Take Lena Dunham’s (Expensive) Advice

There’s a letter in the first few pages of Psychotic Reactions and Carburetor Dung, supposedly written by the author of the collection, Lester Bangs, from heaven. Bangs tells his friend, the critic Dave Marsh, how he thinks they made a mistake and let him into heaven where Jim Croce and Karen Carpenter are the big acts. Bangs talks about how he keeps applying to get into hell, but they think he was too good hearted. He then goes on to tell Marsh, “Take it from me, Dave. Heaven was Detroit, Michigan. Who woulda thunk it?”

The reason I’m talking about Bangs below a picture of Lena Dunham is because that quote about Detroit being heaven is how I sometimes feel about living in Brooklyn circa the last decade. I sit around and kvetch about parents almost killing me as they jog down the street with their strollers that resemble small SUVs, and grimace every single time I read another “Hipsters of Brooklyn” piece from some blog or newspaper. But the thing is, I love this place with all my heart and know that one day I might not live here and I’ll look out the window and say “Man, Brooklyn was heaven…”

How does Dunham play into all of this? For starters, with all the talk of great writers, bands, visual artists and just about everything else under the sun coming out of my beloved borough, I feel as if Dunham’s Girls does the best job of grasping what it’s like to live in this era of gentrified Brooklyn, and one day will be recognized as one of the works that best tells the story of the here and now (here being Brooklyn, now obviously being 2012-ish). While I love so many writers from Brooklyn, not many around Dunham’s age are writing books or stories that use their current location as a setting.  But Dunham does. She’s writing, acting and oftentimes directing a show about the Brooklyn she knows, and doing a really fine job.

Now the news comes that Dunham is looking for a million dollar advance for a book that Slate describes as one that’s “collectively presented as an advice book,” and tentatively titled, ” Not That Kind of Girl: Advice by Lena Dunham.” She’s shown her writing chops over at Rookie and The New Yorker, and Dunham has that rare ability that Nora Ephron mastered where she’s able to present New Yorkers and all their annoying New York qualities without alienating folks throughout the other 49 states. Seeing more of what she has to offer on paper is something that those of us who appreciate her work should be looking forward to.

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