Happy New Year everyone! I wanted to kickstart 2014 with a new pet project and that is my “50 books in a year with accompanying review” project. Very self-explanatory title, I think. So, I thought to begin with the book that I started reading the day after Christmas and just finished roughly 5 hours ago. I don’t usually read that slowly (the book is only 200+ pages) but I wanted to savor the book very much.
Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me (And Other Concerns) by Mindy Kaling (4/5 RATING)
I first heard about the book through a FullyBooked email newsletter (yes, those things are actually helpful!). The reason I wanted to read it was solely based on the fact that it was written by Mindy Kaling. She’s a brilliant writer/actor/comedian/awesome person who I learned about through her show The Mindy Project, though most people might know her from her stint on The Office (US).
I love The Mindy Project. Adore, obsessively watch, follow, like, approve, recommend, all that good stuff. It’s super funny and romantic at the same time. I love it for so many reasons that I won’t list them here because this is a book review and not a show review. You should still go watch it when it airs again!
The book, Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me, is an autobiography of sorts. It regales the readers with Mindy’s experiences growing up as the child of immigrant parents and a struggling writer. No tear-jerking stories here, though, as every short anecdote is filled with the patent Mindy humor. From realizing she loved comedy more than having a clique, to finding herself in college and moving to NYC with her bestfriends, Mindy talks about her funny/awkward/life-changing experiences amidst other “listicles” that make you want to hang out with Ms. Kaling, maybe forever.
I devoured every single page of this book. Not only because it’s a lighthearted, witty and easy read but also because I saw so much of myself in Mindy (and so much of Mindy in me. I hope she doesn’t mind me talking about her like we’re BFFs. I hope she doesn’t mind me wishing for us to become BFFs). I’m not a comedy writer or a child of immigrants, but I feel like I relate to her on almost every level. We’re both a little quirky, a little awkward and a lot just plain confused at a lot of things. I also do Irish exits a lot and contemplate about how my funeral should be arranged.
Aside from our many similarities, I also enjoyed the book because it chronicles how Mindy pursued her passion for comedy and slowly (but surely) made her way to where she wanted to be, not too famous but just famous enough to be important. I found myself exclaiming, “You Go Girl!”, in my head many times throughout the book. She knew what she wanted and she went for it – awkward silences and social norms aside.
One part that I absolutely loved was a brief chapter about how she was treated by stylists. Now that she was somebody, Hollywood was determined to make her fit into the actress mold – a very small one where it’s a requisite that you’re a size zero-one. Mindy was having none of that. She embraced her own body and made Hollywood accept her for who she is, a real woman. Couture gowns made in only sample sizes? Nope, she’s having none of THAT. It’s very uplifting to read about someone like me navigate the waters of the world.
This is a book female teens and twenteens should go and read. Mindy is a role model for ambitious young women who want to carve out a little place in the world for themselves.