Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? (And Other Concerns) by Mindy Kaling
Mindy Kaling, notable as an actress and writer on the shows The Office and The Mindy Project has authored a comedic memoir as well. Wait, if you don’t watch those shows, please don’t leave – it probably won’t dictate how you feel about the book.
Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? (And Other Concerns) is a series-of-essays-style book, a quick read, and a refreshing, laugh-out-loud, awkward story of a girl that may feel familiar, but also relatable.
Written as though she is telling each story to a friend over coffee (or drinks) Mindy is funny, down-to-earth, and self-aware to a level that it is almost awkward for everyone involved. She seems so very down-to-earth, you almost feel like if you were just a little braver, a little funnier, and a little bit less aware of social expectations you could be on TV too. A rare balance of almost tween-girl femininity and good-old-boy confidence is hard to find. Mindy somehow pulls it off.
Along the way, she chronicles her story of making it in Hollywood. You at first get the feeling it was a journey of sharing inside jokes with famous people, long sushi lunches, and splurging on impractical boutique clothing. Probably because that is what you want to envision, since it is so much easier to think you just didn’t draw the lucky ticket… not that you’re too busy watching reality TV and consuming Sonic fries to follow your dreams. By the end of the book, it settles into your brain that this person worked years of 14 hour days, had to constantly put herself out there and look ridiculous in front of people, and picked up some friends, fashion tips, and solidly funny stories along the way. Mindy but has a drive that pushes her past the limitations most of us are stopped by.
Each story feels like an effortless practice in Mindy being true to herself, and that her success in relationships and work depends on it. The essays touch on more serious topics such as the important of deep personal friendships, the special relationships built over a lifetime, a work life of competitiveness and respect for mutual interests in your colleagues, and respect for family and heritage. Mindy embraces her immaturity and border-line-flakiness both in this memoir and her show The Mindy Project, and demonstrates along the way that when it comes down to it, she is a hard-worker and a dependable friend. If only the rest of us could balance our weaknesses so evenly… with so much humor.
At the end of this book, you feel like if you ran into her at some restaurant waiting for a table, you would start right where you left off, chatting on an inappropriate comfort-level for a stranger. “Hey, Mindy, have you seen my lip gloss? I thought it was in this bag but I can’t find it… anyway, did you see Grey’s last night? Calizona was A-MAZE-ING…” and she would stare at you like you’re a psycho. Because you see, she would not have just spent hours getting to know you, reading your memoir, sharing in your personal moments. You would just be a creep in a restaurant lobby without any lip gloss. But one who is really excited she just met Mindy Kaling.
So, what books does it compare to? It is unique – let’s not call her the “next” Tina Fey or Nora Ephron. However, if I had to put a framework to it, this book is more Bossypants and less anything by Chelsea Handler. Most likely what you’re looking for is:
- Let’s Pretend This Never Happened: (A Mostly True Memoir) by Jenny Lawson
- Bossypants by Tina Fey
- I Love Everybody (and Other Atrocious Lies): True Tales of a Loudmouth Girl by Laurie Notaro (and a ton of other books, that girl is hilarious… and messed up.)
- At Least in the City Someone Would Hear Me Scream: Misadventures in Search of the Simple Life by Wade Rouse
- Me Talk Pretty One Day by David Sedaris (again, and anything else by that guy)
PS: This is not a sponsored post. All opinions are my own, and I have not received compensation for anything written. Keepin’ it real.