Monday, 13 June 2016

Books: Mindy Kaling - Why Not Me?

why not me mindy kaling image

Oh Mindy, my long lost best friend. How I wish I knew you.

Basically, I want to be your buddy. Please, tell me anecdotes about Hollywood diets and the making of Kelly Kapoor. Let's have a cocktail and talk about who we'd rather play Truth or Dare with, Bill Clinton or President Obama? Let's debate pizza toppings and compare ex boyfriends.

With our incessant chattiness and self awareness, we could be a power couple: BFF edition. Like Taylor Swift and Karlie Kloss, or Kim Kardashian and Instagram. We could make lists about our favourite scenes in Meg Ryan movies, and we could rank our favourite snack foods.
I'm getting distracted (if not slightly carried away). Apologies.

By the time I read Why Not Me? I was pretty well acquainted with Mindy Kaling, at least as a celebrity. I enjoyed The Mindy Project, and had recently watched the entirety of The Office for the first time. I had already decided that Mindy was just a cooler and funnier version of myself. Way funnier. The amount of snorting that comes out of my body when I watch The Mindy Project leads me to believe that Porky Pig lives somewhere inside me. Some would argue that Miss Piggy seems more accurate, although I'm accepting of both possibilities- Miss Piggy is rich.
mindy kaling why not me image

Back in the Autumn, Rhys pre-ordered Mindy's latest book, so I could have something to read on the plane to Florida. I'm a horrible (and extremely anxious) flyer, so I assume he thought this would keep me quiet. By the time we landed in Orlando, I had finished the whole thing, and was even more convinced that she was my future best friend. I may slightly overreach when it comes to who I want in my inner circle, but that's a whole other conversation.

That was in October. Since then, the book has sat in my little window. I've picked it up when I've felt down, or just needed to feel like I was listening to a friend who's life was more interesting than my own. The pages have turned a little yellow from sunshine and thumb prints. It's well loved, well read.

Why Not Me? is the perfect execution of quippy personal essays conjoined with insider Hollywood stories. What struck me the most was the tone that defines its pages. As you would expect, it is perfectly conversational and self aware. To put it simply, it's effortlessly authentic, relatable, and serves as a Mindy voice-over in your head. If you're one of those people who types LOL without laughing, this book will actually make you LOL IRL, I promise.

From Hollywood expectations to the realities of the writer's room, the book is a charming, witty distraction from my own second coming of age. Mindy's memoir is a defence of hard work, and a heady mix of sarcasm and self depreciation. With sharp observations and humour that translates well into the written word, it's everything you could want to read as a twenty-something woman.

My main take away from this was the perspective (and heart) it gifted me. I did feel like this book somewhat educated me without feeling like I was sat in a classroom, as Mindy is careful to touch on sensitive subjects such as the bleak realities of weight, gender and minorities in the entertainment industry. Reading this was very much like trading stories over a sugary latte in a coffee shop with an old friend. It just felt like catching up and hanging out, discussing everything from work ethic to first world problems - without feeling guilty, or entitled.

My favourite chapter? Soup Snakes. Every damn time.
mindy kaling why not me image