Title: Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me (And Other Concerns)
Author: Mindy Kaling
Publisher: Three Rivers Press
Rating: 4/5 Stars
Other than thinking that the title was cute, I never had the slightest desire to read Mindy Kaling’s book. I love The Office, and as much as I admired the fact that a young Indian woman was on the writing/producing staff, Kelly Kapoor was my least favorite character – until Andy Bernard showed up and my intense, active dislike transferred to him. I didn’t love to hate Kelly, I hated her, never missed her when she wasn’t in an ep and actually groaned aloud when she’d begin speaking.
Now, it's not that I thought Mindy was Kelly. I'm well aware that she's an actress playing a character on a tv show. My reservations about the book stemmed from the fact that I attributed every line out of Kelly's mouth to Mindy as a writer for the show and there was simply no way - I thought at the time - that I'd enjoy an entire book written by the person who thought that Kelly Kapoor was funny.
Then my book club chose to read this and I decided to suck it up and give it a shot. I'm pleased to say that I was (mostly) totally wrong.
There were chapters in the boo that I didn't like because Mindy and I are two very different people who want different things out of life. I'm not interested in getting married, having kids and living the quintessential American dream. Although, I fully admit that marrying a super rich dude and being a trophy wife is really, really appealing when my alarm goes off every morning. I completely understand her fantasies about that type of life.
I also hate romantic comedies.
The parts of the book that I really enjoyed were the ones that covered her childhood - in particular when she discovered that she didn't have anything in common with her core group of school friends and really wanted to hang out with her weekend friend Mavis all of the time. Her realization was so insightful and brave in the face of the pressures of being an adolescent wanting to fit in and I really, really admired her for it.
I also loved the anecdote about the diving board at summer camp. Like Mindy, it never would have occurred to me as a child that I could tell a person of authority 'no' when it came to The Rules.
I love that she stories about how she found her passion in comedy. I don't share it, but I appreciate her focus and determination. I wish I could have seen Matt & Ben so that I could congratulate her and her friend Brenda for creating something unique and succeeding with it. I had no idea how she blazed her trail to Hollywood, so exploring that path was interesting as well.
Mindy's writing style is incredibly fun and easy to read and makes an already quick read even quicker. I came away from the book with a new respect for Mindy. Whether I love the characters she plays or ever watch The Mindy Project, she's earned all of her success and I wish her more in the future.
I also decided that I like her enough to read her next book. Review on that to come...