Review #23: Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? (And Other Concerns) by Mindy Kaling

I wanted to love this book. I adore Mindy Kaling–I think she’s awesome and I want to be her best friend. But this book fell a little flat for me. I liked it, and it was a perfectly enjoyable way to spend a few hours. But it could have been a lot more, I think.

This is basically a collection of short anecdotes about Mindy’s life and essays on various topics that interest her. They’re pretty funny, although I didn’t find myself laughing out loud–I was smiling to myself, but I didn’t find very much to be really hilarious. Unfortunately, the best essay, on romantic comedies, was one I’d already read.

Mindy is super relatable. She’s a nerdy girl, unpopular in school, academically-inclined, and not particularly cool in the traditional sense of the word. She’s a lot like me, and that’s a big part of why I liked the book. It felt more like I was gossiping with a friend–a really fun, smart friend–than reading a memoir.

Problems I had: I felt like this could have used an overall theme. Everything was really disjointed and some pieces fell flat. I wish there had been more structure–if I’d felt like she was building towards some larger message other than “look-at-me-I-don’t-belong-in-Hollywood,” it would have been more successful. I’m a creative nonfiction writer, and so it probably bothered me more than it would someone else who doesn’t have experience writing, or experience reading literary memoir. It just felt very light and fluffy–which is fine, but I think Mindy is capable of more. It’s how I felt after reading Tina Fey’s BossypantsIt was good, and fun, but it could have been better.

So if you like Mindy and are looking for something mindless to read, this is definitely not a bad book. I was just expecting more.

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