By Elizabeth Toy
Mindy Kaling, first introduced in her role as Kelly Kapoor in “The Office” and more recently as Mindy Laheeri in Hulu series, “The Mindy Project,” just released her second book, “Why Not Me?” in September.
Kaling’s newest release covers a variety of topics, such as Hollywood beauty secrets, easy-come-easy-go friendships, juicing, being a mentor, personal sorority experiences, sex scenes and fame.
As a fan of her first book, “Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? (And Other Concerns)” it was hard to read her second with objective expectations.
Kaling’s persona is delightfully happy-go-lucky and reading more of her creative ideas and humor is a pleasure. Her book doesn’t read like a traditional memoir but rather, feels a lot like chatting with a good friend.
Kaling’s writing style reflects the way she speaks; with a relaxed and seemingly uncensored voice, she doesn’t omit her use of slang and offhand comments, however politically incorrect they may be, “How could a nature-hating, sedentary, aspiring (can I still say this?) fag hag feel so at home in rural New Hampshire?”
She throws her personal anecdotes and quirky ideas in with her adventures (and misadventures) in her career and personal life.
“Why Not Me?” presents Kaling as a focused and intelligent, but nevertheless humble young woman with romantic ideals.
Her compilation of essays is a light and natural read, enjoyable because she maintains a down-to-earth, unapologetically whimsical and refreshing attitude.
While Kaling describes many remarkable incidents such as meeting and hugging President Obama, and even dating one of the White House staff, it was her candid accounts of her body image and her love of food that brought her closer to the average person dealing with real life issues.
As Hollywood maintains its own particular standard of beauty, Kaling has often been singled out for her weight and figure. Rather than neglecting this provocative subject, Kaling divulges her personal struggles of accepting herself and image despite the pressures of show business.
Kaling’s “4 a.m. worries” yet again emphasizes her humanness, as she narrates the thoughts that run through her mind as she lies awake at night, “I have no idea if I am getting ripped off financially. I pay bills without reading any of the fine print. How much should a gas bill be? What does gas cost? Is gas the same as gasoline?”
“Do I have a drinking problem?”
“What if I will never be one of the ‘greats’? What if I’m only one of the ‘fines’?”
Her honesty and vulnerability make her the “every-girl,” so real and so easy to befriend.
If there was ever a memoir to read in order to unwind, this is it. Kaling doesn’t preach life lessons, but writes in such a way that her readers can feel as though they are part of a conversation.
Reading “Why Not Me” was like kicking back with a close friend on a lazy weekend, recounting embarrassing experiences, mistakes, and ultimately, the universal struggles experienced by all in one way or another.
“Why Not Me” seemed effortlessly written and was likewise easy to read. Kaling’s tone is casual and open and while many of Kaling’s anecdotes are playful and funny, she also covers some serious topics, such as confidence, hard work, and the difficulties making friends as one gets older and out of high school.
Kaling’s book is especially relatable because the topics of her essays are easy to connect with. Many people struggle with the same issues of body image, confidence, and working in a field in which they may be a minority.
“Why Not Me” is a perfect read for anyone, especially women, who would like to get to know a funny and pensive friend who isn’t afraid to break barriers and succeed despite that the odds are against her.