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

3.29  ·  Rating details ·  123,588 ratings  ·  8,574 reviews
"There is nothing gutsier to me than a person announcing that their story is one that deserves to be told," writes Lena Dunham, and it certainly takes guts to share the stories that make up her first book, Not That Kind of Girl. These are stories about getting your butt touched by your boss, about friendship and dieting (kind of) and having two existential crises before th ...more
Hardcover, 265 pages
Published 2014 by Random House
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Bart In response to this, Lena has clarified that Barry is not the man in question's real name. Even the first edition of the book stated some named had be…moreIn response to this, Lena has clarified that Barry is not the man in question's real name. Even the first edition of the book stated some named had been changed and, very obviously, it's unreasonable to assume she would have kept the man's actual name in the book, as that brings with it all sorts of legal problems.

So who you should really be blaming are the sad excuses for reporters who harassed a man who had nothing to do with that particular story. They are the ones who are actually responsible.(less)

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Start your review of Not That Kind of Girl: A Young Woman Tells You What She's "Learned"
For someone who has branded herself as “not that kind of girl” by titling her first book Not That Kind of Girl, Lena Dunham is still a very specific kind of girl with a very specific kind of (girl) fan, just not that kind.

Lena Dunham is the kind of girl who can write a sentence that makes you guffaw, “That can’t possibly be true!" and yet you believe it. A sentence like this:
He called me terrible names when I broke up with him for a Puerto Rican named Joe with a tattoo that said mom in Comi
Why do we care? Actual wisdom: none. Humor: meh. Self-involved girl writing about her self-created problems. Got to where she is via luck and privilege. Girl bye.
Aug 13, 2014 added it
Shelves: fiftyfiftyme
I'm not this kind of girl.

I want to love Lena Dunham. I'm going to put aside the whole lack of inclusion of any kind of race or ethnicity in her filmic work, because she doesn't have any friends who fall outside the privileged upper middle class white demographic, so this is what she writes about, and that's sad and sort of symptomatic of a new "hey, i'm cool with people who aren't white, I just don't have any friends who aren't white" racism – but this is who she is and it's been discussed endl
Miranda Reads
Oct 01, 2017 rated it did not like it
Not That Kind of Girl...more like Not My Kind of Book

Honestly, the only thought that (continuously) ran through my head throughout this novel OH THANK GAWD I did not buy this one (#LibraryLove)

The cringe factor on this book was almost too much to bear.

I normally listen to audiobooks out loud but I found myself constantly turning down the volume because the content was so sex heavy that it was honestly embarrassing.

There's her sexual exploits as she blossoms from a girl who wants sex, t
Deborah Markus
If you read the comments on negative reviews here on Goodreads, these are some recurring themes you'll run into:

"You didn't read this whole entire book, so you're not allowed to rate or review it."

"Some reviewers are obviously just looking for an excuse to trash books."

"If you don't like a book, why go on and on about it? Put it down and get on with your life, already. Think about the things you could have done in time you spent writing this review."

"Clearly you're just a very negative person."

Oct 10, 2014 rated it did not like it
So the good news is, Lena Dunham is wrong. She's not the voice of a generation, as her thinly disguised version of herself on her TV show once stated. Nope, she's just the voice of over-indulged narcissists who have been so praised for every shit they've ever taken in life that they no longer smell the stink. Someone needs to let her know that acting like an annoying, precocious child when you're in your late twenties isn't adorable, funny or impressive.

It's too bad, because Dunham has flickers
Oct 28, 2014 rated it did not like it
This book reminded me of that scene in an action movie when an older man performs a stunt, and then he mutters to himself, "I'm getting too old for this sh*t."

I am, indeed, too old to have any patience for this kind of sh*tty, self-indulgent writing.

I had wanted to like this book. I like the idea of having a voice like Lena Dunham in the world, telling a different story of womanhood. And I thought the introduction to this book was good. It had this quote:

"There is nothing gutsier to me than a pe
Just a Girl Fighting Censorship
Oct 05, 2014 rated it did not like it
Shelves: oh-hell-no
"There is nothing gutsier to me than a person announcing that their story is one that deserves to be told,"

Really, cause I think that there's nothing more narcissistic when you are under 30 and are best known for being naked, a lot. Seriously, unless you are Anne Frank you have no business writing about what you've 'learned' sorry but I'd rather have the perspective of someone who has lived a few more decades. I'm a woman and I'm tired of hearing about the female struggle. Sorry, were you sold
Nov 09, 2014 rated it did not like it
Go find the brattiest, most privileged, self-involved, neurotic girlfriend you have - you know, the one you keep around because every once and a while, she's entertaining and because her parents have a great mountain house or drug supply or whatever it is that tickles your fancy - and ask her to talk about her childhood. After 15 minutes, you're bored and yet a little fascinated that someone with so many advantages and so many, many, many years of intensive therapy could suffer from such little ...more
Claire Keating
Oct 29, 2014 rated it it was ok
Yeesh. Snooze. Snooooooooze.

