What We Can Expect from Lena Dunham's Upcoming BookSuzanne Jannese
Lena Dunham may be best known for chronicling the lives of 20-something zeitgeist chasing girls, but for her upcoming book cover she’s gone decidedly retro. The Girls star, who was reportedly paid an advance of around $3.7 million, instagrammed a mockup of the cover — which reminds me of books from the ’60s like Valley of the Dolls and The Feminine Mystique.
Not That Kind Of Girl: A Young Woman Tells You What She’s “Learned,“ will be published on October 7th, 2014. So, what can we expect from it?
Well, publisher Random House described the book as “in the tradition of Helen Gurley Brown, David Sedaris, and Nora Ephron,” offering “frank and funny advice on everything from sex to eating to traveling to work.”
Okay, so what exactly does that mean, and is it just a book for 20 somethings? (I you see, am a Dunham fan – but am nowhere near 20 something – more like not even in my 30s something).
According to the proposal, (obtained by The Times) the book will cover the usual topics that fill a 20 somethings life: sex, money, work, travel, fashion etc. One chapter is described as “an account of some radically and hilariously inappropriate ways I have been treated at work/by professionals because of my age and gender.”
I have no doubt that Dunham’s humorous and self-deprecating prose will entertain us wildly, with all her juicy anecdotes, but after a while – if you haven’t got the life experience, of say Caitlin Moran or the intellectual clout of Naomi Wolf, then won’t it get a bit tired?
Durham herself has given us a heads up on what it will have in store, and surprisingly, it will offer up advice from first hand experiences. “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… 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.”
Whilst I appreciate her saving me from veganism – it is something I can cheerful avoid all my myself. So what can this offer me, a Mom of 2, living in the UK? Or am I not the target audience? Thing is – I have been there. Got the wardobe, let alone the T-shirt. Made fashion faux pas (not at The Met Ball granted), fell for the wrong boys, tried the cabbage soup diet (DON’T think about it) and struggled with a career in TV. So Dunham’s advice, I can pass on. What else can she give me?
Dunham says she will not be shying away from getting personal either; she intends to be completely honest: “This book contains stories about wonderful nights with terrible boys, and terrible days with wonderful friends. It’s about ambition, and the two existential crises I had before the age of 20.”As the queen of over-sharing, I am delighted that Dunham has stepped up and joined in with lots of TMI’s. But anyone who has two crises before they are 20 and come from her privileged background, please!
I first watched Girls last year and was riveted. Why? Because it was so graphically, horrifically honest. It wasn’t dressed up in fancy Manolo shoes and everyone earning enough to live in Manhattan apartments even though they were on waitress wages. It felt REAL. Dunham showed the cruelty of bad boyfriends, the angst of discovering who you are – all in her rather unflattering big knickers. And not much else. She showed off her curves with abandon, which in the Hollywood age of toned thighs and flat stomachs and lollipop heads, was all rather new and exciting. Dunham is brave and bold. Here was a heroine to champion. But will the much hyped book deliver or merely be ‘more of the same?’
One thing I appreciate, is that Dunham makes no apologies: “No, I am not a sex-pert, 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, and sending hopeful dispatches from the front lines of that struggle.”In an interview with the UK’s Observer, Dunham revealed how much she enjoyed writing her book and how it will feature, “Essays about my life thus far, mixed with some cultural commentary about the current state of womanhood… I hope people read it without constantly thinking of my breasts…”
So advice, I can pass over. Self -discovery, been there done that. But one thing Dunham offers that I can’t get enough of – is her wonderful perspective on life. In Girls Dunham delivered something new (I took to my own blog when the ep aired where she had a lost weekend with a hot Doctor played by Patrick Wilson and the media were up in arms – viciously saying Dunham’s character Hannah had pulled way out of her league). She spoke up for the every woman and poked fun at the naval-gazing 20 something. So whatever she brings to this book, may it be as unique as her show. Now that, that is something I cannot wait to get my hands on.
Photo Credit: Instagram