Not That Kind Of Girl: A Young Woman Tells You What She's Learned

Not That Kind Of Girl: A Young Woman Tells You What She's Learned

Hardcover | September 30, 2014

byLena Dunham

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From the acclaimed creator, producer, and star of HBO’s Girls comes a hilarious, wise, and fiercely candid collection of personal essays that establishes Lena Dunham as one of the most original young talents writing today.
            In Not That Kind of Girl, Dunham illuminates the experiences that are part of making one’s way in the world: falling in love, feeling alone, being ten pounds overweight despite eating only health food, having to prove yourself in a room full of men twice your age, finding true love, and, most of all, having the guts to believe that your story is one that deserves to be told.
            “Take My Virginity (No, Really, Take It)” is the account of Dunham’s first time, and how her expectations of sex didn’t quite live up to the actual event (“No floodgate had been opened, no vault of true womanhood unlocked”); “Girls & Jerks” explores her former attraction to less-than-nice guys—guys who had perfected the “dynamic of disrespect” she found so intriguing; “Is This Even Real?” is a meditation on her lifelong obsession with death and dying—what she called her “genetically predestined morbidity.” And in “I Didn’t Fuck Them, but They Yelled at Me,” she imagines the tell-all she will write when she is eighty and past caring, able to reflect honestly on the sexism and condescension she has encountered in Hollywood, where women are “treated like the paper thingies that protect glasses in hotel bathrooms—necessary but infinitely disposable.”
            Exuberant, moving, and keenly observed, Not That Kind of Girl is a series of dispatches from the frontlines of the struggle that is growing up. “I’m already predicting my future shame at thinking I had anything to offer you,” Dunham writes. “But if I can 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 will have been worthwhile.”

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Not That Kind Of Girl: A Young Woman Tells You What She's Learned

Hardcover | September 30, 2014
Ships within 1-2 weeks Available in stores
$26.98 online $32.00 (save 15%)

From the Publisher

From the acclaimed creator, producer, and star of HBO’s Girls comes a hilarious, wise, and fiercely candid collection of personal essays that establishes Lena Dunham as one of the most original young talents writing today.              In Not That Kind of Girl, Dunham illuminates the experiences that are part of making one’s way in the...

Lena Dunham is the creator of the critically acclaimed HBO series Girls, for which she also serves as executive producer, writer, and director. She has been nominated for eight Emmy awards and has won two Golden Globes, including Best Actress, for her work on Girls. She was the first woman to win the Directors Guild of America award fo...

other books by Lena Dunham

Not That Kind Of Girl: A Young Woman Tells You What She's Learned
Not That Kind Of Girl: A Young Woman Tells You What She...

Audio Book (CD)|Sep 30 2014

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Not that kind of girl
Not that kind of girl

Paperback|Nov 9 2015


see all books by Lena Dunham
Format:HardcoverDimensions:288 pages, 8.53 × 5.79 × 1.14 inPublished:September 30, 2014Publisher:Doubleday CanadaLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0385680678

