad, but our culture is so driven by outer appearance. I think she’s overcome many hurdles.
The section of her book that has received the most attention and criticism is when she discusses her childhood. First I must say that Lena was always an extremely bright and curious child. She asked deep and insightful questions very young as she shares with us. Like many young children after she has a sibling she’s more curious about babies and her body. Her mother chose to speak in real terms and not give childlike nicknames to her body parts. When Lena asked about eggs and a uterus and a vagina it’s also natural to want to see those parts. Yes she looked in her little sister’s diaper. Yes she discovered her sister had put pebbles or small rocks from the gravel drive in her vagina. I have no idea how many or to what expect but this doesn’t shock me. Kids, even toddlers put things in orifices. I’ve know kids to put things deep in their nose or ear, I’m not sure the vagina or the outside of it is that different. No I don’t think Lena abuses her sister. Her family read and approved the book before it went to publication.
In summary I did enjoy the audio of this book. The author has a quick and light pace in her narration and it made for a good driving and working around the house companion. I found Lena to be an intelligent and indeed quirky person. If you’re curious about her or are a fan of her work then yes definitely pick the book or audiobook up. Recommend.