Monday, July 22, 2019
Read by Mindy Kahling
Published September 2012 by Turtleback Books
Source: audiobook checked out from my local library
Mindy Kaling has lived many lives: the obedient child of immigrant professionals, a timid chubster afraid of her own bike, a Ben Affleck–impersonating Off-Broadway performer and playwright, and, finally, a comedy writer and actress prone to starting fights with her friends and coworkers with the sentence “Can I just say one last thing about this, and then I swear I’ll shut up about it?”
Perhaps you want to know what Mindy thinks makes a great best friend (someone who will fill your prescription in the middle of the night), or what makes a great guy (one who is aware of all elderly people in any room at any time and acts accordingly), or what is the perfect amount of fame (so famous you can never get convicted of murder in a court of law), or how to maintain a trim figure (you will not find that information in these pages). If so, you’ve come to the right book, mostly!
In Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me?, Mindy invites readers on a tour of her life and her unscientific observations on romance, friendship, and Hollywood, with several conveniently placed stopping points for you to run errands and make phone calls.
My Thoughts: Up front let me just be honest that there was very little chance I wouldn’t like this book. I freakin’ love Mindy Kaling. She is funny and smart and self-deprecating but also confident and (did I mention?) funny. This coming from someone who was late to the whole Mindy Kaling party, having never watched an entire episode of The Office. I know, I know, it’s hilarious and I really should just stream the entire series enough times to memorize it (anyway, that’s what my daughter tells me). But I didn’t so I didn’t really know Kaling until I sat down with my daughter one night and watched an episode of The Mindy Project.
But that’s in the unforeseeable future when this book was written and, on occasion, it’s obvious this book was written eight years ago. Like when Kaling refers to Amy Poehler’s great marriage to Will Arnett (they’ve since divorced) or when she suggests that she’d like to do an all-female remake of Ghostbusters (which was made in 2016, although not exactly in the way that Kahling suggested).
Like most collections, this one isn’t all filled with knock-it-out-of-the-park bits and some of the pieces fall flat if you aren’t as familiar with the pop culture Kaling refers to in the piece. Of course, most of that's probably on me since I'm nearly 20 years older than Kaling and almost certainly have never been as in touch with what's "in" as is Kaling.
But most of the book is wonderful – funny, poignant, honest, and often a little bit sad. Life as the daughter of immigrant professionals wasn’t always easy. After all, she points out, what a disappointment she must have been not to have been a Spelling Bee champion given her Indian heritage, thick glasses, and lack of friends. Her stories about getting her career started are hilarious as is her spin on what men need to do so women find them attractive (get a well-fitted pea coat and the right shampoo) and her attraction to men with chest on their hair.
Now I need to go get caught up on The Mindy Project and see if my library has the audiobook copy of Kaling's Why Me?