ISBN - 13:9780385680677

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Rated 4 out of 5 by from LOVE LOVE LOVE Lena! Where to start with this amazing book. After seeing so many posts on Instagram from the fellow book bloggers I follow, I decided I needed to head right out and grab this. A lot of people wrote about how they could relate to this, how funny it was, and how it was a must need for any fan of Lena Dunham. I had watched half a season of girls, and I loved it so much. Knowing Lena had created, written, directed and starred in it, and knowing how much criticism she was receiving as a woman in the spotlight, I needed to dive into this right away! Not That Kind of Girl - A Young Woman Tells You What She's "Learned" is in the top 3 of my favorite books for this year. Filled with Lists, Emails, essays, this book gives you a look into what it's like to fall in love, being overweight ( Even when you're trying to lose weight ) and learning about yourself. Dealing with all the confusion and awkwardness of going from a child, to a teen to an adult. With amazing chapter names such as, 'Take My Virginity (No Really, Take It)', and 'Platonic Bed Sharing: A Great Idea (for People Who Hate Themselves)', I knew the moment I saw them that this book was going to be one that would make me laugh, regardless of if I liked it or not. This book is filled with advice, hilarious stories, and writings that get you thinking about how you do things in life. From her sister being a lesbian, sexual health, to being date raped, this book hits some spots in life that women (and men) can relate to. Lena puts her humor and personality into her writing, all of it coming through very clearly. I often found myself laughing while reading, not only because it was funny, but because my first thought after reading it was, 'This is how I feel/felt when I went through this exact same thing.' Sometimes in life, it's hard to find someone you relate to, and when you do it's the greatest thing ever. It's not often a female writer completely lets out how they feel, no matter how silly or odd it may seem. Lena shares her fears and worries she had as a child, and doesn't care what other people will think when they read it. That is what being honest is all about when writing. Being 100% upfront and real is something that doesn't always happen these days. If you're a fan of 'Girls' and Lena Dunham, I highly recommend reading this book. Lena may not be everyones cup of tea, but I couldn't put this book down. I finished it in a day! I do hope she keeps writing, and I look forward to her next steps in her career, which I will be watching!
Date published: 2016-01-02
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Pleasantly surprised Lena reveals herself in a way most people wouldn't dare to do. I find her book bold while at the same time refreshingly funny. At times I felt like she understood my exact stance and feelings towards writing and life. Well done.
Date published: 2015-10-25
Rated 1 out of 5 by from Boring It was soooo boring! I thought it would be a light funny copilation of stories and lessons that one could take away! Instead it's just a boring copilation of weird sex life! I didn't need to read how many people she's spooned with, just not a good read
Date published: 2015-08-18
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Compelling read Wasn't a super fan of Lena before reading this and I'm still not, but I really enjoyed this read. She is blunt, open, and honest. She talks about the things people only talk about in their heads. Her voice shines through which I love when reading a memoir.
Date published: 2015-05-25
Rated 4 out of 5 by from I really enjoyed this book I bought this book after Christmas day and finished it within a couple days by the tree. I enjoyed her candidness and humour. It's an easy read, nothing too fabulous, but a good story for young woman to read who are trying to find their path in life. Shows us we aren't alone.
Date published: 2015-04-26
Rated 1 out of 5 by from Vulgar and Inappropriate A poorly written book containing reflections from Dunham that many have considered criminal. In addition, the content of the book is very uninteresting.
Date published: 2015-02-10
Rated 5 out of 5 by from honest and inspiring. I never thought I was a fan of Lena Dunham outside of her HBO show "Girls" but this book has changed my perception of Dunham in truly positive way. She is incredibly honest, thoughtful and hilarious throughout this book while diving into real problems like love, rape, and females in a male dominated industry. she is relatable in many aspects. This book was a delight.
Date published: 2015-01-15
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Excruciatingly honest I know very little about Lena Dunham. I have never seen her act or even an interview with her so I went into this completely blind. She is certainly very honest but also kind of pretentious. This book had some very funny moments but also long passages that were extremely boring. The chapter where she reads her food diary and the calorie counts of each item was not at all interesting to me. There were many points where I found my attention drifting. I finished the book with the feeling that I am not nearly as weird as I thought and my most embarrassing moments do not even rate on the scale of mortification. I cringed at so many of her stories but I do admire her openness and bravery in laying it all out there.
