Lena Dunham surprises fans with new book containing excerpts from her diary

Lena Dunham has published a new book, "Is It Evil Not To Be Sure?"
(Jay L. Clendenin / Los Angeles Times)

For most people, the thought of strangers reading their diary entries from their teenage years would be beyond mortifying. But Lena Dunham is not that kind of girl.

The actress and star of the HBO show “Girls” surprised her fans Tuesday by announcing the release of “Is It Evil Not to Be Sure?” a 56-page chapbook containing excerpts from her journal written in 2005 and 2006, when she was 19.

Like Beyoncé, Dunham dropped her book without warning; the news was first reported by BuzzFeed.

The book was available as a limited-edition, autographed physical book from Dunham, but sold out hours after the announcement.


It’s still available as an e-book, via Amazon, Barnes & Noble and some independent retailers. The book’s Amazon page describes it as “a candid, chaotic, and occasionally poetic snapshot of a young person becoming an adult.”

Dunham told BuzzFeed that she came upon the old journal entries while recovering from surgery. “I was, of course, full of the kind of mortification that is part and parcel with meeting a former version of yourself, a woefully misguided girl desperate to be embraced by even the least exemplary specimens of young American malehood,” she said.

But, Dunham said, she was also proud of herself for recording her thoughts and feelings as a young woman. “I have always believed that women chronicling their own lives, even (or especially) at their most mundane, is a radical act,” she said.

The proceeds from the book will go to Girls Write Now, a New York nonprofit that provides mentors for at-risk female high school students who are interested in writing.

Dunham’s first book, the essay collection “Not That Kind of Girl,” was published in 2014 to critical acclaim, and quickly became a bestseller.