Saturday, 26 July 2014

Mini-view: Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? - Mindy Kaling

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.

Having recently binged on The Mindy Project I couldn't resist picking up Mindy Kaling's book when I saw it on the shelves recently.

I don't normally read celeb autobiographies but having formed an attachment to Mindy after having practically brainwashed myself watching her show I was willing to try something new. Mindy's book isn't really a biography, more a collection of incidents and stories that Mindy feels like sharing.

The first two-thirds of Mindy's book covers her childhood, her discovery of her love of comedy and then her struggle to make it in the big bad world. Covering her slow discovery of self as a teenager to the slow acceptance of her body, Mindy's recollections are entirely relatable and told with just the right amount of wit, charm and self acceptance to avoid that reek of self satisfaction. Her tales of trying to reign herself in and learn as part of a team are a lesson that everyone could do with reading.

The last third is where the book begins to unravel somewhat. Not having much more to discuss, Mindy instead lets us rifle through the selfies on her phone and shares her opinions on chest hair, amongst other things. Whilst I can see how the last section can displease some readers it's so overtly Mindy (because we're best friends now) that I just loved it.

Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? is more a collection of essays and recollections than a memoir or biography and it can seem quite arbitrary at times, but if you're a fan of Mindy or The Office then it's pretty much a must read.

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