Even though this is just a book proposal (I read it through Gawker.com before it was pulled), I feel it’s necessary to post a review of it.
Overall, Lena Dunham is a unique storyteller, but her proposal is a disappointing read, even as a draft, since she is renowned for her ability as a writer. The deal she signed was for an astronomical amount of money ($3.5 million). I have read stories that are far more deserving of just being published (not to mention, gaining this level of attention) .
[I should preface this review by saying that when I was younger, I dreamed of being a writer. Writing was always an area I never struggled in, in school. Then, I did an editorial internship for a music magazine where I wrote blogs and reviews constantly. I ran out of words to use to describe music on a regular basis. It was a constant stream of writing and I began to hate it. But, I am fond of other people’s writing and absolutely love reading. ]
This proposal, of course reads like an episode of Girls (or in the vein of Tiny Furniture, both are pretty similar). It would have been nice to read something a bit different, to get some variety from her. Instead, we learn more about Dunham, how her life was shaped, experiences, adventures, etc.
Her honesty in her writing is commendable. Many people rewrite their pasts in biographies, so they look better, but it’s clear that she is not rewriting her past. She is unabashed in her depiction of herself.
However, her proposal is like having a lengthy conversation with a spoiled rich kid. She’s not a bad person, but is completely self-absorbed. This book is supposed to be chock-full of situations other girls can learn from, but I walked away from this feeling like I learned nothing. It is very hard to relate with Lena Dunham, even though on the surface, our lives are similar (white-looking women, same age, college-educated with a dorm experience, have supportive artistic parents, raised in big cities, feminists). This is not good considering I am her book’s prime demographic.
One of her major downfalls is that you cannot completely immerse yourself into her stories. As a reader, it does not feel like you can visualize her situations. There are holes. She frequently references her friends and people she knows in a way that makes you feel like an outsider. I never felt like she was including me the reader in her conversation.
Her stories definitely need to be more fleshed out and have a broader appeal. Hopefully since this is just a proposal, this will happen.
More than anything, Lena Dunham is a talented comedienne. She is able to write about herself, while being brutally truthful, and poke fun at how ridiculous her thought process is at times.