Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? isn't just a book for people interested in Kaling's comedy and showbiz career; it's actually a great "girl" book. It's hard to capture this; it's emphatically not "about being a girl" much less a girl in any particular circumstances, and yet it is very much about the life experiences and choices and desires of someone who is a girl. Argh, look. I like reading about women who are happy, and Kaling comes across as really very happy. I loved her candidness about loving her parents and wanting to get married. Kaling does not come from a broken home, or even all that traumatic of a childhood. To me at least, this makes her stories feel particularly fresh and positive. Which isn't saying anything against people who don't fit that profile! I just thought it was really refreshing to read something so un-cynical.
When I say the book is smart, I mean to say that Kaling is an excellent writer. It's clear that she's being very open about the things she wants to be open about, without giving things away that she doesn't want to give away. For instance, as she has described the book herself... somewhere... it's not a memoir but rather a series of comedic essays about various aspects of (her) life. She talks about sex and dating and so on but doesn't actually blab about her love life. The book is very entertaining and satisfying, and there is no doubt that every bit of it was chosen and planned and crafted. That's some mad talent.*
And of course it's funny. It's very funny. It was a bright and cheerful light in the midst of my flat-hunting. Things like this:
Sports movies had brainwashed me into the belief that when the chips are down the most, that is when success is the most inevitable.Right?! The stories are really well told, the pictures have hilarious captions, the humorous lists are appropriately humorous -- it's good stuff.
Possibly the best way I can summarize this book is by saying that I would recommend it to people who didn't know or care who Mindy Kaling is. Even if you've never seen the US The Office and are unfamiliar with comic actors on US television shows, you will enjoy the vast majority of this book because it's just generally a really fun read. And completely worth the $12.99 for the ebook. In fact I will probably buy the hardback when I get back to the states.
* I really didn't want to play Showbiz Book Showdown with this one and Tina Fey's Bossypants, but this is the area where I really felt Bossypants fell down. It was a good book, don't get me wrong, but I finished it thinking, "so you can be great at writing TV but not so great at writing books, interesting."