Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? (And Other Concerns) by Mindy Kaling

March 24, 2012

Summary (from the publisher): 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.

Liked:

  • I was never much of an Office viewer, but I remember being surprised that actors with bit parts (BJ Novak, Paul Lieberstein, and Mindy Kaling) seemed to write a lot of the episodes. I am always much more impressed with writing than acting, and found that I usually enjoyed Mindy Kaling’s episodes. When I found out she had a book out, I knew I had to try it — and luckily, she didn’t disappoint.
  • Kaling comes across in the book EXACTLY how I would expect her to be in real life. She seems genuine and down-to-earth (if a bit neurotic), and writes as though she were talking to a group of girlfriends, not the general reading public. These types of memoirs are the most fun to read, so I had a good time with this one.
  • There were literal LOL moments for me in the book, and all of them were due more to Kaling’s writing style and word choices than the humorousness of the incidents she was actually describing.
  • I had no idea that her big break came from co-writing a one-hour play called Matt & Ben (based on Damon and Affleck). That’s crazy! I guess there’s some merit to those screenplay/playwright competitions after all. Wow!
  • This was a quick, breezy book that took two days to get through — just as Mindy promised!

Disliked:

  • What’s with celebrities writing disjointed books that are basically “essay collections” rather than a coherent narrative? This book jumped around even more than Bossypants did, and though there is somewhat of a chronological thread running throughout the piece, the work as a whole was still tough to follow.
  • I was hoping for more behind-the-scenes insight into The Office, but that didn’t happen. She makes a few jokes about Rainn Wilson and says that Steve Carrell really is a nice guy. That’s about it. I don’t understand that, as she had to figure that a large number of fans would be interested in that aspect of her life.
  • Kaling didn’t talk about her success very much, either. I wanted to hear how she spent her first big paycheck or how she felt when she realized The Office was a hit after all. She actually talked about the opposite end of the spectrum, and described how she and a few co-stars were barred entry to some party because The Office wasn’t big yet and how she worried about cancellation and suddenly being out of a job.

Rating:

With a book like Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? (And Other Concerns), I was prepared for a lighthearted, fun, and sometimes funny read, and that’s basically what I got. I’m surprised by Amazon customers panning the book because it wasn’t in-depth or philosophical enough for them. Are you kidding me??? Who would even expect something like that? Anyway, if you’re a Mindy Kaling fan or if you just want to read about how a female comedy writer made it in Hollywood, check this one out. I give it 4 stars out of 5.

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