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. Mindy Kaling really is just a Girl Next Door—not so much literally anywhere in the continental United States, but definitely if you live in India or Sri Lanka.
"There are many teenage vampire books you could have purchased instead. I'm grateful you made this choice.”
I first knew of Mindy Kaling when I started watching The Office. I immediately loved her character: the superficial, vain, and kind of stereotypically arrogant airhead. Her character was a side character, and yet I always enjoyed every time she appeared on screen. Later on I found out Mindy was actually a writer on the show. Then, I got to see more of Mindy’s work in her brand new show The Mindy Project, which she stars in, directs, and writes for. Needless to say, it’s an amazing show and you should get on it if you haven’t.
I’ve read other celebrity non-fiction comedy books before (Bossypants by Tina Fey and Seriously… I’m Kidding by Ellen Degeneres) so I was already accustomed to the sometimes non-linear way to tell a story. What I wasn’t ready for was the immediate submersion into comedy, and my laughing out loud so quickly into the story.
Mindy Kaling’s audiobook narration is spot on (because duh, it’s her book) and I was so captivated by her voice. I felt like we were sitting in a coffee shop together and she was actually talking to me about her life. Her voice would totally bring you into a story about her childhood, and then totally shock you or make you laugh uncontrollably at something that had happened.
Mindy has lots of incredible essays throughout her entire book. She talks about body positivity and image, typical stereotypes in most romantic comedies (which is really one of my favorite essays, and I’ve read it more than once), dating in this modern time, and she also gives us lots of stories about her family and childhood.
She’s definitely a very down-to-earth celebrity if I’m going to be basing myself on her book. I loved hearing all her awkward stories, just as much as I loved listening to her successes in comedy. She never came off as snobby (in fact, more than once she turns self-deprecating), and I really enjoyed learning more about her.
The only downside to the audiobook is that there’s a whole chapter dedicated to photographs, so once I finished the audio I immediately had to borrow the physical copy to look at the pictures.
Overall, this is a hilarious book that I thought I would not like. I am really pleased with Mindy Kaling’s narration and writing, and will definitely have to try her second book. If you already loved Mindy, you’ll love her even more, and if you didn’t know who she was, you’ll also love her (because duh, she’s amazing).
“There is no sunrise so beautiful that it is worth waking me up to see it.”
“Teenage girls, please don’t worry about being super popular in high school, or being the best actress in high school, or the best athlete. Not only do people not care about any of that the second you graduate, but when you get older, if you reference your successes in high school too much, it actually makes you look kind of pitiful, like some babbling old Tennessee Williams character with nothing else going on in her current life. What I’ve noticed is that almost no one who was a big star in high school is also big star later in life. For us overlooked kids, it’s so wonderfully fair.”
“All women love Colin Firth: Mr. Darcy, Mark Darcy, George VI—at this point he could play the Craigslist Killer and people would be like, 'Oh my God, the Craigslist Killer has the most boyish smile!”
“If someone called me chubby, it would no longer be something that kept me up late at night. Being called fat is not like being called stupid or unfunny, which is the worst thing you could ever say to me."