Monday, December 16, 2013

I respond very well to people being overly familiar with me a little too soon

A lot of my book choices from the last month or so have been driven by finding inexpensive ebooks. Hooray for deals. One of those was Mindy Kaling's book Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? which I've wanted to read for awhile. Pretty much since I read Fey's Bossypants and thought "Hell YES, I would like some more memoirs by hilarious ladies." But then I heard "Kaling's book is good, but not as good as Fey's." Don't worry, Kaling heard this too:
This sounds okay, but not as good as Tina Fey's book. Why isn't this more like Tina Fey's book?
I know, man. Tina's awesome...Unfortunately I can't be Tina, because it's very difficult to lure her into a Freaky Friday-type situation where we could switch bodies, even though in the movies they make it look so easy. Believe me, I've tried.
I can't tell if my version is updated to include this in the intro after the book came out, or if Kaling heard this so often when the book was in the early stages that it's been in here since the beginning. But really, it's unfair to try to go up against Tina Fey. But I was impressed because Kaling does a good job. Maybe because it's been years since I first read Bossypants so I didn't spend the whole time comparing them.

Just like Fey's book, Kaling's is a memoir about her life growing up and when she eventually became a writer/actor/director(!) on The Office. It's what you expect in a memoir: she talks about growing up and being close with her parents, no matter how nerdy that made her, going to college ("I went to Dartmouth to pursue my love of white people and North Face parkas"), living in NYC and later LA, and throughout how much she looooooooooooves comedy.

Kaling is hilarious and I found myself thinking "Kaling, be my FRIEEEEEEND" a lot while reading this. Which I didn't expect just because Kaling is a lot peppier than I see myself. Even when I was reading about how much she loves romantic comedies, which are generally not my jam, I was thinking that she made some good points and I would be all for it hanging out and watching rom coms with her, even if I spent a large portion of the time making snarky remarks. But then she reveals how terrible she is with children and YUP, I hear you.

I think my favorite parts came from when she was living in NYC, after college and before she started on The Office. I loved her talking about her friends, and the apartment they had ("The staircase in our third-floor walk-up was the steepest, hardest, metal-est staircase I have ever encountered in my life. It was a staircase for killing someone and making it seem like an accident"), and her trying to break into showbiz. She talks about when she tried out for a Broadway show called Bombay Dreams. Since she's Indian-American she fit their very-narrow demographic they were looking for. Except for the "can dance" part. She sums up the dancing part of her audition: "It remains the single most embarrassing performance of my life, and it's on tape somewhere. I like to think Andrew Lloyd Webber watches it whenever he's feeling down." Plus the NYC section provides hilarious lines, like what it was like for her to live in the city in October 2001where you're torn between 9/11 and Sex and the City anxiety:
Should I keep a gas mask in my kitchen? Am I supposed to be able to afford Manolo Blahnik shoes? What is Barneys New York? You're trying to tell me a place called "Barneys" is fancy? Where are the fabulous gay friends I was promised? Gay guys hate me! Is t his anthrax or powdered sugar? Help! Help!
I really enjoyed this book more than I was expecting to. I mean, I was assuming I'd like it but I didn't think I'd laugh so much. I knew she was funny but I'd really only see Kaling on The Office. I wish I could see her stage show and Ben Affleck and Matt Damon (where she and her friend played Matt and Ben and YES, DON'T YOU WANT TO SEE THAT?) This was a really funny, light, quick read. If I had to compare them, I still like Bossypants more but this isn't far behind.

Title quote from location 926

Kaling, Mindy. Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? (And Other Concerns). Three Rivers Press, 2011. Kindle edition.