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Is Lena Dunham's new advice book really worth a $3.5 million advance?
A massive book deal with Random House has left some critics skeptical about whether fans of HBO's Girls will follow Dunham to the printed page
Lena Dunham, the female anti-hero of the under-30 crowd, will be penning an advice book about everything from friendship to mortality.
Lena Dunham, the female anti-hero of the under-30 crowd, will be penning an advice book about everything from friendship to mortality.
Desiree Navarro/Getty Images
T

he news: Lena Dunham, the creator, writer, and star of HBO's buzzy dramedy Girls, will be paid an advance of more than $3.5 million to write an advice book tentatively titled Not That Kind of Girl: A Young Woman Tells You What She's Learned, according to Julie Bosman at The New York Times:

[Dunham's book] will cover topics like work, friendship, travel, sex, love, and mortality. One chapter is described as "an account of some radically and hilariously inappropriate ways I have been treated at work/by professionals because of my age and gender." [...] Another chapter, titled "Body," reads, "Red lipstick with a sunburn: How to dress for a business meeting and other hard-earned fashion lessons from the size 10 who went to the Met Ball.

The reaction: "Random House is taking a big chance by making such a big bet on an author whose fan base is concentrated in the under-30 demographic," which is "a group not known for its willingness to pay for content of any kind," says Jeff Bercovici at Forbes. And the deal may impact the authenticity of her popular series: "Lena Dunham is going to need new material to ground her HBO show Girls, as she is definitely not just one of the girls anymore," says Niki Cruz at The Inquistr. That's ridiculous, says Rachael Maddux at BuzzFeed: "The backlash against Dunham's success has way, way more to do with America's deep-seated and largely unconscious class disparities and anxieties, not to mention our still-prevailing cultural narratives about What Women Are Allowed To Do." Dunham has proven that she possesses a unique, creative voice, and earned a loyal following. The multimillion-dollar agreement is just more proof that she's the real deal — no matter what skeptics and detractors say.

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