Why Not Me?: Book Review

'Why Not Me?' cover art


Title & Author: Why Not Me? by Mindy Kaling
Genres: Humor
Format chosen: hardcover
Published: 2015
Synopsis (abridged, from Goodreads):

In ‘Why Not Me?’, Kaling shares her ongoing journey to find contentment and excitement in her adult life, whether it’s falling in love at work, seeking new friendships in lonely places, attempting to be the first person in history to lose weight without any behavior modification whatsoever, or most important, believing that you have a place in Hollywood when you’re constantly reminded that no one looks like you.
Mindy turns the anxieties, the glamour, and the celebrations of her second coming-of-age into a laugh-out-loud funny collection of essays that anyone who’s ever been at a turning point in their life or career can relate to. And those who’ve never been at a turning point can skip to the parts where she talks about meeting Bradley Cooper.

I decided to ease back into reading after a short hiatus by starting with a humorous book. Whenever you need to break up your normal routine, I’d say go for a humor book. They make you feel accomplished (“I read something!”) even though they’re not at all challenging to read.

I’ll confess, I’ve never watched The Mindy Project. I’ve only seen Kaling on episodes of The Office, which she apparently helped write. But I’ve now read both of her books (this one and her previous book, Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me?) and have enjoyed them, so maybe I should watch her show. But I digress…

Why Not Me? is an easy, fun read. It’s not the funniest book I’ve ever read (that honor probably goes to one of the Idiot Girls’ books by Laurie Notaro) but it definitely had a number of belly laugh moments. And I discovered that Mindy Kaling and I have things in common, like a childhood love of Dana Carvey. She writes a lot of things that I might think, although my version certainly wouldn’t be as funny. Here’s an example, set during a sudden storm on a flight to New York with B.J. Novak:

“Our pilot spoke to us again, but gone was the relaxed man who had cooed, ‘Folks, this is your captain speaking…’ and made me feel like a valued member of the JetBlue community. ‘There seems to be some kind of an electrical storm…?’ he began, nervously trailing off in a way where the end of the sentence can only be: ‘…which is scaring the shit out of me.’ Then he says: ‘This really came out of nowhere. Very weird.’

Very weird? You don’t get to confide in us about what you think is weird, guy! You’re supposed to roll with it and tell us everything’s fine while you silently sweat it out in the cockpit, rubbing your rosary beads.”

I’ve been on enough flights with weird issues that this rang true to me and the whole section elicited a lot of belly laughs. Or take this example, describing the second page of an invitation to a state dinner honoring President of France, François Hollande:

“I scrolled to the very unsexy second page, which instructed me, at my earliest convenience, to please provide this long list of incredibly personal information, including my social security number, federal tax identification number, driver’s license, and place of birth. It occurred to me that this might be the smartest identity-theft scam ever. But even if it was, I didn’t care, because what a glamorous scam!”

I’ve never been invited to a state dinner but I’ve definitely had “is this really a scam?” moments in my life related to needing to give out personal information. Usually my examples involve needing to give a social security number over the phone to get dental care though – not nearly as book-worthy!

Mindy Kaling, at least in her books, seems like the funny, cool, down-to-earth friend I’d like to hang out with. Maybe she’d help me focus more on writing too. If you like the excerpts above, check it out!

Verdict: Enjoyable and fun! Although maybe I liked it a lot because she reminds me of a much funnier, less-complainy version of myself.

Recommended for: fans of Mindy Kaling or anyone looking for a funny read from a female perspective.

Price: currently $9.95 (paperback), $12.99 (Kindle), and $15.00 (hardcover) on Amazon.


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