Mindy Kaling is a good writer. I like her Office episodes (“Actually, I was never President.” “Yes, but Ben Franklin was.”) and I like her tweets; I loved her old blog and I’m super-thrilled she’s back with a new one. I love when people are very serious about frivolous things. She’s a great combination of funny, dismissive, and super ridiculously passionate.
That said, this book was only pretty okay (damning!). It was funny, but only laugh-out-loud funny once or twice (how DARE you, Mindy). Like with Patton Oswalt’s book (which I reviewed last year), the best parts were the less aggressively funny and more poignant stories of Mindy growing up. Mindy was a Good Kid, always doing her homework (like me) and spending time with her family (like me) and having only a few close friends (like me) and inhaling comedy (I read instead).
One thing that Mindy has that I never really did were several super-close girlfriends. I’ve never had a best friend who was like an extension of myself. Reading “Best Friend Rights and Responsibilities” made me sad that I never had someone with whom it was understood we were a we, and thus shared basically everything. It’s a sore subject for me lately since I’m trying to come to terms with the likely end of my longest friendship (since Kindergarten. We’re 28 now) for three major reasons: we’re different, so are our schedules, and I suck at sharing. I WANT to be that kind of person Kaling describes: the kind of person who can share her clothes, her bed (NOT LIKE THAT), her secrets, her feelings. I’m not that kind of person. I don’t know how to be, and it really makes me sad that I don’t have the kind of friendships a lot of people do. This is also the reason Bridesmaids made me cry more than it made me laugh.
Anyway, my obvious need for some therapy aside, here’s another reason I relate so strongly to Mindy: her essays “Someone Explain One-Night Stands to Me” and “‘Hooking Up’ is Confusing”. Mindy in these two essays describes exactly how I feel most of the time people described “hook-ups” to me when we were younger: confused and scandalized. I’ve basically always been sixty.
She also tells two great stories about Amy Poheler, who between this and Bossypants had a banner year in name-drops. She needs to write her own book, and fucking quickly. I’ve never been crazy into The Office, but Kaling spends just enough time on the show to be interesting without being swallowed by the phenomenon. She also writes lists, which I love.
This was a fun, quick read on a lazy Sunday.