It’s become somewhat fashionable to dogpile on Lena Dunham, but she always seemed like the dark side of Jennifer Lawrence to me – quirky, outspoken, maybe a wee bit too invested in being both those things and not quite invested enough in self reflection despite all the self involvement – and to be frank, I assumed that much of the backlash was from having that attitude without being Hollywood-pretty. (I mean she IS gorgeous, but she’s not a size zero, and for a female celebrity that seems to be one of the only ways to be defined as beautiful.) She’s said some dumb stuff, but it’s the cost of being outspoken. I am too cheap for HBO to check out Girls, so I bought this with the expectation I’d find interesting social or cultural commentary from someone my age. Something Lindy West-ish. I wanted to like it.
I found myself hating this book at the same time I couldn’t put it down because Dunham is so mind bogglingly self absorbed that she seems to think every observation is a pearl of wisdom. I like Lorde, but in each one of her songs there’s a line that makes me roll my eyes and think “shut up, you’re like twelve;” this book is like that NON STOP. Dunham is REALLY eager to show you what that big word means, and for fuck’s sake, you’re not a teenager so that shit isn’t charming. This reads like a precocious teen edited her Live Journal (or whatever the modern equivalent is) into a book. She literally includes multiple pages of a food diary. I don’t even care that much about things I’VE eaten, and I got to taste them. Talking about what you’ve eaten is right up there with dreams in the “solely interesting to you” category and it takes up pages in this book. This is so navel-gazing that I’m pretty sure Dunham has created a Lena-ouroboros terminating in her stomach. Which is great, maybe she can see what she had for lunch. There’s multiple email and text conversations in the book that made me want to scream “get off my lawn,” and we are essentially the same age. Relating an anecdote about a taxi driver hitting a woman hard enough that her teeth got knocked out and the only thing you could say was “it’s my birthday” is why people hate millennials.
In short, to paraphrase from the equally sage Adam Sandler: Ms Dunham, your book is one of the most insanely idiotic things I have ever read. At no point in your rambling, incoherent tome were you even close to anything that could be considered a rational thought. Everyone who so much as skimmed it is now dumber for having read it. I award you no stars, and may God have mercy on your soul.