Book Review: Why Not Me? by Mindy Kaling

Book: Why Not Me? by Mindy Kaling – published by Penguin Random House, audible edition, 4 hours 57 minutes.

Synopsis: In Why Not Me?, Kaling shares her ongoing journey to find contentment and excitement in her adult life, whether it’s falling in love at work, seeking new friendships in lonely places, attempting to be the first person in history to lose weight without any behavior modification whatsoever, or most important, believing that you have a place in Hollywood when you’re constantly reminded that no one looks like you.

In “How to Look Spectacular: A Starlet’s Confessions”, Kaling gives her tongue-in-cheek secrets for surefire on-camera beauty, (“Your natural hair color may be appropriate for your skin tone, but this isn’t the land of appropriate-this is Hollywood, baby. Out here, a dark-skinned woman’s traditional hair color is honey blonde.”) “Player” tells the story of Kaling being seduced and dumped by a female friend in L.A. (“I had been replaced by a younger model. And now they had matching bangs.”) In “Unlikely Leading Lady”, she muses on America’s fixation with the weight of actresses, (“Most women we see onscreen are either so thin that they’re walking clavicles or so huge that their only scenes involve them breaking furniture.”) And in “Soup Snakes”, Kaling spills some secrets on her relationship with her ex-boyfriend and close friend, B.J. Novak (“I will freely admit: my relationship with B.J. Novak is weird as hell.”)

Mindy turns the anxieties, the glamour, and the celebrations of her second coming-of-age into a laugh-out-loud funny collection of essays that anyone who’s ever been at a turning point in their life or career can relate to. And those who’ve never been at a turning point can skip to the parts where she talks about meeting Bradley Cooper.

My thoughts: I l-o-v-e Mindy Kaling, and I l-o-v-e-d this book. I read Mindy’s first book a few years ago, about a year or so into watching her show The Mindy Project. It fell a little flat for me, and I think it was because I didn’t recognise her voice as much as I do now. I decided to pick this book up in audio format, for something light and fun to listen to on my drive home from work in the evenings (I’ve listened to way too much true-crime lately and it’s become a bit of a downer for me). This book was a mood lifter and laugh-out-loud funny for sure, but at times was surprisingly touching and I felt myself moved to tears on more than one occasion. I feel like that’s the true mark of a wonderful comedy writer.

Mindy mentions how often people confuse her with her Mindy Lahiri character, and at times I admit I’ve been guilty of that. Granted, there are some blurred lines between the two, but Mindy is more grounded than her on-screen persona and that comes across quite clearly in this book. I looked forward to listening to this every evening on my drive home, and was really disappointed when it ended. I think this would make a great beach read, and I highly recommend picking it up of you’re after something light-hearted and easy to read this summer.

Rating: 8/10

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