Sunday, November 20, 2011

Book Review: Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me?

I've been wanting to read Mindy Kaling's new book Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? (And Other Concerns) for a while now. One of the websites I frequent, Jezebel, has been posting excerpts from it since May. I was really loving everything I saw, so I put it on my wish list. Then I got extremely busy around the time it came out and forgot about it for awhile. But then! Mr. Nerdy Feminist surprised me with it when I was sick this week.

So I jumped right in and decided to write a review of my thoughts. I'm going to start with the stuff I didn't like so that I can end on the things that were awesome.

Not So Great:

  • The whole book should probably have a trigger warning for body talk. Right in the first chapter, Kaling seems to be a bit self loathing about the fact that she's not a size zero. (One of the first chapters is called "Chubby for Life.") Later in the book she fills in a little body love/acceptance but it doesn't ever come across concretely. 
  • The tone/content--I'll get to what was nice about it later, but for now I'll say that while Kaling is 5 years my senior, it can feel a bit like I'm reading the musings of a 17 year old. I didn't really know she was as shopping/fashion focused as she is. That's fine, but it wasn't totally my cup of tea. Plus, some of the coolest and funniest stuff was already printed in the excerpts I read, so it was like when you watch a trailer for a movie that looks hilarious, and is hilarious, but you've already seen all the stuff by the time you're sitting in the theater.
  • There's a section where a rape joke turned out really well for her. Sigh.
The Great:
Ok, but like I said, there are lots of things I like about the book, so I'll get to those now.
  • The tone/content--When you can get past my complaints from above, it's a fun, quick read. The format is many short essays/lists which keep you generally entertained and laughing. It seems like Kaling didn't have an incredibly difficult time breaking into the biz, so she keeps it light and true to her experience. 
  • I love what she has to say about female friendships. If you'd like to read it, you can see the excerpt here, starting around page 80. It absolutely rang true for my experience with my best friend. When I first read this excerpt, I even emailed it to her. Uh yeah, that's us. 
  • She confirms that Amy Poehler is as kind and friendly in real life as you would expect her to be. (That's a big one for me--I make it no secret that I'm an Amy Poehler fan.)
  • I enjoy reading about her thoughts of her parents. She has a lot of admiration for them, not only for being her parents, but for also having a strong marriage. About them, she says, "My parents get along great because they are pals. They're not big on analyzing their relationship. What do I mean by pals? It mostly means they want to talk about the same stuff all the time." Being in a happy marriage founded on friendship, I totally get that. She adds, "Maybe the point is that any marriage is work, but you may as well pick work that you like." Truth.
  • Finally, without further ado, here it absolute favorite part: 
Why didn't you talk about whether women are funny or not?
I just felt that by communicating that in any real way, it would be tacit approval of it as a legitimate debate, which it isn't. It should be the same as addressing the issue of "Should dogs and cats be able to care for children? They're in the house anyway." I try not to make it a habit to seriously discuss nonsensical hot-button issues. 

Get it, girl.

1 comment:

  1. Great review! I love Mindy Kaling I think she's hilarious! I've seen sooo many negative reviews of this one I'm so glad to see such a positive one because like you said it isn't high literature and it's for fun...I guess some people forget that books are meant to be fun as well. I can't wait to read this one now :)

    Marlene Detierro (Tony Lama Cowboy Boots)


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