I probably shouldn’t have read this on public transport so much; I definitely got a few strange looks at my stifled giggles and silent laughs.
I’ve been a fan of Mindy Kaling for a while and have religiously watched The Mindy Project through all of its low parts, because the highs are just so clever and so funny. When it’s good, it’s really good, and Kaling and co. have done a really good job in making it one of my favourites. I was therefore looking forward to reading her book.
There is a lot of talk about Kaling being ‘the voice of a generation’ and I can really see just how this has come about. She is intelligent, completely in touch with the world, and utterly self-aware. Oh, and she’s hilarious too. I couldn’t help but read Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me with her voice in my mind and I loved that she wrote it in such a chatty and friendly style, with so little pretensions. The book reads like a kind of autobiographical scrapbook, a little bit all over the place, photos included, offering a glimpse into Kaling’s life, her childhood, and her thoughts and ideas on everything from dating and marriage, to her writing process and her favourite comedic moments. It’s a bit up and down but you can forgive the sporadic and mismatched nature of it all because it’s just so easy and enjoyable.
Some highlights of her completely random topics of discussion include her thoughts and stories about Irish exits, one night stands, and revenge fantasies while jogging. A particular section which stood out to me, however, was the one in which Kaling details all the unbelievable women who exist only romantic comedies, and who Hollywood like to continually propagate. These include The Klutz, The Ethereal Weirdo, The Woman Who Is Obsessed With Her Career And Is No Fun At All and, my personal favourite, The Skinny Woman Who Is Beautiful And Toned But Also Gluttonous And Disgusting. She brings these caricatures alive with a startling accuracy and truthfulness. You only have to think of the lasted trashy romantic comedy you saw to realise that it most probably included at least one of these types of women. Mindy is right, and she points it out in such an insightful and comedic away that you almost don’t notice what she’s trying to say: Hollywood, stop showing us stereotypes and start showing us real women.
There is a quote from Mindy Kaling which goes like this:
“I always get asked, “Where do you get your confidence?” I think people are well meaning, but it’s pretty insulting. Because what it means to me is, “You, Mindy Kaling, have all the trappings of a very marginalized person. You’re not skinny, you’re not white, you’re a woman. Why on earth would you feel like you’re worth anything?””
It’s great, it’s one of those things which can stay with a person. Thank you Mindy for doing what you do best and for inspiring others along the way. Your book was a delight to read and I can only hope that one day in the future you will pick up a pen and start writing more about your life. Or blog. I’d really like you to blog. Every day.