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.
I really enjoyed this memoir. While her behind-the-scenes Hollywood moments were fun to hear about, the real strength in this is Kaling talking about being a chubby, boy-faced Indian girl.
“Don’t be closer to TWICE a friend’s weight than to her actual weight,” I told myself. This little mantra has helped me stave off obesity for more than two decades.
Kaling is honest about body issues, never being a size 0, the way Hollywood responds to that, and the fact that she’s made it alright anyhow (also the best way to dress her figure, which is an art, as any curvy woman should know). She talks about how she wants people who are married to let people know how much they love being married, because marriage gets such bad press and she wants to have a good marriage someday. She talks about friendship, how she feels about her best friends, and what’s the best way to duck out of a party without anyone noticing (or with everyone noticing).
If you’re looking for anecdote after anecdote about The Office and her castmates, this probably isn’t what you’re looking for, but if you want a little insight on what it’s like to write for a major TV show, what it’s like to be new in Hollywood, or what it’s like to be from a very successful, traditional Indian family and how that contrasts with typical American culture, this is a fabulous, totally enjoyable read.
I listened to this on audio, read by the author, and I highly recommend it that way. I don’t know that it would be as much fun if you were reading it.