“Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? (And Other Concerns)” by Mindy Kaling
If some people are right, and the world does end tomorrow, I’m glad I stayed up until midnight last night finishing “Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? (And Other Concerns)” by the hilarious and irrepressible Mindy Kaling. If I hadn’t finished this book, I’d spend the rest of my afterlife feeling strangely incomplete.
Presently, I’m feeling a bit stale when it comes to reading, and haven’t been bowled over by a book in quite a while. This candid, refreshing little memoir of the young writer/actress absolutely hit the spot. It’s a delight.
Kaling came onto my radar a couple years back when the play she co-wrote, “Matt & Ben,” became available at Borders. A hard-core theatre nerd at the time, I rushed to buy and read it, as it was all the buzz. The play is brilliant, a send-up of Matt Damon and Ben Affleck hanging out and being schlubs with a dream of being screenwriters, when the script to “Good Will Hunting” falls from the sky into their laps. Oh, and it’s a two-woman show. It’s a remarkable little piece of theatrical absurdity, and if you ever get the chance to see/read it, do it. Since the success of “Matt & Ben,” she’s become a staff writer and actress on one of the best TV shows ever – The Office.
“Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me?” allows Kaling to recall her life and the things that got her where she is today. From being a comedy-obsessed high school semi-loser, to a bigshot on her college campus, to a clueless and broke New Yorker with a dream and bizarre day jobs (including working for a psychic TV show and as a nanny to some NSYNC obsessed girls) her story isn’t that unlike any other tale of a young person with a creative dream — it’s just that she’s better at telling it.
I loved it. I laughed out loud.
In the much lauded/hated HBO series, “Girls,” there’s a scene where Lena Dunham’s character says that she’s not “THE voice of HER generation,” but instead “A voice of A generation.” Kaling’s voice is a welcome addition to the young female writing world. There’s no pretense of being hyper-cool or super-glamorous or of having it all together – which is a nice change. Contrary to what the entertainment industry wants us to believe much of the time, women’s lives are not like “Sex and the City.” Kaling gets that.
If the world does indeed end tonight, I’m glad it was Kaling’s new, honest, ironic, and absolutely delightful voice that was the last I read.
(I don’t really think the world is ending tomorrow, by the by. Largely because it’s already tomorrow in Australia…and they seem to be doing okay.)