I see you there, clutching your book. The pink and black text on the cover is visible from here... and so is that forlorn look in your eye. You’re finished, aren’t you? And so you’re looking at your bookshelf, or maybe up at the clouds and wondering, Now what?
Now what, after Lena Dunham’s hilarious, poignant, and honest memoir? Now what, after you’ve turned the last pages of Not That Kind of Girl , and know that it would be impossible to move onto your next book without suffering from the very best kind of book hangover. You need more — more confession, more awkward sexual discovery, more non-conformist feminist battlecry artistry… more, more, more.
Well, luckily, there is more. I have seven awesome memoirs for you to read next. Sure, Dunham's narrative is impossible to duplicate, but there are more crazy awesome geniuses and pioneers and party girls and artists to read about whose stories all hit the same notes as Lena's. And, if you loved Not That Kind of Girl, you will adore these memoirs written by amazing, trailblazing women — some you may know, and some you may be discovering for the first time.
Each delves into her own story with purpose and transparency, and each is precisely that kind of girl you're looking to read about.
PROZAC NATION by Elizabeth Wurtzel
Before there were Millennials, there was Generation X. And there was Elizabeth Wurtzel, one of the first Gen X women to pen a memoir of her battle with depression, discontent, and mental illness — and survive through it to tell her story. Twenty years after its publication, Wurtzel is still writing, and Prozac Nation is still totally relevant.
FUN HOME by Alison Bechdel
You probably know Alison Bechdel from her eponymous cultural litmus test for feminist autonomy in movies, but did you know that she is also an author, cartoonist, activist and recent winner of the prestigious MacArthur Foundation Genius Award? There’s no better way to get to know her art than through her searingly honest coming of age graphic memoir.
DRUNK MOM by Jowita Bydlowska
So what happens to a young, beautiful social climber when she has a baby and almost immediately relapses into the alcoholism that she has battled for years? If she’s Canadian journalist Jowita Bydlowska, she writes a heart-breakingly raw account of the experience, where baby and booze are in constant competition for top priority.
CONFESSIONS OF A PRAIRIE BITCH by Alison Arngrim
The obnoxious simper, the calculated cruelty, those ringlets! Nellie Oleson was your favorite, wasn’t she? If not, she will be after reading this, her account of her years spent playing second-fiddle to that goody two-shoes Laura Ingalls on Little House on the Prairie, and everything leading up to her tireless work once the spotlight was turned off and real life had — finally — to be dealt with.
I'M WITH THE BAND by Pamela Des Barres
The ultimate sex, drugs and rock 'n’ roll tell-all, Pamela Des Barres’ 1987 memoir is still an evergreen pick for anyone interested in knowing about the sexual exploits of some of rock’s notorious players (and players) — all from the point of view of the world’s most prolific groupie.
LOVE IS A MIX TAPE by Rob Sheffield
OK, so this one isn’t by a woman, but it’s inspired by one, and Rob Sheffield’s love letter to his deceased wife, Renee, is full of anecdotes that are as touching, witty, absurd and profanely human as any Lena Dunham/Hannah Horvath sketch.
IT'S ALWAYS SOMETHING by Gilda Radner
The pioneering funny woman may be best known for her stint on Saturday Night Live, and the iconic comedian made what she did look easy. But what you didn’t see were the battles — to earn her seat at the comedic table, to prove that beauty was not the only yardstick with which to measure a woman’s worth, and finally, with the cancer that could not break her indomitable sense of humor.