Lena Dunham’s “A Box of Puppies” published in The New Yorker

REVIEW of: “A Box of Puppies: Lifelong Canine Cravings” by Lena Dunham, featured in the March 25, 2013 New Yorker. (Read the full article here.)

Lamby, Dunham’s dog, is a mutt who came from a rescue shelter in Brooklyn. Newyorker.com, Photograph by Robin Schwartz.

Lena Dunham has been a darling of the press lately, and her newest installment is an article in “The New Yorker” about her dog, Lamby.The piece reads more like a personal essay, which is undoubtedly Dunham’s forte, but it seems out of place in a magazine. Nevertheless she is successful; you actually want to keep reading.

In her candid style, Dunham narrates readers through her wonky childhood obsession with dogs and her journey to get one of her own. As a misfit, she felt the need for a companion, leading her to ride in some man’s sketchy van to rescue newborn pit bull puppies from a cardboard box. (Spoiler alert: she didn’t get to keep them.)

Continuing through her adolescence, we learn that Lena finally does get a family dog, but it became more of her mother’s pet than her own. Flash-forward to the present, and Lamby, her new rescue mutt, enters the picture. This portion of the article made me smile. Any dog owner can relate to the growing pains of a new furry friend entering the family, from dealing with significant others who are allergic, to “siren” barking and even having the dog follow you around constantly, as it does not like to be alone, which Dunham details.

My one caveat with the article was the ending; Dunham gets artsy and it is annoying. I enjoyed reading her canine life story and hearing about her trials and tribulations with Lamby, but why go and ruin the whole article with a dumb, dramatic ending? So cliché; I’m over it. The finale of her piece reads as follows:

“‘I’m not going anywhere,’ I tell Lamby. He wakes up only one more time in the night, with a single bark that trails into silence. I kiss his little mouth, his ears that smell like corn chips and old water. ‘Sh-h-h . . . I love you. I love you. I love you so much.’ There is no one to call for help. We don’t need any help. He is mine, and I am old enough to have him. We are all adults here.”

Despite the ending, Dunham’s piece in The New Yorker is an enjoyable and fun read. Be sure to check it out here, or in the magazine’s March 25, 2013 issue.

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Lena Dunham in Rolling Stone Magazine

REVIEW of: “Girl on Top: How Lena Dunham Turned a Life of Anxiety, Bad Sex and Countless Psychiatric Meds into the Funniest Show on TV” by Brian Hiatt. (Read an excerpt of the article here.)

Dunham on the cover of this month’s Rolling Stone.

Lena Dunham (writer, director and star of “Girls”) is the cover girl of this month’s issue of “Rolling Stone Magazine.” The article (by Brian Hiatt) accompanying the cover was beautifully written, delving into Dunham’s childhood, personal life and deep connection with the show. Dunham’s authenticity and honesty struck me; she did not hold anything back in this interview, even discussing her personal struggles and psychiatric medications. While this may seem like an overshare, reading about her background helps you to better understand “Girls” as a viewer. It’s not just a witty television show, but one intimately based on her life.

As a child Dunham suffered from horrible OCD and anxiety, explaining some of Hannah’s phobias and preoccupations on the show (like her fear of what “gets up around the sides of condoms” in episode 2 and her feelings of discomfort towards sex throughout the series). In the article, Dunham explains that the character Shoshanna represents her as a child. “Shoshanna is the part of me that was terrified of sex and felt a little bit left out of the group,” she said in the interview with Hiatt.

Towards the end of the article, Dunham confronts the criticism she has received from “the show’s frequent depiction of sex as awkward and demeaning.” As I have pointed out in past reviews, this aspect of the show is raw, realistic and painful to watch, but necessary.

In the article, writer Brian Hiatt is spot on about this too. He comments that while this aspect may appear “awkward and demeaning” at first, “a closer look, however, suggests that Hannah clearly gets off on being degraded (though not to the point of being peed on)—and that her relationship with [Adam works] because he’s into doing the degrading.”

 Like everything else in “Girls,” this portion of the plot comes from Dunham’s personal experiences—“I had to watch out for it more in my younger days,” she said. “I also think I always have had an attraction to depicting degradation that I still haven’t worked out.”

Dunham is a work in progress and an inspiration–“following her dreams, one mistake at a time,” just like the characters on her award-winning television show.