Saturday 26 September 2015

#CBR7 Book 97: "Why Not Me?" by Mindy Kaling

Page count: 240 pages
Audio book length: 4 hrs and 57 mins
Rating: 4 stars

Back in 2012, before the husband and I had spent a few weeks of the summer catching up on what was then available of the American version of The Office, I read Mindy Kaling's first book Is Everybody Hanging Out Without Me? and liked it, and her, a lot. Once Mindy Kaling got her own show, The Mindy Project, I even watched all of the first season and about half of the second season before I got distracted by other shows, reading and computer games. Any sitcom the husband and I don't agree to watch jointly tends to get forgotten about, because if I'm at home by myself, I read, fritter away time on the internet or play computer games.

I noticed a while back that Mindy (I'm going to assume I'm allowed to use her first name, since I spent nearly five hours of my life recently listening to her talking directly in my ear) had a new book coming out, but didn't really feel like it was a huge priority, not like Felicia Day's memoir or Jenny Lawson's new book (which I'm listening to right now (well, not RIGHT now, I'm currently blogging, but you get the general idea)). So what changed my mind? This very positive review from fellow Canonballer ModernLove, combined with very enthusiastic Goodreads status updates followed with a good review from my book twin on the internet, Narfna. It didn't hurt that I had free Audible credits to burn, either.

I don't regret buying the book or the time I spent listening to it. There's a lot of good stuff in the book, and it's clear that Mindy Kaling has become a more proficient writer, willing to share more of herself in the book than in her last one. She talks about the success of her new show making her famous in a way being a writer and supporting character on The Office never did, and in what ways that has changes her life. A lot of women, especially young ones, look up to her and consider her a role mode and it's obviously something that Ms. Kaling takes seriously. I always like these celebrity-written books more when they mix the light and the frivolous with the more weighty, open and serious topics. Here we get Mindy's style tips, insight into her time at college, some ruminations on her close friendship with her ex-boyfriend, fellow writer and actor B.J Novak, juice cleansing, stories of the time she was invited to meet President Obama, and other fun anecdotes.

She also writes about the pressures of body-image in the industry, of being a bad sport, judging others too harshly, about her work ethic and how nothing comes effortlessly, even when it may seem that way. The chapters are short and the book is a very quick read, even in audio form. I'd seen the chapter where she writes an alternate reality for herself, where she never became an actress, but ended up teaching Latin in a prep school on the Upper East side mentioned as a particular highlight. I agree that it was delightful. Unfortunately, listening to this chapter in audio got a little bit annoying, since the whole thing takes place in e-mail conversations, and the constant repetition of e-mail signatures and e-mail headings got quite repetitive. Her love of and affinity for romantic comedy really shines in this chapter. Overall, this was a fun book and I liked it better than her first one. I also want to go back and catch up on the seasons of The Mindy Project I haven't seen yet.

Crossposted on Cannonball Read.

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