Things I like better than this book:

1. The critically acclaimed TV show Girls
2. Interviews with Lena Dunham
3. The illegally-released proposal for this book
4. The cover of this book
5. Toledo. The typeface.
Barry Pierce
This is a hella biased review because I'll be the first to admit that I think Lena Dunham is the actual genuine second coming of Christ so just discount everything I say because it's wrong. I really, really liked this. Dunham's humour and my humour are practically the same so this entire book was just a big treat for me. While there were some dud essays (there always is), I thought that this is an overall great collection of sporadic ramblings. If you're not a fan of Dunham then you'll probably ...more
Aug 02, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: biography
I mean, I'll preface this review with the fact that I think Lena Dunham is pretty awesome, and (just like Mindy Kaling) I followed her on Twitter for a spell, kind of dying inside for her to notice me and follow me back and make my life. And then maybe we could go to the spa together one day if we became besties!

It didn't happen. So I unfollowed her (and Mindy). Just out of sadness.

I've run into a lot of people who don't like Lena Dunham. If I mention "Girls" at a comic convention, it is quite
Kelly (and the Book Boar)
Find all of my reviews at:

2.5 Stars

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“There is nothing gutsier to me than a person announcing that their story is one that deserves to be told, especially if that person is a woman. As hard as we have worked and as far as we have come, there are still so many forces conspiring to tell women that our concerns are petty, our opinions aren’t needed, that we lack the gravitas necessary for our stories to matter.”

This little book sure stirred up a hornet’s nes
Sep 30, 2014 rated it it was ok
I hate it that I hated this book.

Don't trust narrator. She states it outright herself. Yet, the contradictions in her book were jarring and didn't seem to serve a purpose (e.g. at one point her parents were born in 1960, another they were 36 in 1986; friends in college who became enemies or "never heard from again" re-emerge as besties at the end of the book).

I understand and applaud Dunham's efforts to portray "real sex" and not "hollywood sex" in film and literature, but recounting every hap
Aug 28, 2015 rated it liked it

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

Well that's quite the title. In this book we get a collection of essays based on her life. Essays on all kinds of topics told in her blunt and what some may consider strange way.

She is very open about the experiences she has had. Her essays are varied. No topic is out of bounds from masturbation, sex, falling in love, feeling alone, anxiety and OCD disorders, feeling insecure about her weight, filming naked, trying to prove hers
Sep 30, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: memoir

Dear Lena,

I'm not a huge fan of this term either, but I think I have a girl crush on you. We have everything in common. I am also very sentimental and sometimes sad over my past life as a student, even though the stuff that came after it was better than I was hoping for. I can't remember what life was like before fear became my daily companion. And I only get B.O. in one armpit - the right one - I swear.

Wow, Lena, we are SO alike. Well, maaaaaaaaybe not "SO" alike. I'm a mom of three. And I'm 3
Nov 29, 2014 rated it did not like it
I think the reason I hated this is the same reason why I kind of hate Girls, too: because there's absolutely nothing to like about the person who's telling the story. I don't know if I was more annoyed about Dunham lamenting her charmed childhood or sticking an "honorary queer woman" button on her shirt (god, that irritates the fuck out of me) or crushing a massive anecdote about camp that made no sense in the last twenty-five or so pages. All I know is that I was desperate for this book to end. ...more
Nov 16, 2014 rated it liked it
I always had a soft spot for Girls because I assumed Dunham was being self-aware in her depictions of various Lena-esque characters navigating the horrors of their 20s: feeling sorry for themselves because their parents have vowed to stop paying their monthly $1,500 rents, or working 20 hrs a week doing nothing in coffee shops (but still somehow living in spacious, awesome NY apartments), or walking out of jobs because the coworker they thought was cute turns out to have a girlfriend (but someho ...more
Megan Johnson
Jul 03, 2017 rated it liked it
This book was really not as funny as I thought it would be. It was a little dry. I REALLY like the shows 'Girls' on HBO and that is why I decided to get this book. It is nothing like the show, which I knew that it wouldn't be, but I thought that Lena would be the same in the show and in the book.

My mistake. Not a complete loss, I laughed through some of it and fell asleep through some. The book was written well, so that's always a plus!
Stefan Mesch
"Girls" has a lot of energy. Lena herself seems passionate and smart... but "Not That Kind of Girl" felt like a school assignment, a piece of homework. Not enough urgency. Not enough drive.

There are LOTS of tweet-sized gems in these 300 pages, though, and I want to collage them: Please go read 20 or 30 of these quotes. They encapsulate what's great about Lena (witty! acerbic!). But they also show the bumpiness, flunkiness, hit-and-miss meandering of this book project:

"Not That Kind of Girl"... t
Oct 06, 2014 rated it liked it
It is really hard to review the Lena Dunham book.

