Largely based on the format of a how-to book she stumbled on at a thrift shop, Dunham’s essays in Not That Kind of Girl offer unexpected wisdom. The most impactful stories delve into what-not-to-dos, rather than to-dos. In an email to a once-boyfriend, Dunham wrote, “I’m sorry not to you, but in a deeper way, sorry for my brain chemistry and who I am.” There is humor in her revelations, but also the tragedy of a girl in all of her ferocity, denying her power.

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