Why Not Me? by Mindy Kaling
Published by Crown Archetype
Genres: Non-fiction, Humour, Adult, Memoirs
For Fans of: Mindy freaking Kaling (duh) , Tina Fey, Amy Poehler, The Mindy Project, Books of essays that make you laugh out loud
My rating: 4.75 stars out of 5
From the author of the beloved New York Times bestselling book Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? and the creator and star of The Mindy Project comes a collection of essays that are as hilarious and insightful as they are deeply personal.
In Why Not Me?, Kaling shares her ongoing journey to find contentment and excitement in her adult life, whether it’s falling in love at work, seeking new friendships in lonely places, attempting to be the first person in history to lose weight without any behavior modification whatsoever, or most important, believing that you have a place in Hollywood when you’re constantly reminded that no one looks like you.
In “How to Look Spectacular: A Starlet’s Confessions,” Kaling gives her tongue-in-cheek secrets for surefire on-camera beauty, (“Your natural hair color may be appropriate for your skin tone, but this isn’t the land of appropriate–this is Hollywood, baby. Out here, a dark-skinned woman’s traditional hair color is honey blonde.”) “Player” tells the story of Kaling being seduced and dumped by a female friend in L.A. (“I had been replaced by a younger model. And now they had matching bangs.”) In “Unlikely Leading Lady,” she muses on America’s fixation with the weight of actresses, (“Most women we see onscreen are either so thin that they’re walking clavicles or so huge that their only scenes involve them breaking furniture.”) And in “Soup Snakes,” Kaling spills some secrets on her relationship with her ex-boyfriend and close friend, B.J. Novak (“I will freely admit: my relationship with B.J. Novak is weird as hell.”)
Mindy turns the anxieties, the glamour, and the celebrations of her second coming-of-age into a laugh-out-loud funny collection of essays that anyone who’s ever been at a turning point in their life or career can relate to. And those who’ve never been at a turning point can skip to the parts where she talks about meeting Bradley Cooper.
God, I love this woman.
Note: If this review sounds weird to you, it’s probably because it is late at night and I am tired as hell.
To the best of my scarily-good memory, I’ve read only two memoirs in my life. Both of them just happen to be written by Mindy Kaling. I am a big fan of The Mindy Project, and a big fan of hers in general. I think she’s funny, hardworking, a talented writer, and a great role model.
I enjoyed Mindy’s first book a lot. (We’re great friends in my imagination, so I’m allowed to call her by her first name. Don’t look at me like that) Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me was a fast, funny, easy read, that had me giggling in bed from start to finish. But it didn’t really give us a great sense of who Mindy was as a person. I mean, sure, we learned that she is hardworking as hell, but that wasn’t something that came as a surprise, was it? She writes, stars in, and produces her own show. Guys, come on.
Why Not Me was just as funny, just as easy a read as IEHOWM (what a mouthful). But it was a lot more personal. And by that I don’t mean that Mindy was dishing out all her dirty, personal secrets. No. There was just a lot more personality to this one. She was letting us get to know her.
My favorite thing about Mindy Kaling is her sense of humor, which is, like the blurb to this book mentions, very tongue-in-cheek. It doesn’t matter if you’re listening to her speak or reading her words, you always know when she’s joking, even if she’s saying something with a completely straight face or tone of writing. You also know when she gets real. And she does that quite a bit in this book.
She talks about friendships, failed relationships, body image, public image and, my personal favorite, her confidence.
“They want to stop you. You can’t let them.”
(I am getting that tattooed on my face)
At one point, she even does this AU piece, where she imagines what her life would be like if she hadn’t gotten into show-biz and had become a latin teacher instead. Obviously, it turns into a rom-com, but besides that part, I found it extremely relatable. Because who hasn’t thought about how they would have turned out if only they’d made different choices? I’m pretty young, and even I’ve had moments when I’ve woken up in a cold sweat, wondering if maybe I made the wrong choice in deciding to pursue my passions in art and writing. And then I’ve laid in bed, imaging my life if I’d stuck with my childhood fantasy of becoming a neurosurgeon/psychologist…
But I digress.
My point was that I understood why she wrote that piece. It may have seemed like a weird little essay to some people, thrown into the book just for the heck of it. But I get it. I really, really get it.
And that’s what I mean about the whole book, really. It’s just so relatable. So, okay, maybe you haven’t been invited to “spend time with the president”, or star in your own TV show. It doesn’t matter. The essays in this book let you get inside her head. You understand a little bit more about Mindy Kaling. You empathize, because you’ve gone through something similar. You appreciate, because she’s just another woman, and she’s just so real.
I hope all of this still makes sense in the morning. Goodnight, you guys.