Today’s book: “Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? (And Other Concerns)” by Mindy Kaling
Kelly Kapoor isn’t the most prominent employee of “The Office,” but her one-liners stand out as the show’s most memorable. Who could forget her amazing gem, “Ryan used me as an object,” in the show’s fourth season? Or when she slapped Michael during “Diversity Day?” Although I stopped following the show since “The Office” has gone way downhill in the wake of Steve Carell’s departure, I have a soft spot in my heart for Kelly. You can tell Mindy Kaling is just having a blast with that character – and who can blame her?
After reading funny-TV-lady memoirs by Chelsea Handler and Tina Fey, I was curious to see what Mindy Kaling would contribute to the genre. This was not a disappointment. The story is somewhat disjointed, reading as a series of little essays and rants as opposed to a cohesive text. However, it is solidly funny and I found myself laughing aloud more than a few times. Mindy is likeable and relatable – see, I’m calling her Mindy like we’re friends, not Ms. Kaling like any respectable book reviewer would do.
The more readers learn about Mindy, the better the book is. She takes us from her childhood to college, where she truly thrived. We learn about her post-graduation communal living situation with two best girlfriends in Brooklyn. This situation led to the collusion of events that created a play, “Matt and Ben,” that garnished enough attention to join “The Office.” It also makes us grateful for every non-ideal roommate situation we’ve ever had, knowing that things could have been far more crowded. By the time we reach her present stint at “The Office,” Mindy feels like an old friend. We’re excited about her success, although somewhat disturbed by some of her comments (for instance, begging guys not to shave their chest hair; it reminds her of her dad who is a man… or something like that). But we don’t feel overly enthusiastic about the book. It was cool: witty and wry, the perfect blend of earnest with tongue-in-cheek. But I don’t feel the urge to recommend this to my friends, or reread it immediately to (cue Journey) hold on to that feeling.
“No one, uh, ever asked you anything so whomever’s name is Toby, why don’t you take a letter opener and stick it into your skull?”
Bottom line: Bring it to the beach or read it on a plane.