Mindy Kaling has lived many lives: the obedient child of immigrant professionals, a timid chubster afraid of her own bike, a Ben Affleck–impersonating Off-Broadway performer and playwright, and, finally, a comedy writer and actress prone to starting fights with her friends and coworkers with the sentence “Can I just say one last thing about this, and then I swear I’ll shut up about it?”
Perhaps you want to know what Mindy thinks makes a great best friend (someone who will fill your prescription in the middle of the night), or what makes a great guy (one who is aware of all elderly people in any room at any time and acts accordingly), or what is the perfect amount of fame (so famous you can never get convicted of murder in a court of law), or how to maintain a trim figure (you will not find that information in these pages). If so, you’ve come to the right book, mostly!
In Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me?, Mindy invites readers on a tour of her life and her unscientific observations on romance, friendship, and Hollywood, with several conveniently placed stopping points for you to run errands and make phone calls. Mindy Kaling really is just a Girl Next Door—not so much literally anywhere in the continental United States, but definitely if you live in India or Sri Lanka.
Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? (And Other Concerns) isn’t really a biography or a memoir; instead, it’s a collection of short essays, photos, lists, and life advice. These chapters are written in no discernible order and bounce from one topic to another. You find out about her childhood, and that time she weighed herself in the supply closet. You find out about her plans to create an all-female remake of Ghostbusters. You hear about why she was the best babysitter ever, and that time she worked for a TV psychic. And, of course, you learn about her journey to becoming a writer for The Office. It felt a lot like sitting down at Starbucks and chatting about anything and everything with a new friend – which just further solidifies my belief that Mindy and I should really be best friends.
While I wouldn’t say that this book was hilarious, the first half of this book continuously made me smile and had me holding onto every word. After Mindy talked about her experience at The Office and started sharing pictures from her Blackberry, though, it started to go downhill. It seemed as though she had run out of material – which was a shame, given how much I enjoyed earlier essays like “Best Friend Rights and Responsibilities.”
Overall, Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? (And Other Concerns) was a light, fluffy, fairly entertaining read that mostly lived up to my expectations.