Monday, December 12, 2011

Book review: Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me?

I read a lot. Here's a review of a book I read recently, Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? by Mindy Kaling. You can read other reviews and see the official description here. (and while you're there, add me as a friend! aestrusz)

I’m not really sure why I picked up this book. I saw on twitter that Mindy Kaling (Kelly Kapoor/writer of The Office) was promoting a book. I immediately put it on hold at the library.

I think one of the reasons was the title. I mean, who hasn’t though that before? (Confession: previously I hadn’t realized anyone else did wonder if everyone else was hanging out without them.) I had just read Tina Fey’s Bossypants over the summer and enjoyed that a lot. I knew Mindy from The Office. (Although you definitely do not have to be an Office fan to enjoy the book.)

So I went into the book with pretty much no expectations and absolutely loved it. I can’t recommend it enough. The structure of the book is a modge-podge: Some chapters are written as full-fledged stories from Mindy’s past, some are lists, and some are just her thoughts on different topics, like celebrity roasts.

Mindy is humble without being fake. She doesn’t glaze over potentially embarrassing moments, like the awkwardness of her guest-writing stint on SNL or her terrible interviews.

I mean, just look at the back cover:

That is not someone afraid to tell of their modest beginnings.

The stories Mindy tells range from hilarious to heartfelt. She discusses serious issues but maintains the tricky balance between too-serious and too-funny. I laughed out loud a lot, and related to Mindy more than I expected to. She talks about job searching, a process I was in for months and hated. She talks about body image. She talks about what has made her cry. She’s a real human person and isn’t afraid to show it.

Some of my favorite moments:
  • Mindy trying to understand one-night stands and defending those of us who are just not interested.
  • Mindy’s description of the women in romantic comedies that just don’t exist in real life, including The Klutz, The Ethereal Weirdo, The Woman Who Is Obsessed With Her Career And Is No Fun At All, etc.
  • Pretty much every chapter title and caption: I Love New York and It Likes Me Okay, My older brother Vijay, and me, interrupted as I was plotting to eat him (caption), Non-Traumatic Things That Have Made Me Cry

Most of all, I loved that there were so many parts of the book that spoke to me personally, and I’m guessing to a lot of her readers. Like the chapter Best Friend Rights and Responsibilities, where almost every rule made me think of one of my friends. When she talks about being a chubby kid and chubby adult. Her chapter about marriage is everything I want my relationship to be.

I loved this book. I guess that’s all I really have to say.

Are any of you reading anything fun?

1 comment:

Margaret Hart said...

Thumbs up, great reveiw. Makes me want to read it.


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