Sunday, July 1, 2012

Review: Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? by Mindy Kaling

Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me?
Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? by Mindy Kaling

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Having only seen a few episodes of The Office (the American version), I think perhaps this book is better appreciated by fans of the show. It's not a terrible book, and it's a quick read by an ironic humorist with a strong voice, but it just wasn't for me.

In Is Everyone Handing Out Without Me?, Mindy Kaling, one of the writers for The Office writes about growing up as an overweight, self-conscious Indian girl, meeting her two best friends in college, and stumbling into stardom when she and her friend wrote and acted in a play about a fictionalized Matt Damon and Ben Affleck. She writes that it wasn't easy, but the timeline is compacted to the point where it really does sound like she just meandered into her current role.

There isn't a very strong narrative throughout the book. It reads like a random smattering of essays she hasn't turned into Office skits yet. (Maybe she has; I wouldn't know, because I don't watch the show.) Were I a fan of the show, I might find the random insights into her life a gratifying and humorous romp, but, because I'm not, it read like that random stranger who follows me around the grocery store, telling me her life story.

There were certainly moments I laughed out loud at her observations, and I could relate to several of her predicaments, but I felt like the relatable young woman grew up into someone who was too busy being ironically funny to let us in on when she was telling the truth and what was exaggerated for effect.

If I knew more about her work with The Office, I think I would like this book a lot. As it is, I can mark it as mildly humorous, not a waste of time, but, overall, puzzling.

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