When I first received Mindy Kaling’s ‘Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me’ I was very excited. After all, Kaling is pretty much TV’s latest ‘It gir’l so I was excited to see what she was all about. And I really wanted to like her book, I really did. The truth is though, that I’m not a fan of the humour book and even less a fan of memoir’s. I still have Tina Fey’s ‘Bossypants‘ sitting half completed on my bookshelf, and I abandoned Jenny Lawson’s book ‘ Let’s Pretend This Never Happened: (A Mostly True Memoir) ‘ after the first chapter, even though both books had me rolling with laughter from the beginning. And those were two author’s that I genuinely liked and cared about. I guess I still haven’t figured out why I need to care about Mindy Kaling so much that I want to read her memoir.
I am not an ardent watcher of ‘The Office‘ so my knowledge of Mindy Kaling was limited, but it seemed that once I received the book she was everywhere. Her new show, ‘The Mindy Project‘ premiered this season, she made a cameo appearance at the opening of The Emmy Awards and she seems to be battling Lena Dunham as the new, cool girl to know in Hollywood, so I was eager to begin the book to find out more about who exactly Mindy Kaling was and why exactly I should care that she’s written a book.
What I found when I started reading was that Kaling is really funny. Her memoir is a humorous look at her life growing up as the nerdy, slightly chubby girl who loved watching television more than anything, but who took her studies very seriously. Throughout the book she tells us various stories of growing up with her parents and brother, her lack of athletic abilities, and her love of television. She tells stories about the exchange student in high school who mortified her by shaming her publicly about her weight (she talks about her weight a lot) and how the lifeguard at the local pool almost killed her by making her jump off the high diving board. Still though, I didn’t really care.
When I did start caring was when she finally started writing about her work on The Office and how she and her friend and college roomate Brenda were essentially discovered after writing a play titled Matt & Ben (yes, about that Matt and Ben). This I liked – this I found interesting! What I didn’t care so much about was Kaling’s stories about one night stands and Jewish guys. Sure, she’s funny, but I still know enough about Mindy Kaling to really care about her thoughts on the subject. Tina Fey was a comedy legend before she wrote a book and I still had a hard time getting through her book.
If you’re a fan of The Office and a fan of Mindy Kaling you will probably love ‘Is Everybody Hanging Out Without Me?‘, but unfortunately I am neither. I found the book to enjoyable in parts and oddly self indulgent in others and aside from the chapters when she talks about how she actually came to start writing for The Office or her experience interning at The Conan O’Brien Show I was uninterested. At the beginning of the book Kaling says that ‘This book will take you two days to read. Did you even see the cover? It’s mostly pink. If you’re reading this book every night for months, something is not right.” Well, it didn’t take me months, but it did take me a solid two weeks to read the book.
I’m still not sure why I need to care so much about Mindy Kaling.