5 Things We Learned from Lena Dunham’s Book Excerpt

08.25.14 4 years ago

Lena Dunham is basically peerless in the world of television writing. She's a twentysomething New Yorker who gets to play a version of herself on an acclaimed series, and she also happens to write and direct that series. It's a one-of-a-kind scenario, and she's just the kind of person whose book you want to read.

The New Yorker” has an excerpt of Dunham's new memoir (which reportedly earned her a hefty advance), and it's an entitled “Difficult Girl.” The childhood story touches on her relationships with therapists and her therapists' relatives. Here are five important things we learned from it.

1. Not only was Dunham terrified of disease at age 8, but she was aware of every known disease/virus/germ on the planet.

How does an 8-year-old know what a MRSA is? No telling, really, but Lena Dunham sure knew.

“I'm eight, and I am afraid of everything. The list of things that keep me up at night includes but is not limited to: appendicitis, typhoid, leprosy, unclean meat, foods I haven”t seen emerge from their packaging, foods my mother hasn”t tasted first so that if we die we die together, homeless people, headaches, rape, kidnapping, milk, the subway, sleep.

An assistant teacher comes to school with a cold sore. I am convinced he”s infected with MRSA, a skin-eating staph infection. I wait for my own flesh to erode. I stop touching my shoelaces (too filthy) or hugging adults outside my family.”

2. As a 9-year-old, she had strange desires.

“After a long period of observation, she asks me to share my three greatest wishes.

'A river, where I can be alone,' I tell her, impressed with my poeticism.

From this answer, she will know that I am not like other nine-year-olds.

'And what else?' she asks.

'That”s all.'”

3. She was so afraid of discussing certain concepts that she developed codewords for them.

“Over time, Lisa and I develop a shorthand for things I”m too embarrassed to say: 'masturbation' becomes 'M,' 'sexuality' becomes 'ooality,' and my crushes become 'him.' I don”t like the term 'gray area,' as in 'the gray area between being scared and aroused,' so Lisa coins 'the pink area.'”

4. The things she hates are pretty damn funny.

“[Her therapist's daughter Audrey] and I bond immediately, more over what we hate than what we love. We both hate lox. We both hate boys in cargo pants. We”re both sick of kids from Long Island saying they”re from New York.”

5. She's had a rocky relationship with her mother.

Sigh. Moms! 

I call my mother. 'I love you,' I say. 'You”re my mother, and I need you, but in a different way from before. Please let us change, together.'

'That”s f*cking bullshit,' she says. I can tell she”s in a store.”

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