NY Times Gushes Over Feminist HBO Star Lena Dunham's 'Smart, Funny' Book

September 24th, 2014 4:59 PM

Few people are as beloved by the liberal media as HBO “Girls” creator Lena Dunham, the overpraised, precocious Ronan Farrow of feminism. Wednesday’s Arts section of The New York Times began with a gushing book review by Michiko Kakutani.

The headline was “Hannah’s Self-Aware Alter Ego.” The first line was “Smart, funny women writers love to dispense advice.”

Kakutani places Dunham in with her own cavalcade of feminine greats:

Dorothy Parker: “Take care of the luxuries, and the necessities will take care of themselves.” Nora Ephron: “Never marry a man you wouldn’t want to be divorced from.” Wendy Wasserstein: “Women like us have to learn to give to those who appreciate it instead of to those who expect it.” Tina Fey: “Don’t hire anyone you wouldn’t want to run into in the hallway at 3 in the morning.” And now, Lena Dunham: “Confidence lets you pull anything off, even Tevas with socks.”

Ms. Dunham’s smart, funny new book, “Not That Kind of Girl,” is a kind of memoir disguised as an advice book, or a how-to-book (as in how to navigate the perilous waters of girlhood) in the guise of a series of personal essays. “If I could take what I’ve learned,” she writes in the introduction, “and make one menial job easier for you, or prevent you from having the kind of sex where you feel you must keep your sneakers on in case you want to run away during the act, then every misstep of mine was worthwhile.”

Kakutani writes that Dunham is very much like her own “Girls” character Hannah, but so much wiser:

Her first impulse, like Hannah’s, is to share everything (no matter the “ew” factor), but she also possesses a self-awareness that eludes her fictional alter ego. Ms. Dunham seems to understand that some of her and her friends’ concerns are the sort that young people with fewer options might regard as luxuries — aware that the small planet she and her friends inhabit is both recognizable and New York City-rarefied.

And so, while Hannah, an aspiring author, is constantly putting her foot in her mouth and prattling on about herself, 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.

Back in July, the Times oozed that “Ms. Dunham, who received an advance of more than $3.5 million for the book, incited minor online pandemonium on Tuesday with the announcement of the 11-stop tour,” and mentioned it included a partnership with Planned Parenthood. Getting an abortion is probably not one of Dunham’s “missteps” she wants readers to avoid. It’s a wonderful woman’s “right to choose.”