Surprisingly well-written. Quite funny. Quite cringe-y, if you're into that. There's something refreshing about Dunham's unflinching honesty.
There seSurprisingly well-written. Quite funny. Quite cringe-y, if you're into that. There's something refreshing about Dunham's unflinching honesty.
There seems to be two clear schools of thought on Lena Dunham: either she's a brave young artist, a true original...or she's an entitled egomaniac, annoying and irrelevant.
I was in the egomaniac camp. Lena Dunham, I thought, is a chronic oversharer. She's the kind of celebrity (and I'm sure she does this even more in her personal life) who puts it all out there: the dream she had, a weird freckle she noticed, her belly flab. She repulsed me a little, to be honest. But I read this book and I changed my mind. Dunham has a great way with irony. She is clearly self-focused but it becomes endearing because she spares nothing; she is not trying to curate some airbrushed image of herself. And that's the thing: it seems Dunham rejects any kind of airbrushing, any kind of editing. So sure, yes, she's a self-centered Millennial who has been privileged enough to have the sorts of problems that some people can only dream about, but problems are relative. Our daily pains and problems don't not matter, but they're not the only things we should care about. There is a certain kind of bravery, I think, to what Dunham shares. She insists she has a story to tell and then she goes and tells it. Is it always worth telling? Maybe not. But I think it's sort of admirable anyway.
I read this and watched Tiny Furniture later that night and boy did I feel like I knew her. And liked her. Like a wonderfully imperfect, beautifully and brutally honest friend.
"Not That Kind of Girl" offers the delicious sensation of reading someone else's journal. So far, Dunham's art (this book, Girls, Tiny Furniture) seems to come entirely from her own experiences. Hopefully she will mature and learn to look a little further, become more interested in the rest of the world. But for now, she does what she does really well. She captures a distinct point in time as relates to her age group, social class...her work is how it feels to be 22. And I am 22. When I watched Tiny Furniture, about a girl adrift, back home after graduating from college, I nearly cried with relief. It's a particular kind of struggle, I am in the middle of it right now, and Dunham gets it.
The book is imperfect, funny, and charming. Much like Lena herself?...more
This book has been criticized for Quindlen's use of stock characters. While I can certainly admit their presence here, honestly I think she pulls it oThis book has been criticized for Quindlen's use of stock characters. While I can certainly admit their presence here, honestly I think she pulls it off.
This isn't another novel of social climbing and name dropping: the story could have revolved around Meghan, the most-lauded TV morning show host of the decade, successful and beautiful, but is actually the story of Bridget, her sister. Bridget tags along to the galas and dinners but she is wry and a bit cynical concerning matters of fame, and she's well-aware that she has long been in her older sister's spotlight. Besides, she has no time for the often-petty concerns of the NYC upper class: she's a social worker in one of the roughest parts of the city. Still, the sisters (despite approaching middle age) strongly depend on each other, and when things go seriously wrong for Meghan, Bridget is there to take care of her as best she can.
Quindlen writes strong, vivid characters who are a pleasure to get to know. "Rise and Shine" is a good story, strongly written. One weakness in my eyes, though, is some of the plot points. Everything comes together in the way it needs to to advance the story, but I'm not always buying it. Also, now that I think about it, I'm not sure that the book is especially memorable. An entertaining read, for sure, but perhaps uninspiring. ...more
Incredibly dry. I have really enjoyed Shriver's novels up to now–I've read The Post-Birthday World and Big Brother–and have loved them for the thoughtIncredibly dry. I have really enjoyed Shriver's novels up to now–I've read The Post-Birthday World and Big Brother–and have loved them for the thought-provoking questions they raise, their quirky experimentation, and the way Shriver uses language. The Mandibles was different, like a hefty economics lesson buried in the framework of a story...cool effort, but it didn't work. Ten statistic-studded monologues in and I had to give it up. Too much to read, too little time to struggle with this. ...more
Funny and sad and unapologetically frank. I have found graphic novels to be raw and true, often more honest than the average memoir. Chast's story aboFunny and sad and unapologetically frank. I have found graphic novels to be raw and true, often more honest than the average memoir. Chast's story about the decline and death of her elderly parents is unexpectedly enjoyable, and has come back to me in bursts all week. Uncomfortable as it is, I think it's healthy to think about difficult things–like aging–while young. Reading this book might be a good way to do that. ...more
Exceedingly dull, with a faceless narrator I cared little for. Contains some worthy themes and interesting questions, but the prose (and the pacing) iExceedingly dull, with a faceless narrator I cared little for. Contains some worthy themes and interesting questions, but the prose (and the pacing) is stark and tiresome. ...more