Saturday, 18 April 2015

'Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? (And Other Concerns)' by Mindy Kaling: A Book Review

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.

Let me first be frank and admit that I didn't know who Mindy Kaling was or what she did before finding this book on Goodreads. I hadn't even heard of The Office before deciding to pick this one up. 

Actually, a few weeks ago, I had come across an article on some website where the writer spoke about reading a comedy book every day for a week and the wonderful impact it had on her happiness and emotional stability. And since it's my New Year's resolution to be happy every day, I decided to do what she did. 

And that, dear readers, is how I met Mindy Kaling. (And Amy Poehler. And Tiny Fey, although I already knew and loved her thanks to Mean Girls.)

Right from the first page of this book, Mindy tells you that this is not a self-help book, because she of all people has no right to give others advice. This book, she says, will not help you lose weight or succeed or revolutionise the way you feel about your boring job. 
But on the other hand, it will teach you a few things about love, friendship, and laughter - and aren't those the best lessons from life?

I didn't know what to expect from this book other than a couple of laughs. Well, I definitely got more than that. Reading things from an Indian-American's perspective is always refreshing, not to mention amusing when it's Mindy who's the author. She narrates like a friend, funny and relatable, and that's probably why I found myself reading her book during break-times instead of continuing with my Harry Potter re-readathon. 

Here are some snippets from the book that I really liked:

“There is no sunrise so beautiful that it is worth waking me up to see it.”  
(I have recently started getting up at the crack of dawn - if six a.m. counts as 'dawn' - even on weekends, but I'm sure most of my readers can relate to this one.)

“This book will take you two days to read. Did you even see the cover? It’s mostly pink. If you’re reading this book every night for months, something is not right.”  
(Mindy will not accept 'I have no time to read' as an excuse to not read her book.)

“Teenage girls, please don’t worry about being super popular in high school, or being the best actress in high school, or the best athlete. Not only do people not care about any of that the second you graduate, but when you get older, if you reference your successes in high school too much, it actually makes you look kind of pitiful, like some babbling old Tennessee Williams character with nothing else going on in her current life. What I’ve noticed is that almost no one who was a big star in high school is also big star later in life. For us overlooked kids, it’s so wonderfully fair.” 
(I really do hope this is true. Most celebrities claim they were unpopular in school, don't they?)

“Maybe the point is that any marriage is work, but you may as well pick work that you like.”
 (Her book isn't just funny - it's also deep and thoughtful.)

Another reason why I enjoyed this book is that I've slowly started reading more and more non-fiction books. Does that tend to happen when one grows up? I sure hope so. As much as I love fiction, because it lets you into an entirely different world with all new characters, non-fiction is what keeps me grounded and helps me connect real life with what I'm reading. 

I am very thankful that I read that article on the internet, because that's what made me read this highly entertaining book that actually does help you succeed in life, contrary to what Mindy claims. You can read the first half of this book and know what not to do, and the second half to know what you should do if you want to be where Mindy is today - rightfully very well-known in her field. 

I'm going to go with 4 stars out of 5 for 'Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? (And Other Concerns)'.
Witty, entertaining and comforting, Mindy Kaling's take on life is sure to put you - and your mood - on the right track. I'd definitely recommend this to everyone who's currently reading this post. 

Word on the street is that Mindy is currently working on her second book, and I'm definitely looking forward to it. Meanwhile, I will watch all the episodes of The Office and become a fangirl.

If you're a Mindy Kaling fan, or if you've already read this book, tell me what you thought of it. Did you find her frankness off-putting or endearing? 
Also, if you know any similar books that aren't 'Yes Please' or 'Bossypants', both of which are next on my TBR list, please tell me so I can get more books. I like books. 

See you later, Geeks!

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