Blog friends: Some exciting news! In the last couple of month I’ve joined a team of contributing writers for India.com in the US. I really enjoy it and I love that the editors are open to stories of all kinds. It’s a nice way for me to explore different topics and see what fits writing-wise.
Please do me a SOLID and check my pieces here: http://us.india.com/author/sgupta/
In the meantime, here’s my latest published post on Lena Dunham’s book “Not That Kind of Girl”
I must admit, when I first watched HBO’s “GIRLS” back in 2012, I wanted to hate it. I heard about the show’s comparisons to “Sex & the City” and I had to know more about its copycat.
I related to the “GIRLS” characters, but what kept me watching was the writer, producer, director and star of the show, Lena Dunham. My admiration for Dunham’s work lead me to quickly pre-order her first book of essays titled “Not That Kind of Girl: A Young Woman Tells You What She’s Learned.” Released on September 30, the book is a compilation of short story essays on topics ranging from Dunham’s artist parents, sexual escapades and navigating the waters of adulthood.
Dunham, a 28-year-old New York City native, is known for her gifted writing, as well as, her raw no frills sex scenes in “GIRLS.” Her book opens with a similar honesty, detailing losing her virginity and non-consensual unprotected sex, an incident she deems as possible rape.
I questioned her choice to use love, sex and all things in between as her first chapter, it felt heavy and even crude. The essays are divided into five sections: Love & Sex, Body, Friendship, Work and Big Picture. Her personal stories are mixed with Buzzfeed style lists, which capture the thing Dunham does best: Making raw emotion humorous and human.
Stories recounting her years of platonic bed sharing communicate the need for companionship and loneliness everyone experiences at some point in time. Chapters like “Emails I would Send If I Were One Ounce Crazier/Angrier/Braver” and “What’s in My Bag” prove for serious laugh-out-loud moments.
Coming from the same generation as Dunham, I absolutely adored her nod to the pre-internet era. Chat room romances (A/S/L anyone?), outdoor adventures and bunk beds at summer camp, Brooklyn before the hippies and gentrification. It felt like home, familiar and nostalgic.
Dunham shares her life post-college, moving back to New York and taking on a cushy job at a high-end baby-clothing store. The specificity of her work will leave readers marveling at her ability to string words together and make them think, “Did this really happen? What is your life?”
Dunham’s pro-feminist stance is a clear theme, among many, throughout the book. It’s unassuming and dauntless. She writes, “I know when I’m dying, looking back, it will be women that I regret having argued with, women I sought to impress, to understand, was tortured by. Women I wish to see again, to see them smile and laugh and say, It was all as it should have been.” In a recent interview, Dunham talks about how her book wasn’t written for women alone, but for men to enjoy as well, given gender equality is a mans issue too.
“Not That Kind of Girl” may not be for the faint of heart. There is sex talk, boy talk, friend drama and eventually a discussion on finding your own happiness. Dunham holds nothing back when it comes to revealing her most embarrassing moments detailed food logs and her vulnerability, which makes for the best kind of read. Dunham is not shy, that’s for sure, and we all now know she is certainly not that kind of girl.