Author: Mindy Kaling
Publication Date: 11/1/11
Publisher: Crown Archetype
Blurb(GR): 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.
There’s a passage in this book in which Mindy Kaling laments that she will never be the kind of comedian who can get away with really raunchy humor or jokes about race. (She cites Sarah Silverman and Dave Chappelle as examples.) But, here is what she can get away with: writing a book chock-full of lists and stories all about how she’s basically (in her words) a “vain flake” and still coming across as a kind, intelligent woman and an excellent best friend.
I kind of wish that Mindy Kaling were my best friend. She’d be the kind of friend who would call up on a Saturday night, and when you sheepishly admitted that you really didn’t feel like going out, would show up at your door wearing pj’s and laden down with fancy chocolates and champagne. Then she would plop down on your couch and make absolutely no complaints when you wanted to watch a Say Yes to the Dress marathon. She’s the kind of friend who would never shame you for loving (just as a few completely out-there random examples which have absolutely nothing at all to do with me) When Harry Met Sally (like, to the point where I you can recite every single line), or
Sixteen and Pregnant, or US Weekly, or cheddar cheese pretzels, or house music.
One of my favorite chapters in this book is entitled “Best Friend Rights and Responsibilities” and outlines a few of Mindy Kaling’s rules for BFF-dom:
“I MUST BE 100 PERCENT HONEST ABOUT HOW YOU LOOK, BUT GENTLE
Your boyfriend is never going to tell you that your skirt is too tight and riding up too high on you. In fact, you shouldn’t even have asked him, poor guy. He wants to have sex with you no matter how pudgy you are. I am the only person besides your mom who has the right (and responsibility) to tell you that. I should never be overly harsh when something doesn’t look good on you, because I know you are fragile about this, and so am I. I will employ the gentle, vague expression ‘I’m not crazy about that on you,’ which should mean to you ‘Holy shit, take that off, that looks terrible!’ I owe it to you to give feedback like a cattle prod: painful but quick.”
Mindy and I (I’m just going to go ahead and call her Mindy…because that’s what future best friends do) are also about the same age, and there is some excellent 90’s nostalgia porn in here. In particular, I loved her list of favorite comedy moments (Chris Farley as Matt Foley = more evidence that we should be best friends) and her list of remakes that she’d like to take a crack at. An all-girl remake of Ghostbusters?!! I would totally go and see that, especially if they cast female comedians in all the main roles.
I didn’t enjoy the pieces about dieting and dating/commitment quite as much but overall I really had a fun time with this book. This is a humorous memoir that also belongs alongside the fluffy/frothy books and I think that’s exactly what my little Min was really going for. Well done! (Call me later!)
Perfect Musical Pairing
Mariah Carey – We Belong Together
I may or may not love Mariah Carey with all my heart. And I may or may not have seen Glitter more than once, possibly not even to make fun of it.