Date published: 2015-01-01
Rated 3 out of 5 by from A good read An easy read. Entertaining and endearing. As a twenty something, there are many similarities to my own life. I recommend it to those looking to escape for a bit. Don't expect any profound life lessons.
Date published: 2014-12-31
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Loved it! I thoroughly appreciated curling up in my chair with a cup of tea and reading this book - which I just didn't want to put down and took a couple days to read. Her truth and honesty is very refreshing to read. Overall a very enjoyable read.
Date published: 2014-12-07
Rated 5 out of 5 by from I absolutely adored this book! I am so happy that I chose to purchase this book.Reading it made me feel less alone in this world.
Date published: 2014-11-27
Rated 1 out of 5 by from boring did not meet expectations This book was very lame and poorly written, overall rather boring read. I did not find it funny as I expected it to be.
Date published: 2014-11-27
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Poor editing She’s so candid and honest, speaking openly about her mental state and her past sexual assaults. It’s nice to read someone else’s thoughts and insecurities and how she’s worked at overcoming them. We all deal with similar, if not the same, thoughts as her, so it’s always comforting to know we’re not alone in them. While it's disconnected and poorly edited, if you can look past that, it's not hard to read.
Date published: 2014-11-14
Rated 2 out of 5 by from Edit edit edit I am a Lena fan, but this book just didn't do it for me. She really could have used an editor. I think the book was rushed, and her editorial team maybe a bit afraid to "censor" her - although repeating vagina over and over again isn't simply controversial, it's bad writing. The categorization of the essays is at times nonsensical (10 reasons to love New York appears under friendship) and makes the themes feel repetitive rather than cohesive. I look forward to her next book, where we can hear a bit more about her career and less about her privileged childhood - hopefully after it has seen a proper edit.
Date published: 2014-11-03
Rated 2 out of 5 by from I don't believe that I am the only one that didn't enjoy this book I thought the chapters on the contents of her purse and her food diary were a waste of time to read. What was the point of this? To fill space because Lena is too young to have lived enough to write her memoirs? Whatever the reason maybe, I feel she was trying to get the page count up. Yes I like "Girls" and "Tiny Furniture", but this was not Lena's best work. Maybe it's the fact that she is too young to be writing her memoirs, who knows. I just didn't find the book that interesting.
Date published: 2014-10-31
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Easy Read This is an easy read that is fun at times, dark at times, but throughout reminded me of instances in my life that highlighted how we all share the human experience. If you like ruminating on the way your life felt at different points and imagining how that has shaped you (and are a twenty something female who enjoyed Girls), this book will hold your hand while you go back in time. I really appreciated the glimpses into her new life where she seems to have hit her stride, implying that while life's struggles will always be present, it's possible to get in the pocket and breath easier.
Date published: 2014-10-27
Rated 2 out of 5 by from Meh. I really found this book exactly like her Girls storyline, which I actually really enjoy. But she's been so steadfast in saying that it doesn't reflect her as a person that I actually was surprised how many life lines tied to her show. I get it, you draw art from what you live but I was really hoping for something different, even if that's not fair. I like her in interviews but I wasn't really impressed with her story. Impressed with how hard she's worked but less impressed with her life story. Impressed that she kept such good records of her childhood, but that's a writer for you I suppose.
Date published: 2014-10-15
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Lena Dunham is, as always, my fave. I cried when I finished reading this book. My only wish is that there were a thousand more pages if it.
Date published: 2014-10-13
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Wow! I absolutely love this book. Dunham reveals a lot about herself and I've gained a whole new level of respect for her. She is brave and I finished this book feeling as if I understand her a little better. Some of the stories cause a little bit of discomfort but that's sort of how life works. Not everything in life is going to be pleasant. It's thought provoking at times and extremely funny. She lets the reader into her mind and it's a beautiful thing. I liked Dunham before but that was nothing compared to how I feel about her now. She's simply amazing.
Date published: 2014-10-11
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Loved it! How could I not? The voice of our generation!
Date published: 2014-10-03

