Wednesday, November 7, 2012

“Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? (And Other Concerns)” by Mindy Kaling

Age: Adult
Genre: Memoir, Essays, Humor

I wanted to read this book because I am a fan of the TV show The Office, for which Mindy Kaling writes and in which she plays Kelly Kapoor. I love The Office, so I guessed Mindy must be a funny person and therefore I might enjoy her book. I was right on both counts. Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? is a collection of Kaling’s essays. Some are autobiographical and span from her childhood (“I Am Not an Athlete”) to current day (“The Day I Stopped Eating Cupcakes”), while others are simply her observations on life, such as “Non-Traumatic Things That Have Made Me Cry” and “Revenge Fantasies While Jogging.” After having watched her for years on television, I was most interested in the stories of how she got to be a successful Hollywood writer/actress. I enjoyed reading about her friend Brenda and how they were able to take something they did just to be silly – impersonating Ben Affleck and Matt Damon – and turn it into a hit play. Isn’t that what we all want from life? To become successful thanks to something we just do for fun? Though I don’t think her intention was to inspire writers, Kaling at least inspired one – me. Reading her life story reminded me that if you stay true to who you are and what makes you laugh, you will eventually find someone else who can appreciate your humor and maybe even give you a job. I think this book will mainly appeal to people who are familiar with the author (part of what made it so enjoyable for me was hearing it all in her voice in my head), but it could have a wider audience amongst young women. In a time when people are talking about how surprisingly funny women can be, Mindy Kaling only proves the point that female comedians are here to stay. Though not every essay is a winner, the book overall is a fun read.
Bibliographic Information:
Kaling, Mindy. Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? (And Other Concerns).  New York: Crown Archetype, 2011.

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