Dear Lena: An open letter

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I feel sorry that you did not write a mind-blowing autobiography. There was not a single sentence in your book, Not that kind of Girl, where I truly laughed out loud. The irony being that, only if this entire book was fiction, I would have laughed hard at the pathetic protagonist and her sorry life. 

Mostly, I feel sorry for kids like you, that are just old enough to be older siblings of the touch screen generation. You probably never had many meaningful face-to-face conversations in your life for you to realize that most of the readers of your book must have had WTF expressions on our faces while reading.  

When I had started watching Girls on HBO, I started at the beginning of the first season and was determined to catch up to the most latest episode to see what the big deal was about and what makes Lena Dunham so popular.  And boy, was I hooked?! 

The portrayal of the struggles of modern women with love, joblessness, jealousy, and the dichotomy of life in New York and the vulnerability of their characterizations, their mistakes and their loses made the series very endearing to me. 

What I realized then was that you are an artistic story teller. A woman who is ballsy at telling a story. As a matter of fact, you have changed the way I write, allowing me to incorporate vulnerability, kindness and the power to evoke empathy with my characters. I have started to look at my body and have a lot of respect for it after seeing your self confidence in your own skin.  

Also, some of your words inspire me a lot.  “You know you are in a best relationship when you are yourself and not trying hard to change.”

And when asked about if you have decided to get married, you had said, “I personally can’t marry until everyone irrespective of their sexual orientation can marry.”  

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So, to begin with, I had high expectations with the book. I was hoping to read about a woman who has come of age and conquered the world with her spell.  Don’t get me wrong. There are similarities between Girls and your book. Both are ballsy.  But, in a totally different way.  

The book turned out to be a very poor sequence of events – a directorial debacle of scripting and editing. What I felt in the aftermath is that you have not put in as much thought into it as I would in taking a selfie.  To top this,  what you have to offer is a truly troubled characterization of yourself. You simply come of as unstable, inglorious, out-of-touch, narcissistic, stupid and an underachiever incapable of doing anything on a daily basis let alone solve world problems – making the success of Girls seem totally unworthy.  An utter insult to women around the world who adore you.  And, that frustrates me.  

“I am an unreliable narrator.” This is what you say at about the 20 percent mark. That is where I stopped listening to the book in an orderly flow. After that, I skipped a lot around chapters, ultimately never finishing the book.  

If  “Love and Sex” was meant to be a hook to pull me into your book as chapter ONE, I am sorry to disappoint you. You took lessons in creative writing to write this?? The book is similarly littered with many memories of sexual arousal, an imagery of a sexual experience by comparing it with a loofah sliding into a mason jar, and 18 unlikely things you would say flirtatiously and something about a platonic bed sharing with a guy friend while you are invading your own insides.  

Growing up, your existential distress issues were having a meagre spread of off-brand Keds and ripped negligees. Or how you gave bl*w jobs unconditionally or how the better part of your childhood was spent mainly discussing your sleep disorder with your therapist. Or which art gallery you would have to go to next. You say that no one has to share their bed with their siblings unless they are poor.  But, on the same note, you are proud of realizing that  your upbringing has not been so real – with real day to day problems.  

When you said you want to teach us how to avoid the same missteps you made in life, I was not hoping for a lesson on how to avoid belittling  myself into having menial sex where I have to keep my sneakers on to run away midway.  Or get a lesson on how to completely avoid the expensive juice cleanses, because they don’t work. 

Lena, if I were writing a book about myself, I would try to give a decent line for my dad or just leave him be. But, you talk about your dad and his job like you’re super cool and hip for the rest of us who have dads to understand. And that stuff in the book sounds atrocious to the most liberal of your fans.  The result is that, now,  I not only loathe you, but hate your entire family.  

There are many parts of the book, I would rather not touch or discuss. Because, they are just too sad and unnecessarily explicit.  

Having said that, I am not interested in your motives behind portraying so much nudity in your work on Girls. Shock value sells and I am sure you are a masterful businesswoman on top of everything you do.  

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Lena, you wrote an autobiography. That simply means that you get to be yourself. No tedious research involved.  

Imagine all the research that must have gone into writing the book  “Bringing up the bodies” by Hilary Mantel. She must have had to read about so many characters including HENRY VIII and his long list of lovers.  

Turning tables, just for gags, tell me how you would react if my autobiography was filled with details like, I am constipated for 2 or 3 days in a week; OR, I am freaked out I will have an STD one day?!  

Awkward and annoyed, right? 

That is how I feel when you tell me details like “I ruptured my hymen while rescuing a cat and jumping off a wall”.  There, you are making a few of us in the Women’s liberation movement blush a deep red. 

I also don’t know why I am worried about YOU wasting YOUR potential, because who the hell cares about what happens to others. Right?  But, my frustration seems to be multi-fold. As a mom, the time I have for myself is limited and sporadic. So, to spend hours I don’t have reading Not that kind of Girl is one such annoyance.  Also, the book makes me wonder if I have been a  closet pervert with untreated mental issues for following Girls so closely and “understanding the artistic brilliance” behind it so fervently. 

Lena, I just wish you are not the unpretty, unspecial and unformed girl you show yourself to be via the book! 

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