Extra Content

Editorial Reviews

A New York Times Bestseller#1 National BestsellerA Globe and Mail Best Book of 2014 “Dunham has become a sort of cover girl for millennial women, but I think pretty much everyone could be well-served by reading these essays. . . . you’ll see how intelligently she approaches topics like creating art, and dating, and mental health. Dunham is incredibly skilled at describing the seemingly mundane details of life—there are passages in the book that literally took my breath away with their observational powers.” ―Huffington Post Canada   "There's something so familiar and honest about [Lena Dunham's] writing. It's as if your best friend is casually telling you about her successes and her failures and what makes her tick. . . . She's able to make us feel a bit less crazy for being authentic. . . . So run, don't walk, to pick up Not That Kind of Girl.” —InStyle Magazine“Dunham’s memoir serves up laugh-out-loud one-liners and quippy snippets of wisdom gleaned from parents, friends and personal experience (e.g., the least pleasant way to disengage from water skies).” —Richmond News (British Columbia)   “[One of] the best . . . memoirs of 2014. . . . Dunham’s book tackles life issues every woman can relate to, and includes everything from her first sexual experience to her obsession with death.” —Business Insider   “[Dunham] is a talented writer. Her stories are beautifully crafted, and her voice is very much her own, with acute and sometimes laugh-out-loud-funny observations about the world she lives in.” —Highbrow Magazine   “I can safely say I have never read, watched or listened to anything that resonated with me as a young woman the way Lena Dunham’s Not That Kind of Girl did.” ―Women’s Agenda (Australia)   “[Not that Kind of Girl] is enlightening, especially if you want to get inside the reality of being a clever, extremely open, well-to-do miss coming of age in downtown Manhattan. . . . this precocious undisputed talent is known for pushing the envelope.” —Sarah-Kate Lynch, author of The Wedding Bees“Precocious yet clumsy, outspoken and inappropriate at times, young and relatable. . . .  Dunham is divulging thoughts, feelings, and encounters shared by many young people today. . . . Not That Kind of Girl feels like a collective experience in many ways.” —Georgia Straight  “In an era where twenty-something women are told how to think, where to work, who to date, and what to wear, it's refreshing that a voice has broken the mold to empower women to do one thing--be yourself, flaws and all. In Not That Kind of Girl, Lena Dunham takes readers on a voyage of self-discovery as she successfully navigates the often-perilous facets of womanhood, from dating and friendships to self-love and careers. Through her series of essays, Dunham shares what she's learned on her path to self-awareness with a refreshing candor and raw honesty that emboldens readers. Her painfully-relatable stories of graduating from one-night stands with toxic men and dead-end jobs with no purpose, to loving relationships and a fulfilling career will leave you laughing, cringing, and sighing ‘me too.’” —Huffington Post  “Hilarious, sweet, raw and surprising. . . . It’s Dunham’s knack for the absurd that consistently and delightfully transforms these raw portrayals from coming-of-age stories into history.”—Sydney Morning Herald“An uncompromising storyteller, one who isn't afraid to get real even if that makes other people uncomfortable. . . .  The best books are the ones that feel like friends. Not That Kind of Girl is that kind of book.” —Winnipeg Free Press  “Wunderkind Lena Dunham proved she's no slouch as a writer.” —USA Today  “[Dunham] shares so much of herself on her show that it's easy to assume you know her personally. . . . This honest and emotional collection of essays will make you once again feel like maybe you really are best friends. It'll also make you cry.” —Cosmopolitan “Dunham’s writing is beautiful and vulgar. . . . [Her] strength lies in essays that find a bridge between the personal and the universal. . . . Stunning.” —Toronto Star  “Brilliant.”—Huffington Post   “Dunham’s essays demonstrate her wonderfully flawed, quite romantic humanity. With unfiltered frankness, poetic exposition and great humour she tells us what she’s learnt and the mistakes she made. . . . Dunham is with a little subtlety placing herself in the canon of modern feminism. And she’s right to do so.” —The Times (UK) “Having a young, inspiring role model bare all to help other young women to avoid the same pitfalls and teach them that it’s fine to make mistakes can only be a good thing. . . . Not That Kind of Girl is funny, empowering and as good a millennial guide for navigating and laughing at your foggy adolescence and murky twenties as there can be: I only wish it had been around earlier.”—The Sunday Times (UK) “It’s as funny, filthy and open as the TV show that made her a household name. . . . What is most appealing about Dunham and her book [is] not just her honesty, but her nonjudgmental attitude.” —The Sunday Times (UK) “Eloquent and often hilarious.” —Toronto Star“We are comforted, we are charmed, we leave more empowered than we came. . . . Lena Dunham is passionate, talented, hardworking. . . . A force to be reckoned with.” —NPR Books  “Dunham has a knack for minute observations and wanton exaggerations about everyday experience and a breezy-yet-droll delivery that could easily be compared to David Sedaris or Jon Ronson. . . . This book is funny. Not woman-funny. Not man-funny. Human-funny. And really, as we stumble through life trying to make sense of ourselves and each other, all with our metaphorical skirts tucked into our metaphorical tights, that’s all we could ask.” —Esquire “Raw and devastatingly real. It’s hard not to wish for more of those stories . . . ones that tell us more about how she became someone singular; a young woman whose work and words have put her at the center of a major pop culture conversation.” —Entertainment Weekly “Girls viewers have seen all sides of the show’s creator and star, Lena Dunham. Or so they think. While the actress’s life experiences have always informed her work, here she trades character Hannah’s voice for her own more self-aware voice. But fans needn’t fret: as they’d expect, this collection of essays—part memoir, part advice tome—is candid and humorous. And it’s heartfelt, too.” —Hello! Canada“The sharp observation and distinctive voice she honed in Girls and in her 2010 movie, Tiny Furniture, are translated to the page. . . . She is, by turns, acerbic and vulnerable; self-absorbed and searching; boldly in your face and painfully anxious. . . . The gifted Ms. Dunham not only writes with observant precision, but also brings a measure of perspective, nostalgia and an older person’s sort of wisdom to her portrait of her (not all that much) younger self and her world. . . . By simply telling her own story in all its specificity and sometimes embarrassing detail, she has written a book that’s as acute and heartfelt as it is funny.” — Michiko Kakutani, The New York Times  “Very funny, occasionally painful and frequently inspires snorts of oh-no-she-didn’t disbelief. Unlike the television show, there is no thin veil of fiction here, there is none of the ‘privilege checking’ that a hit sitcom demands. This is Dunham’s life, from childhood to now. . . .  