Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Review: Why Not Me? by Mindy Kaling

So, full disclosure: I am a big Mindy Kaling fan, so I was predisposed to love this book.  She is a hilarious and brilliant young woman who seems to wear her role model status lightly, in the sense that her feminism and advice come in a humorous form.  Her new book, Why Not Me?, is a book of humorous and touching essays that perfectly capture this quality of Kaling's refreshing brand of empowerment.  She is an excellent writer, and this book is even better than her first book, Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me?  Will all of Kaling's books have questions for titles?  There is something meaningful about this.  And her first two books certainly ask two questions I have thought often enough myself.  This is not a book making a single point, but truly a book of essays, along the lines of David Sedaris a bit.  She includes funny personal photos and lists alongside her lists, memories, and musings.  Some of the essays are made to look a bit like self-help or other kinds of manuals.  For instance, "Things to Bring to My Dinner Party" is basically a list of "hostess gifts," that include things like "a huge appetite" and "my mail from my mailbox."  I like the "essay" titled "Mindy Lahiri, MD, Everygirl, Mild Sociopath," in which she has a list of the things that her Mindy Project character, Mindy Lahiri, would do and Kaling would not, and another list of things they both do.  Essays like these are a bit thin, and feel like filler.  But they're still fun and illuminating (about Kaling).  Other essays, like "Unlikely Leading Lady" belie the silliness of these "filler" essays.  Here, she talks about her uneasy relationship to her body, and how it is exacerbated by being in Hollywood.  Overall, this is a wonderful book.  I think the combination of light, purely humorous essays, and deeper, more thoughtful ones, is appropriate to Kaling.  I haven't, unfortunately, gotten ahold of the audiobook, but I'm sure it's even better than the print version.  Although, that being said, the print version is beautiful, including a funny diagram of her heart on the back of the dust jacket, and adorable gold doodles on the end papers.  

(I received this book from Blogging for Books in exchange for an honest review.)

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