Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Book Review: "Why Not Me?" by Mindy Kaling

I took Mindy Kaling's Why Not Me? on the road to Portsmouth, New Hampshire this weekend where I read it in two nights while curled up on the awesome hotel room couch (seriously, I wanted to steal this couch, throw it on the roof of my car and drive the three hours home with my arm out the window holding it down, trying to convince myself that I could actually catch it if it started to slide off the moving vehicle while speeding down the highway).  It's a great fast read, touching on serious topics but mainly containing dating and friendship-related stories that will make you laugh aloud.

This is Mindy's second book--I read her first book, Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me?, when it came out a few years ago and enjoyed it but there is something about this new one that I really love. Mindy's voice is more confident and her essays are more evolved.  Overall, there is a maturity that was kind of missing from her last book.  Although there is a section on Hollywood beauty routines, this book is focused on a smart, strong woman who has had funny, crazy experiences and wants to share these tales with other women.

As I read, there were a few lines that really jumped out at me and compelled me to mark them with stickies.
  • With regard to her dislike of weddings: "If you're my best friend and the only way I get to have dinner with you is by traveling thousands of miles, selecting a chicken or fish option, and wearing a dress in the same shade of lavender as six other girls, I will do that. I won't love it. But I love you." (page 27)
  • On being at Dartmouth and wanting to join a sorority: "When I arrived at Dartmouth College in 1997, my attitude toward alcohol was that it was a delicious and dangerous treat that, when obtained, needed to be ingested quickly in case someone tried to take it away.  You know, the way a raccoon eats from a garbage can." (page 28)
  • The section entitled "The Sexiest Thing That Has Ever Happened to Me." It's a short few paragraphs but definitely sexy and well worth the read. (page 93)
  • The essay called "Soup Snakes" is about Mindy's relationship with B.J. Novak. There is a great anecdote about the play Doubt and B.J. falling asleep on Edward Albee but at the end, Mindy talks about her mother and that page is the most touching part of the book. (page 132)
  • About a male acquaintance who might want more of a relationship but was sending mixed signals: "What did I do to deserve this? I was just a friendly thirty-four year old tv actress looking for a boyfriend who didn't have a neck tattoo." (page 150)
  • On being brave: "I do idiotic things all the time and I say crazy stuff I regret, but I don't let everything traumatize me. And the scary thing I have noticed is that some people really feel uncomfortable around women who don't hate themselves." (page 221)
  • How to be confident: "Work hard, know your shit, show your shit, then feel entitled." (page 223)
My main takeaway is that Mindy Kaling may be funny and sweet, but she also works hard, very hard, and probably harder than most people. This is definitely the read for you if you are looking for a confidence boost or if you love funny ladies who are great with words. And the behind-the-scenes photos that are included in some of the essays don't hurt either.

*Page numbers are from the hardcover version of Why Not Me? by Mindy Kaling.