I recently started a book club with a few friends, and our choice this month was Mindy Kaling’s debut. I’ve always wanted to do a real, honest-to-goodness book club, but with busy schedules and different reading speeds, it’s hard. I’ve participated in 1Book140 (the Twitter book club) a few times, but it’s hard discussing a book in segments, so most often I read the book independently. Our new book club only meets once per month (we see each other often enough anyway to discuss other non-book related things), so that by the time we meet, everyone has read the entire book and is ready to discuss.
Kaling’s Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? (And Other Concerns) is a quick read, but a good one. When I say quick, I mean I started it on Saturday and finished on my commute yesterday morning.
I didn’t know much about Kaling, except for her work on The Office (she wrote my all-time favorite episode, The Injury, where Michael gets his foot burned in a George Foreman grill). She did a great job at letting the reader into her life and thoughts without going overboard: the intermittent chapters where she gave “advice” nicely broke up those where she talked about her background and her personality quirks. In addition, her writing was lowkey and approachable. I’m sure she wrote the book in the tone of sitting right next to you, dishing over coffee or something stronger, and she pulled it off.
As someone that was also a semi-wallflower growing up, I enjoyed reading about her transformation from dependency-on-what’s-cool to getting out there with a mission and ardently pursuing it. Kaling clearly values her family, friendships, and what she’s achieved. Yes, successful people are usually quick to thank everyone else around them for their successes, but her appreciation seems more genuine than some.
Some highlights (aka if you read nothing else, skip to these parts):
- Her elaborate daydreams and the calories she killed thinking them up
- Her sudden realization that she had almost nothing in common with her we-bought-things-with-our-initials-on-them BFFs
- The complete list of things that a guy needs to do in order to be seen as “awesome” (why do girls have to work so much harder at being universally liked?)
- The chapter that consists entirely of photos she’s taken (and kept) on her cell phone and the reasons why she took them
My only complaint? Not enough talk about Paul Lieberstein, because I love me some Toby Flenderson (kidding, I do like Toby but the Lieberstein:everythingelse ratio was fine).
If Is Everyone Hanging… was written with the intention to gain armies of supporters as she launches her own pilot, then it did the trick (I’m sure it wasn’t, but it worked anyway). If you have some spare time or know you’ll be going to be sitting at the beach for awhile, pick it up. I borrowed mine from the library, because they had about a million copies (in digital too!), so you can too, because if you’re like me you hate carrying around hardcover books.