‘No one is bad with names. That is not a real thing. Not knowing people’s names isn’t a neurological condition; it’s a choice. You choose not to make learning people’s names a priority’ – Mindy Kaling
So I got this book from my friend Abigail, who I’ve mentioned on here one too many times by now… but for good reason of course. She really raved about this book and said I must read it and if there’s anyone I can take a book recommendation from and trust it, it’s her. I’m happy to say she wasn’t wrong. This book was a riot! I see why Abi loved it too, Mindy Kaling is literally her twin-personality wise, never met two people realistically and figuratively who are so alike in my life.
I never really watched The Office neither did I watch The Mindy Project so I’m not so familiar with Mindy’s comedic prowess but after ravishing this book, I’m about to download both shows, all seasons and binge watch because Mindy is now another friend in my head like Gabrielle Union, Tracie Ellis Ross and Issa Rae. This memoir of Mindy’s life from childhood to Hollywood is a compilation of well narrated essays and lists (who doesn’t love a good list) that everyone really needs to read, internalize and go ahead and add to their list of 10 best memoirs in the past 10 years. See what I did there with the list thing? No, just me? Okay.
Her journey to Emmy-nominated awesomeness was not as easy as it may look and the low points in her life, which she still narrates with all the comedic flair she can, actually tugged at my heart strings. Being a minority in America is an extreme sport on it’s own, but one in the entertainment world – even harder. She doesn’t focus on these parts as much but still. What I really liked about this book (other than the lists:)) was that she found no shame in highlighting the disappointing/embarrassing parts of her journey. Like her stint as a guest writer on Saturday Night Live which she calls ‘dreadful’ and actually considered faking meningitis to blame for the poor sketch she wrote, or the time she and her best friend tried to pitch a show about themselves after the success of a play they wrote in their apartment in Brooklyn just for the fun of it. I won’t spoil it for you but I’m sure you can guess what happened with the show.
Mindy has had her fair share of failures but she’s also had a great share of successes, one win in particular – being a writer for the American version of the UK show – The Office. She talks of her come up in the big bad city of New York where she did any and every job (save for stripping) to survive while trying to make it as a comedian and she credits her ability to survive there to her two best friends who lived with her and her willingness to work really hard. Of all the lists she puts in this book, my favourites include ‘Best Friend Rights and Responsibilities’ and ‘The Exact Level of Fame I Want’ – when you read them, you’ll understand why.
Mindy has a quirky, satirical yet relatable way of telling a story that makes you turn page after page, not wanting it to end. She’s the type of person you plan to meet with at a coffee shop one afternoon for a few hours of a catch up sesh and you end up sitting there till the shop closes, my type of a catch-up session. A comedic but ultimately deep and poignant memoir, Is Everyone Hanging out Without Me is an unforgettable story of finding your talent in spite of childhood embarrassments.