Lena Dunham, creator of the HBO show “Girls,” is releasing a memoir later this month that centers on such subjects as her childhood, time in college, and her rise to fame.
The book proposal for the work, titled “Not That Kind Of Girl” and which will hit bookstores on Sept. 30, leaked online in 2012 on the website Gawker.
The full proposal was taken down, but some quotes from the proposal remained in the original Gawker post. (In speaking about her book, Dunham told the New York Times, “It felt like such a violation to put my unedited work out into the world. As a writer, there is nothing more violating. I would rather walk down the street naked – no surprise – than to have someone read my unedited work.”
Dunham is the creator, star, executive producer, and writer for “Girls,” which will air its fourth season in early 2015, according to TVLine.
She told the New York Times that the book was inspired by Helen Gurley Brown’s “Having It All,” adding in the book itself that “despite [Brown’s] demented theories, which jibe not even a little bit with my own distinctly feminist upbringing, I appreciate the way Helen shares her own embarrassing, acne-ridden history in an attempt to say, Look, happiness and satisfaction can happen to anyone.”
The book so far has received mostly positive reviews, with New York Times critic Michiko Kakutani calling it “smart [and] funny.”
“The sharp observation and distinctive voice she honed in ‘Girls,’ and in her 2010 movie, ‘Tiny Furniture,’ are translated to the page,” Kakutani wrote. “The gifted Ms. Dunham not only writes with observant precision, but also brings a measure of perspective, nostalgia, and an older person’s sort of wisdom to her portrait of her (not all that much) younger self and her world… she has written a book that’s as acute and heartfelt as it is funny.”
And Alice Jones of The Independent wrote that it is "very funny, occasionally painful, and frequently inspires snorts of oh-no-she-didn’t disbelief... not every last detail of a life is worth retelling. At times, the relentless self-analysis becomes exhausting. Of course, no one recognises her self-obsession better than Dunham herself... there is tantalizingly little about the hit show which made her name."
However, Rachel Dry of the Washington Post wrote that “the book takes an advice tone in moments and then seems to forget that there was advice to dispense."
“I wondered if Dunham might use this essay collection to address the main criticism of her TV show, which is that the chronicle of the lives of four young women in New York reflects much too narrow a sliver of the world,” she wrote. “But she doesn’t, so the oblique references stand out even more… Dunham tells her readers so much that it seems silly to hope for more. But because this very inviting voice has spilled intimacies on every page, I want her to keep talking. Just about something different, perhaps even more personal… But by the end of the book, it seemed that the most intimate thing Dunham could actually talk about is her own ambition… But she doesn’t explore that hunger for fame and attention.”