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Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? (and Other Concerns) by Mindy Kaling

03 Jan

Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me?Everyone should go find a copy of this book if for no other reason than just to see the picture of Ms. Kaling as a child. I literally lol’d when I saw it. Aside from the innate hilarity of the picture, it shows just what lengths Mkale is willing to go to in order to make people laugh. And that’s kind of the theme of this book.

Mindy Kaling loves comedy. Like, seriously. When we were spending our times watching inane cartoons, collecting stickers, playing video games/sports, or ogling the guys in the latest issue of Seventeen, Kaling was putting on skits that she co-wrote with her weekend-friend (Oh, it’s a thing. Read the book.) for her family.

There are two chapters in the book that I absolutely loved. The first one is titled, “Chubby for Life,” where Kaling discusses her weight. According to her, she’s always been chubby except for two periods in her life: 1) when a middle school classmate embarrassed her into eating less and 2) when she exercised regularly in college with the help of an incredibly generous friend who seemed to have a lot of time on her hands. Otherwise, Mindy Kaling = Chubby. And she’s okay with that. Really. The point of this chapter is to show how unsupportive Hollywood is. I know what you’re thinking: duh. But Kaling explains it like this: in Hollywood, it’s okay for people to be skinny or fat. But if you are somewhere in between, you’re frustrating. Stylists don’t know how to dress you and people have a hard time casting you. Mindy gets around this problem by writing her own characters (e.g. Kelly Kapoor in The Office).

The second chapter I thoroughly enjoyed was “Types of Women in Romantic Comedies Who Are Not Real.” In it, Kaling explains that though she recognizes that romantic comedies are unrealistic, she still enjoys watching them because she looks at them through a sci-fi lens. Essentially what she means is that there is some sort of belief suspension/accepting characters or situations as they’re explained that goes on for her to enjoy the genre. This is because rarely is a woman who is notorious for over-eating skinny (I’m looking at you, Gilmore GIrls) and rarely is klutzy-ness the only flaw in a woman (Good Luck Chuck). These are flaws imposed on almost-perfect women in romantic comedies to make sure they remain appealing to the audience and bring in the moneys.

Overall, what made me like this book so much (and like it even more than TFey’s Bossypants) is because Mindy shows us just how much of an oddball, parent-loving, man-not-boy dating, marriage-wanting, fluff news-obsessed person she is and she does this unapologetically and without remorse. Did she miss out on high school parties where all the cool kids where? Absolutely. Does she care or feel like this affected her “high school experience”? Hellzzzzz no. Does she feel like she needs to hook up with random guys to be considered a liberated woman? No. She feels liberated enough writing for a critically acclaimed and award-winning TV show. At the same time, she doesn’t frown on women who do have one-night stands. If that’s what floats your boat, good on you. How boss is that? Is this not the kind of role model we want for our sisters, friends, and daughters? I’m going to go with a hell yes.

Four out of five coffees.

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