US actress Lena Dunham gets naked, this time in print

On her hit television show "Girls," Lena Dunham gets naked -- often, and without any hint of self-consciousness.

AFP| Updated: Oct 02, 2014, 02:15 AM IST

New York: On her hit television show "Girls," Lena Dunham gets naked -- often, and without any hint of self-consciousness.

Now, the 28-year-old American actress and screenwriter is baring her soul in her first book, exposing her innermost secrets with the same humor and candor that have brought her awards and critical acclaim.

A unique voice in the sterilized glitz of Hollywood who commands cult status for her independence, Dunham is lifting the lid on intimate details of her life, neatly packaged into illustrated life lessons.

The person she reveals in "Not That Kind of Girl" -- which came out Tuesday and for which she got a $3.5 million advance -- is not dissimilar to her "Girls" character Hannah: self-obsessed, funny and depressed.

The TV series, which she writes and in which she also stars, dwells on the lives and loves of twenty-something women in Brooklyn -- a grittier, less romantic "Sex In The City" for the 21st century.

First aired on HBO in April 2012, the show has enjoyed phenomenal success, winning Dunham two Golden Globes for best actress and best TV series, and earning a clutch of other award nominations.

Exuberant, strong, vulnerable and 100 percent herself, she has been compared to legendary film director Woody Allen and called a spokeswoman for the insecurity of her generation.

Dunham is certainly one of the few women to stick her neck above the parapet of polished sameness marketed on the US screen.

Her plump, tattooed body and her eccentric clothes clash with the Hollywood norm.

On "Girls," she almost gleefully exposes her physical imperfections for all to see.

The daughter of artists and privately educated in Brooklyn, Dunham writes in "Not That Kind of Girl" with a precise and caustic voice about losing her virginity, childhood insomnia, how she slept with her parents until she was 12, her neuroses and dysfunctional relationships.

She details the menus of her diets, the therapists she has consulted since she was nine, her diagnosis with obsessive compulsive disorder at 11 and how she started to take medication at 14.

As in the TV series, fantasy and romance are conspicuously absent.In the first season of "Girls," Hannah bluntly tells her parents that she is the voice of her generation. But in the book, Dunham is slightly more modest.

"If I could take what I`ve learned 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," she writes.

The platinum blonde -- at least for now -- feminist willingly engages in self-mockery and quotes Flaubert`s Madame Bovary, Andy Warhol and American writer Joan Didion.

She has dedicated the book to the late American novelist and scriptwriter Nora Ephron, to whom she was close.

Dunham tells stories of less-than-enjoyable sexual encounters and explains that she has always been interested in nudity, which she describes as "more sociological than sexual."

She criticizes the way love scenes are depicted on screen, saying: "between porno and studio romantic comedies, we get the message loud and clear that we are all doing it all wrong."

She details the contents of her handbag, the 15 things she learned from her mother, the 17 things she learned from her father, what not to say to friends and talks about death.

New York Times literary critic Michiko Kakutani hailed what she called a "smart, funny book" from Dunham.

"By simply telling her own story in all its specificity and sometimes embarrassing detail, (Dunham) has written a book that`s as acute and heartfelt as it is funny."

Others have been less nice, recalling her expensive education, and criticizing her for not talking about her success, which fascinates as well as irritates some Americans.

But at only 28, Dunham doesn`t care. Once her book tour is over, the fourth season of "Girls" begins on HBO in January.