‘Adulting’ Author Kelly Williams Brown’s Open Letters to the Girls of ‘Girls’ on How to Grow Up

This week, the hilarious Kelly Williams Brown of Adulting publishes her first book, Adulting: How to Become a Grown-up in 468 Easy(ish) Steps, a witty and wise instruction manual for getting it together at — let’s not lie — pretty much any age. To put her skills to the test, we asked Brown to give a little advice to the women in our lives that are most in need of it — the characters of Girls, of course. After the jump, find Brown’s open letters (she’s careful to note, “These letters would be unspeakably rude, if these people weren’t, um, fictional”) to Hannah, Marnie, Shoshanna, and Jessa.


Dear Marnie,

Leave poor Charlie alone.

Everyone understands why you are not happy with the way things have turned out. You are pretty and smart and have thin upper arms and wealthy parents. These things smooth out a lot of bumps in the first 22 years of a lady’s life. Now, it’s complicated and hard and there are lots and lots of people who want to be in same the tiny, cruel world that you do.

But Charlie? He is neither the source of this problem nor the solution to it. He’s just a kind guy that you have too much ugly history with to ever really make it work.

Aside from Shoshanna, you are the closest to happiness. You know what you want even if you don’t want to admit it out loud. Marnie, if you feel like a rich banker will make you happy, go for it. A life of wealth where you didn’t have to worry about paying the bills but still could do things you find stimulating and glamorous sounds perfect for you. Just… just don’t let anyone lock you in a weird Duncan Sheik-playing tower ever again, OK? “Non-consensual” and “Duncan Sheik” need to be mutually exclusive concepts for all of us to feel safe.

Anyway. Back to your prospective banker. We all want things that we find shameful. The important calculus, though, is whether it makes you happy, not what Hannah thinks of it.

In the meantime, there are meaningful jobs out there that you will be great at. It probably won’t be in the art world, but then again, it won’t involve hot pants either. Go for that middle path, Marnie.