Before I sat down to write this review of Mindy Kaling’s book, I had a glass of white wine. Because, obviously, #WWMD? (What Would Mindy Do?)
I have no idea What Mindy Would Do, but that’s the whole point of her book, Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? And Other Concerns (Three Rivers Press, 2011).
From the first page, you feel like you know exactly what Mindy would do. She’s not hiding anything. Not even her elementary-school pictures, which are regrettably adorable, or the other way around.
You can tell what an affinity the book creates between Mindy and her readers by the sheer fact that I’m calling her Mindy, not “Kaling,” as any self-respecting pseudo-journalist would do.
In a series of short chapters, punctuated by lists with titles like “Types of Women in Romantic Comedies Who Are Not Real,” Mindy talks about her exceedingly normal upbringing and downplays the perks of her Hollywood celebrity. She has no illusions about how famous she is. In fact, in a chapter called “The Exact Level of Fame I Want,” she outlines the (presumably) best parts of being an A-lister: never waiting in line for brunch; having a pseudonym; and making something instantly trendy simply by wearing it.
More of a fifth-grade-diary-meets-stand-up-comedy-routine combo than an autobiography, the book succeeds at being irreverent, which it totally wasn’t trying to, you guys, because trying is lame.
(That was me, trying to channel Mindy’s writing style so you could get a taste of it.)
Did I mention that I actually laughed out loud more than once, reading this book? That should impress you, assuming you know what a joyless sourpuss I am about books that aren’t capital-L Literature.
The one part of this book where I think Mindy isn’t really honest? The absolute drudgery it takes to become a television writer.
Yes, she mentions having a tough time in New York City in a chapter called “Failing at Everything in the Greatest City on Earth”–but somehow, she manages to turn those lemons into seriously hilarious lemonade in the form of this gem:
“The staircase in our third-floor walk-up was the steepest, hardest, metal-est staircase I have ever encountered in my life. It was a staircase for killing someone and making it seem like an accident.”
The book’s worth buying for that sentence alone. Also, you know at least 10% of your money will go toward keeping Mindy Kaling from living in an apartment with terrifying murder-stairs.
PS. Birchbox sent me this book to review as part of its #birchbloggers program! My bad for not buying it, Mindy. I’ll get the next one. Cool? Cool.