Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? (And Other Concerns)
New York, Ebury, 2013, 223p
I hugely enjoyed my time with Mindy Kaling. Part of me wants to call her my guilty pleasure, but I have nothing to be ashamed of - I love her writing and acting; if I was a girly girl, I would want to be like her: self assured, embarrassed by nothing, beautiful.
Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? is Kaling's hilarious biography. She recounts her school days, her wild ambition coupled with boring jobs, and her eventual success when she joined the writers of The Office. Her book combines extended lists with long prose accounts, and carries the air of someone trying not to give advice (and sort of failing).
Kaling possesses a ridiculous amount of passion and knowledge about comedy, listing her favourite comedy moments and recounting friendships that just didn't work out because the other person wasn't as in to it as she is. Since writing this book, Kaling has created her own sitcom, The Mindy Project, and I would have loved this book to contain more of her crazy confessions about this.
A few days after having finished this book, I am still laughing as I recall little snippets of her humour. In particular, I have adopted Kaling's approach to jogging, which is to fantastise about imaginary revenge scenarios. Despite initially finding this idea hilarious, in practice it has proven to really occupy the mind and distract from the pain of running.
Kaling is open and honest with her reader, telling her most awkward moments and biggest celebrity crushes. But throughout, she is explicitly happy with who she is - she is unapologetic and doesn't really care what anyone thinks, despite confessing to a fascinating with fashion and dieting, interests conventionally possessed by those who care too much what other people thinks. In this way, she has even challenged some of the subconscious presumptions I had about women. She doesn't try and claim that her experiences are the same as any other woman's experiences, and that is what I love most.