This months book for the Birchbox Book Club is “Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? And Other Concerns” by Mindy Kaling. Birchbox was kind enough to give away copies of this book through Twitter, and I was able to get one. (Yay!) I had no idea what this book was about, but I loved Mindy Kaling as Kelly on The Office so I was looking forward to checking it out. Also, the title is just great.
I should start this review by saying that I really like to read. As a teenager I hated it, being forced to read as a part of weekly book reports in my high school lit class. I probably shouldn’t admit that I wrote more than one report on books I had never even seen, let alone read, but my friend was kind enough to describe Jane Eyre and others to me over lunch. (Kids, don’t do that! Do your school work. Don’t be a slacker!) In fact, this practice became so common that eventually we had to bring in the book we had chosen for our report due to the fact that some people were writing about imaginary books, and ones from the childrens library. But, I digress.
The point I’m trying to make here… wait, I did have a point, didn’t I? Oh yes, the point is that I read quite a bit now. I have a habit of reading in bed and can easily pour through 2-3 books a week. I feel like this needs to be said because considering I frequent the ‘freebies’ section of Amazon, my standards may not be as high as someone who reads for enjoyment very rarely.
This book arrived at a great time for me. It was in the middle of a rainy week and I was coming down with a nasty cold. I finished the entire book in a couple of stormy nights. I’m not sure I would read it a second time anytime soon, but I did enjoy it.
The very first, and most important thing I will say about Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? is that it’s funny. It starts off with her answering some questions, and I was laughing within the first page or two. This book is absolutely ideal for a light, summer read. I’m going to refer to her as Ms. Kaling for the purposes of this review because A) I’m not on a first name basis with her, and B) It would be weird/mildly creepy to type her first and last name over and over. C) I’m Southern and Ms. Kaling sounds respectful for talking about someone I don’t know. On second thought it sounds a little weird to say Ms. Kaling too, so maybe I’ll just keep saying ‘she’. You know who I’m talking about.
If you had asked me a few weeks ago if I wanted to read the biography of a celebrity, I would’ve laughed and told you that no, I definitely did not, because I’m in the middle of a book about a waitress who falls in love with a waiter who turns out to be a billionaire. (Seriously, have you seen the free books on Amazon? I had no idea that ‘super handsome secret billionaire’ was actually a book genre, but apparently it is. I’m sure this isn’t setting the bar for my future relationships too high AT ALL). Anyway, I’m not a big fan of strangers life stories, or even the life stories of most people I know. Okay okay, I’m sure I would read the life story of someone I know if I liked them or was related to them in some way. But celebrity rise to fame is generally boring to me. I like mysteries and romance books mostly.
The great part about this book is that it’s definitely not boring. I have never read a book that was laid out quite like this one before. Instead of a long, slow play by play of the first thirty years of her life, it manages to throw together childhood stories, random thoughts, funny conversations, her friends, and her work history all while making it flow rather seamlessly. I think what struck me the most about this book is that instead of a dry biography, this book reads in a way that makes you feel like you really get a glimpse into who Mindy Kahling is, and her personality. It’s like listening to one of your friends talk, when she tells you about how she got her job and suddenly turns to the topic of mens chest hair.
At the beginning of the book she mentions that it might be a good gift for teens. Personally, I wouldn’t give this book as a gift because it does have some profanity in it, including several uses of the F word. So keep that in mind if you’re going to share or recommend it and make sure it’s going to the appropriate audience. It wasn’t really excessive and didn’t bother me, but I’m sure some people wouldn’t care for that.
I wouldn’t say this is a must read, but definitely an enjoyable one. If you’re a fan of her acting and the characters she portrays, you will likely enjoy this book. While she is obviously very different in real life than Kelly Kapour, she was one of the writers on The Office and seems to have infused a good deal of her thought process into Kelly in an over the top, exaggerated way. If phrases like, “Have you seen our overweight Indian child? Do you know how statistically rare that is?” make you laugh, this is definitely the book for you. Personally I really enjoyed her take on one night stands and how that’s a good way to end up living out a crime drama. This book reads like funny, yet endearing advice from a sister or a cool friend. I think it was a great choice for the Birchbox book club, and thanks to them again for sending it to me.