Not That Kind of Girl, due out in September, recounts years of therapy and 'fear of life in general'
Dunham's memoir, Not That Kind of Girl, reportedly netted its author a $3.5m (£2.1m) advance. Out in September, it comes garlanded with endorsements from the likes of Judy Blume ("Always funny, sometimes wrenching") and David Sedaris ("a fine, subversive book").
"If I can take what I've learned in this life and make one treacherous relationship or degrading job easier for you, perhaps even prevent you from becoming temporarily vegan, then every misstep of mine will have been worthwhile," Dunham writes on her website about the book.
Published by the New Yorker this week, the extract sees Dunham write of how as a child she was "afraid of everything", with "the list of things that keep me up at night" including but "not limited to: appendicitis, typhoid, leprosy, unclean meat, foods I haven't seen emerge from their packaging, foods my mother hasn't tasted first so that if we die we die together, homeless people, headaches, rape, kidnapping, milk, the subway, sleep".
Therapy ensues. "The germophobia morphs into hypochondria morphs into sexual anxiety morphs into the pain and angst that accompany entry into middle school. Over time, Lisa and I develop a shorthand for things I'm too embarrassed to say: 'masturbation' becomes 'M', 'sexuality' becomes 'ooality', and my crushes become 'him'," writes Dunham.
"The work we're doing together helps, but even three mornings a week isn't enough to stop the terrible thoughts, the fear of sleep and of life in general. Sometimes, to manage the images that come unbidden, I force myself to picture my parents copulating in intricate patterns, summoning the image in sets of eight, for so long that looking at them makes me nauseated."
The extract was published as the Southbank Centre announced that Dunham would be appearing as part of its autumn live literature programme in October. The event, which will see Dunham in conversation with Caitlin Moran, will be the Girls actor, director and writer's only UK appearance, and she will, said the Southbank Centre, be discussing "men, fashion, health and the two existential crises she had before the age of 20" with Moran.
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