*Ahem* I liked this book a lot BUT I read it really really soon after Bossypants by Tina Fey (review forthcoming- I'm in the closing chapters of the audiobook and I want to review both together) and... it's not as good as Bossypants. Again this is a relatively empty thing to say about a book that's by a different author with different experiences and all, but I did read them really close together and so I was kind of comparing them by default. Having said that, I enjoyed them both plenty, but I think it's worth mentioning that I think Bossypants is better. And also that I would have left more time between them if I'd been smarter, and I think that would have made me enjoy Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me more.
I'm back- that person who thinks it's ok to compare books with other books didn't say anything too mean right? ANYWAY- I basically knew nothing about Mindy Kaling before getting this book because I haven't seen the US Office or anything, but I had read this thing about Romantic Comedy stereotypes that was really funny and is a chapter in this book. So, that, combined with constant endorsement by Hello Giggles, made me believe that this was a good book to read (but not good enough to spend money on it myself, obviously- I got someone to buy it for me for my birthday).
And good it is! It's a mixture of a memoir and kind of general musings, all in the form of short essays that are basically all really entertaining. I'm glad that it's not fully a memoir since Kaling is all of 32 years old, and also because memoirs can be boring if one has to create drama where there wasn't really any. Instead, by writing short essays, Kaling can pick out parts of her childhood and stuff that feel significant and which she can create comedy from. It works well! At no point was I like 'why is she telling me this...' and I was amused the whole way through.
But. We have to talk about the title essay. It's a good essay but it pissed me off so much that it made me kind of irritated with the title just because now I know the story behind it I'm like '... but that's stupid.' SO the essay basically goes that Kaling was in this friendship group of 4, and then decided that she liked hanging out with this other girl who was SO much more her kind of person, none of which was a problem because, you know, you make new friends and stuff. So anyway, one day she goes to the mall with this new friend on the day she normally hung out with her other friends, and described seeing them in the same place as they always were on a Friday and felt upset that they were hanging out without her.
My reaction to this? EYE ROLL OF THE CENTURY! Because Kaling decided to hang out with this other friend at the same time she normally hung out with the others and then expected them to just, I don't know, go home to their separate homes and like weep because she wasn't with them? So whereas I thought the title of the book was clever and like a really valid concern, the actual story behind it is annoying and just shows someone having unrealistic expectations of other people (not to mention an inflated sense of self) rather than actually having been left out of something. I mean, I forgive Kaling for this because she was a teenager, and let's face it, teenagers have an inflated sense of self, and to her credit she did continue hanging out with her new friend rather than running off to join her old friends, BUT this story still really bugs me and makes me really dislike the title!
But- this is basically the only essay that pissed me off! Which is a good thing, obviously. Other than that, I giggled my way through the rest of the book, learned what an Irish goodbye is, nodded at her thoughts on one night stands (that what if you invite a guy back to your house and find out then that he's a murderer? Well what if?!) and basically enjoyed many of her other observations about all kinds of things. I'm also considering watching the US Office now which, considering how much I dislike Ricky Gervais (I realise he didn't write the US version. But he gets money from that shit. Although if I watch it online he gets NOTHING. Hmmm...) is a BIG DEAL. So- go, read it, and tell me if you agree with my annoyance at that one little thing...
Alternatively, if you've only got time to read one book of hilarious essays this year, make it Tina Fey's. Sorry! But really, this is something Kaling even kind of addresses herself! Observe:
"This sounds okay, but not as good as Tina Fey's book? Why isn't this more like Tina Fey's book?I know, man. Tina's awesome... Unfortunately I can't be Tina because it's very difficult to lure her into a Freaky Friday- type situation where we could switch bodies, even though in the movies they make it look so easy. Believe me, I've tried."See! Funny AND willing to admit that Tina Fey is awesome. Definitely worth reading.