Friday, January 6, 2012

Book Report: Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? (And Other Concerns) by Mindy Kaling

I was excited to read Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? (And Other Concerns) by "The Office's" Mindy Kaling.  The title really spoke to me, as did the contrast between Mindy's fun pink top and perturbed facial expression.

In some subconscious attempt to prove (if only to myself) that I also read "real" books, I used this Virginia Woolf bookmark.  For the record, this attempt was completely futile.  The last time I read anything by Virginia Woolf was in high school, and even then when I said I liked To the Lighthouse I was lying.

Anyway, Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? is laugh-out-loud funny.  Really.  I was yukking it up like a hyena as I turned the pages, prompting the bf to ask, "What are you reading?"  (This might be a good place to add that the book was a gift from him.  He deserves that much, if only for being cool with serving as my foil on so much of this blog.)

Here are a few parts I particularly enjoyed:

"Here were some titles for my book that I really liked but was advised strongly not to use:

When Your Boyfriend Fits into Your Jeans and Other Atrocities
The Book That Was Never a Blog
Sometimes You Just Have to Put on Lip Gloss and Pretend to Be Psyched
The Last Mango in Paris (This would work best if "Mango" were the cheeky nickname for an Indian woman, and if I'd spent any time in Paris.)
So You've Just Finished Chelsea Handler's Book, Now What?" (7)

Then there was Kaling's take on romantic comedies, which were very much like my own (and I suspect most women's).

"I love romantic comedies.  I feel almost sheepish writing that, because the genre has been so degraded in the past twenty years or so that admitting you like these movies is essentially an admission of mild stupidity.  But that has not stopped me from loving them." (99)

Kaling goes on to list several common romantic comedy heroine stereotypes.  My favorites included "the klutz," "the ethereal weirdo," "the woman who is obsessed with her career and is no fun at all," and "the woman who works in an art gallery." (100-103)

Now, I'm ashamed to admit that I, like many Office fans, assumed that Mindy Kaling was like her superficial and sometimes manipulative character, Kelly Kapoor.  Kaling herself pokes at this assumption, going as far as to list ways in which she is and isn't like her onscreen persona.  Here are a few things I didn't know and would never have guessed about her before reading this book:

She graduated from Dartmouth.
All through high school she was a book-reading nerd.
She got her big break by writing and acting in a play about Matt Damon and Ben Affleck called "Matt and Ben." Its poster boasted the tagline "Friendship isn't always about good will."
She's also a writer and co-executive producer for "The Office."  (I know, I know.  Despite years of watching, this somehow escaped my notice.)
Of course, now I can't help but watch "The Office" with a fresher eye.  Just the other night I caught the booze cruise rerun and realized that the outside consultant Michael hired is Kaling's best friend Brenda.  I knew this because her character's name was also Brenda and because she looked just like her picture in the book.

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