It is honest to the point of making you squirm, often admiringly. . . .  It’s like Judy Blume but with rough sex and prescription drugs.” —The Independent (UK) “A lovely, touching, surprisingly sentimental portrait of a woman who, despite repeatedly baring her body and soul to audiences, remains a bit of an enigma: A young woman, who sets the agenda, defies classification and seems utterly at home in her own skin. . . . Her power is in her willingness to carve a path not yet taken.” —Chicago Tribune  “Dunham has crafted warm, intelligent writing that is both deeply personal and engaging. . . . We are forever in search of someone who will speak not only to us but for us. . . . Not That Kind of Girl is from that kind of girl: gutsy, audacious, willing to stand up and shout. And that is why Dunham is not only a voice who deserves to be heard but also one who will inspire other important voices to tell their stories too.” —Roxane Gay, TIME “Dunham tells her readers so much that it seems silly to hope for more. But because this very inviting voice has spilled intimacies on every page, I want her to keep talking.” —The Washington Post  “Dunham opens her memoir by reminding readers of the audacity inherent in believing one’s own story is worth telling—especially if one happens to be a woman—and her commitment to this belief is an invisible footnote on every page of her adroit, funny first book. Dunham . . .  plunges to deep-sea depths of young womanhood with this collection of keenly felt childhood memories and adult ruminations that often seem told expressly to you, the reader she sometimes addresses. . . . But most arresting are her achingly self-aware and mirthful portrayals of the particular and peculiar sadnesses of growing up, the recurring realization that the many milestones one is led to believe will usher in the next step to adulthood with a distinct ‘ping’ rarely make a sound at all until one writes about them.” —Booklist, starred review “[Dunham] has the exceedingly rare ability to be 100 percent herself, 100 percent of the time. . . . This would be a remarkable achievement for anyone, and for someone who is both young and female (conditions that historically have not been the most favorable for marching to the beat of your own drum), the combination of extreme self-reference and extreme lack of vanity feels almost like a supernatural power. . . . Dunham is an extraordinary talent, and her vision . . . is stunningly original.” —Meghan Daum, The New York Times Magazine “A memoir in essays crammed with frightful and delightful detail and Lena-ish quips. It is, says Lena, a sort of guide to getting the best out of life. Reading it is an intense experience—more shocking than I was expecting, sadder and more beautiful—anyway; within a few pages I have become Lena’s nanny, her mum, the older sister she never had but would have loved, and her best sensible friend. I’m charmed, anxious, furious and totally committed. . . . Beautifully written.” —The Guardian (UK) “For people who watch Girls . . .  it may be difficult at first to divorce Hannah’s voice from Dunham’s written one. . . . Like Hannah, Dunham is flip, recklessly goofy, and prone to saying shocking, self-deprecating things about herself in service of a joke. Unlike Hannah, Dunham is wholly in possession of her faculties and well aware of her place in the world. . . . Funny and incisive.” —The Boston Globe “A precociously smart and supple writer. . . . A brilliant talent.” —The Guardian (UK) “Not That Kind Of Girl is about Lena Dunham, and only Lena Dunham. The answer is . . . to stop listening to the people who have the definition of ‘all’ and want to sell it back to us. I prefer the individual approach: here’s one woman telling us, for better or worse, the stories she wants to tell. That’s the kind of girl Lena Dunham is.” —National Post “Very funny. . . . Her lively, precise writing slips the reader easefully into her states of mind. . . .  An exciting novelist.” —The Telegraph (UK) “It's . . . brazen willingness to bare all that drives Dunham's work, and readers of this collection of smart, funny and poignant essays will thank her for it. . . . Every piece bears her original humor, but Dunham digs deeper into her arsenal of personal stories and finds extra courage to reveal some tough life experiences. . . . Although she's become known for exposure (often appearing naked on her show), she makes herself more vulnerable in this book than ever before, conveying deep emotion with poetic grace.” —ABC News “Dunham’s tales of creative origin speak to a generation of young women slouching toward adulthood amid an obliterating sea of possibility, upending our sense of what our bodies should look like, what sex should be like—and what, in an age defined by the funhouse mirror of social media, a woman should aspire to become.” —Vogue “[Dunham] offers tales of her own experiences being overlooked and underloved. If that sounds corny or overly earnest, the essays that compose the book are neither. They're dark, discomforting, and very funny. . . . One of the things she grapples with throughout these essays [is] how we become accepted and loved and popular, without casting aside, or trying to hide, the unloved, unpopular people we once were. In fact, Dunham seems to want to revel in the dark spaces—the terrifying and awkward moments in life—which is pretty great.” —Publishers Weekly“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 apologize like that—she simply tells her story as if it might be interesting. Not That Kind of Girl is hilarious, artful, and staggeringly intimate; I read it shivering with recognition.” —Miranda July “It’s not Lena Dunham’s candor 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  “This book should be required reading for anyone who thinks they understand the experience of being a young woman in our culture. I thought I knew the author rather well, and I found many (not altogether welcome) surprises.” —Carroll Dunham