Book Review: Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me?

A few weeks ago, I sat down and binge-watched the entire first two seasons of The Mindy Project. This project took me about five days, but I did it. About five episodes into this binge, I ran upstairs and asked my roommate J why the heck no one had ever told me how much I would like this show. She replied that she had just assumed that I already knew about it.

But no, I didn’t. And now that I’ve heard of it (and seen every episode at least once), I love it. I described it recently to a friend as “what a TV show about my life would be like…if I was an OB-GYN in New York City who was okay with casual sex.” I’m not okay with casual sex, but that’s not the point of the story I’m telling you. Basically, the point is that I fell in love with Mindy Kaling. Like pretty much every other single twenty-something in America (or probably on earth), I am convinced that a) Mindy and I were meant to be best friends and b) we absolutely must meet so that we can be best friends.

Therefore, I decided that I had to read her book, Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? (And Other Concerns). I finally finished reading it today, and I have to say that I love it. It was honest, funny, and relatable.

Kaling’s book is well-written. I suppose that it’s no surprise that a Dartmouth grad who wrote for The Office is a good writer, but I have to say that. Kaling’s prose is humorous, witty, and intelligent. Kaling is every aware of who she is and what she is. She doesn’t try to sugarcoat things or tell you that she’s something that she’s not. She’s brutally honest about what it’s like to be a young female writer/actress who doesn’t fit Hollywood’s cookie-cutters. She’s honest about what it’s like to be a young, single woman in a world filled with boys, or what my friend H calls “man-children,” instead of men, which H calls “men.” Her approach is entertaining and comforting. I could see myself having a conversation with her about these topics over coffee or drinks.

My favorite thing about the book is Kaling’s perspective on life. She addresses the difference between an “adult boy” and a man, a topic that I’ve discussed with my girlfriends plenty of times, but I really appreciated seeing that someone outside of my own circles. Her list of “best friend requirements” cracked me up. I appreciated her self-awareness and also her willingness to utilize self-deprecation. The book really felt like a friend to me.

The book probably isn’t everyone’s cup of tea. Kaling isn’t afraid to talk about the less than glamorous aspects of her life-although she does approach them with a great sense of humor. She isn’t trying to present her readers with some great “This is the Meaning of Life” thesis or “This is how you MUST live your life if you want to be successful/glamorous/well-liked etc.” She just tells the reader what her own life has been like and does so in a brilliantly entertaining (to me) manner.

If you’re looking for something that’s fun and entertaining, I recommend it. I think it’s a great book for women to read. And I could see plenty of guys enjoying it too.


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