I love Girls, and I am consistently impressed by how well Dunham handles herself in interviews and how everyone seems to leave meeting her by whispering "SHE'S SO NICE." But a book? Of essays?? Hmmm.

The good things first: the writing in this book is tight, tight, tight. If the gracious, inclusive publicity weren't enough to show you that the author is really behind this book, the writing will. Unsurprisingly, her turns of phrase are amazing, and
Emily B
Apr 29, 2020 rated it liked it
I knew very little about Lena Dunham before listening to this as an audiobook as she is not as well known here in the U.K.

I love the honesty of this book, it felt like she didn’t hold anything back. Although some parts were less relatable than others, particularly the parts where she is successful.

I much prefer audiobooks when the writer narrates it personally and this was narrated by Lena herself.
Dec 11, 2016 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
i spent an entire class discussing this book, and i never want to talk about it again.
Nov 17, 2014 rated it really liked it
I will be honest when I say that I had no idea who Lena Dunham was when I started reading her book of essays. Whoever is responsible for marketing her book did a standup job because I have seen so much publicity for it that I had to get my hands on it...

First off, I think the whole child molestation bit that is circulating on the internet is just crap. I don't know how anyone can say that a seven-year-old child looking at her sisters who-ha out of curiosity is molestation. I can't speak from exp
Sep 18, 2014 rated it it was ok
Seems like this should have been titled Exactly That Kind of Girl. It reads like the celebrity profile of a young woman who grew up in a privileged position, rich and cared for so much that her parents could afford to send her to a therapist when she was a kid. The author seems preoccupied with herself, without much regard for the outside world. She's under the impression that she is surrounded by people who are untroubled, oblivious to their mortality or their public image. If you watch Girls a ...more
Frieda Vizel
Oct 02, 2014 rated it it was ok
I love Lena Dunham's work on Girls, I admire her ability to push the envelope and I envy her ability to celebrate femininity and articulate such complex ideas. But this book was a disappointment.

The charm of Dunham's work in Girls was in the tragicomic main character of her show, Hannah. Hannah's is the kind of girl that many women are familiar with, only she is crazier than what you see in real life. She is outrageous enough to make all her messes and narcissisms and sexual exploits interesting
Jun 08, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: essays
“When someone shows you how little you mean to them and you keep coming back for more, before you know it, you start to mean less to yourself. You are not made up of compartments, you are one whole person. What gets said to you gets said to all of you. Ditto what gets done.” – Lena D.

Here’s another example of a book I came into contact with at the right time. I was due to read this book when it was first published, but put it off when I heard talk of child molestation and fabrication of even
Dec 07, 2014 rated it did not like it
Jesus Christ.

About 2/3 into the book, during the section where Lena Dunham discusses her therapists, she mentions that her current therapist refuses to answer any questions about herself. Any question Dunham asked would be turned back around in a, "well, what would knowing that do for you?" sort of way. This goes a long way towards explaining why any issue discussed in the book quickly becomes about how that issue directly affects Lena Dunham. This is understandable for a memoir, but she takes i
I was really disappointed by "Not That Kind of Girl". I loved books like "Bossypants", and I enjoy Dunham's HBO show "Girls", so I thought this would be a funny, interesting window into her life, creativity, and success. It ends up Dunham is either exactly like the main character of her show, Hannah Horvath, or she's not really ready to let down the curtain between her persona and her true person. The memoir's writing feels very contrived and studied, and yet at the same time the organization of ...more
Jul 05, 2016 rated it it was amazing
"Life is long, people change, I would never be foolish enough to think otherwise. But no matter what, nothing can ever be as it was. Everything has changed in a way that sounds trite and borderline offensive when recounted over coffee. I can never be who I was." ...more
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Lena Dunham is an American filmmaker and actress. She wrote and directed the independent film Tiny Furniture (2010), and is the creator and star of the HBO series Girls. In 2013, Dunham was named one of Time's most influential people in the world.

On October 8, 2012, Dunham signed a $3.5 million deal with Random House to publish her first book, an essay collection called Not That Kind of Girl: A Yo

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  Here at Goodreads, we've noticed that a funny thing tends to happen when we start talking about audiobooks: The same few titles get...
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“When someone shows you how little you mean to them and you keep coming back for more, before you know it you start to mean less to yourself. You are not made up of compartments! You are one whole person! What gets said to you gets said to all of you, ditto what gets done. Being treated like shit is not an amusing game or a transgressive intellectual experiment. It’s something you accept, condone, and learn to believe you deserve. This is so simple. But I tried so hard to make it complicated.” 206 likes
“You will find,” she says, “that there’s a certain grace to having your heart broken.” 155 likes
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