On My Bookshelf: 'Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me?'

"Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? (And Other Concerns)" by Mindy KalingI liked it!  I really, really liked it!  (And I didn’t expect to.)

I must admit that I did not read Tina Fey’s Bossypants, to which Mindy Kaling’s Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? (And Other Concerns) is often compared.  Reviewers of Bossypants (and even Kaling herself) have referred to Fey’s awesomeness, which seems to have been confirmed for many in her work.  In my opinion, though, Kaling proves to be pretty great herself in this, her first book.  Readers of Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me?, which reads like a one-on-one conversation with the writer/comedian, are certainly in for a treat.  

Throughout the book, Kaling spends quite a bit of time making the reader laugh while telling about the time that she spent aspiring to make a name for herself in the entertainment industry after college.  She also goes to great lengths to share insight about her time on the set of The Office, on which she serves as an executive producer, writer and actress. (She plays the part of Kelly Kapoor). My favorite moments, though, are the ones in which she leaps back in time to recount her days as a child. Her adventures/misadventures from elementary through high school speak best as to her quirky, worrisome nature, and may even give the reader more insight as to how she has come to see the world in such a hilarious way.  I could not stop laughing, for example, as she told the tale about the time that a very mean classmate compared her to a whale and, in doing this, encouraged her to exact revenge by losing weight. 

The prose, combined with pictures interspersed throughout the work, follows Mindy as she moves away from her “androgynous” past (She said it! And again, I laughed.) through a number of missteps and unlikely successes (she had no idea that her play "Matt and Ben," which depicts the friendship between actors Matt Damon and Ben Affleck, would do so well) to her current position on TV and getting laughs from millions of people all over the world each week. Hopefully, in addition to Kaling’s story itself, you’ll also enjoy the many lists that she also includes in her work, like her “Eleven Favorite Moments in Comedy” and “Best Friend Rights and Responsibilities.”


-Mack Simon Jr.