I recently finished Mindy Kaling’s second book, “Why Not Me?”
As a fan of the actress and television writer, I got a kick out of her first book, “Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me?” I picked up her second non-fiction piece a couple months ago, and finally got around to reading it. I finished it in three days.
Kaling has such a distinct voice in her writing. When I read her book, I can hear he voice and really feel like she’s talking to me. It’s like having a conversation with a good girlfriend, with subject matter ranging from intense to fluff (in a good way — balance is important). And she doesn’t take herself too seriously — which is refreshing and fun.
The book almost reads like a journal, set up into four sections, with short chapters within each. There’s also a joke on every page. Any time things seemed to be getting too intense, Kaling lightened the mood. This is a good book to read to keep your spirits up.
Opening with her chapter “Hello Again,” Kaling recounts starting at a new school in seventh grade and trying to make friends by bribing them with Skittles. This really sets the tone for the rest of the book. The little tidbit of life is important, and shows us how important it is to Kaling to make people like her and feel happy when they think of her.
For the Ladies
In these pages of her book’s first section, Kaling pokes fun at society’s ideas of beauty and what is required to “look spectacular.” But she’s honest and tells it like it is.
She shares what really goes on at her photoshoots and on camera — from lighting to makeup and masks — as well as the things that most Hollywood starlets do to appear “perfect” (hint: hair extensions and spray tans are a must).
In this section, she also talked about her time as a sorority girl, a crazy friendship that left her feeling pressured to try to be someone she wasn’t, her experience dealing with minor fame and her thoughts on weddings. But I really laughed during her chapter on what she’d accept to be brought to her dinner party.
Take this job and love it
In these pages, Kaling chronicles the steps she took to transition from working as a writer (and sometimes actor) on the Office to writing, producing and starring in her own tv show, The Mindy Project (which is hilarious, if you haven’t already seen it).
She discusses the process of coming up with a story, facing rejection and what daily life is like (hint: not all sunshine and roses). To me, her life just sounds super stressful at times.
Love, Dating and Boys who Ru(i)n the world
Kaling is real when it comes to the subject of dating, and what she’s looking about in a relationship. But she also points out the humor that is everyone’s expectations in a relationship in “A Perfectly Reasonable Request.”
I also really liked her story about dating “one of the president’s men,” it’s so relateable: the man who seemed perfect at first but things just didn’t work out.
All the Opinions You Will Ever Need
In the first chapter of her last section, Kaling talks about how many people see her; about the way people say she doesn’t conform to normal beauty standards, but that she doesn’t necessarily always feel good about these so-called compliments that also bring out her doubts in herself (which is something that I, if not many women face very often).
“I have a complicated relationship with my body. Or rather, I have a complicated relationship with my stance on my body….. I’m not completely at peace with how I look.”
And really, who is? I know I’m not. It’s great to see a beautiful and intelligent woman say the things that are on all of our minds, even if we don’t come to terms or vocalize them ourselves.
Also in this section I enjoyed Kaling’s Harvard Law School Class Day Speech. It was just hilarious — I’ll leave that to you to read (no spoilers).
One of my favorite parts of this book, comes at the end, when Kaling discusses confidence. She talks about one of the many Q&A session she hosts between filming, and expresses disappointment in herself for letting down a girl who reminded her of herself, when she gave a half-assed answer to the young lady’s question “Where do you get your confidence?”
But at the end of that book, Kaling leaves some great thoughts for both that girl and any reader out there. The formula to having more confidence is strong, plain and simple:
“Work hard, know your shit, show your shit and feel entitled.”
Have you ready Mindy Kaling’s books? If so, was there a piece of advice that stood out to you?