Why Not Me? by Mindy Kaling

mindy-kaling-why-not-meMindy’s second book is even better than her first!  Why Not Me? is less a memoir and more a series of essays about her life right now.  I’m happy to learn about her past, but I’ll be honest – I’m more interested in her life as a 30-something professional woman stumbling through love and work and being a role model.  And those topics are made infinitely better because of her hilarious sense of humor.

What I love most about Mindy is that she’s honest – she doesn’t try to downplay the perks of being famous (in fact, she revels in them), but she also freely owns up to its downsides.  It is so refreshing to read about how to be beautiful: fake hair, spray tans, tailored clothing, technological gadgets, bra tricks, good lighting, facial masks, and knowing how to pose for pictures with your arms akimbo.  No nonsense about eating right and glowing skin.  Hollywood beauty is all about hard work, and Mindy does wonders for boosting people’s body images by getting honest.

I also loved her candid enjoyment of sex scenes (“You get to crawl around in a bed with another person you either a) already know well or b) are getting to know better in the most cozy and intimate way possible.  Yes, it’s true that an entire room of people is watching you when you shoot a sex scene.  To that, I say: the more, the merrier!  Most of those people are artists whose job it is to make sure your physical imperfections are cloaked in mysterious shadows.  By the end of the shooting day, you’ll wish there were more people there.”) and the essay about her and B.J. Novak being “soup snakes.”  THOSE TWO.  When will they work it out?  

Really, every essay in this book is super enjoyable.  I tore through the whole thing in less than a day.  Mindy is the inspirational, silly, and smart friend you’ve always wanted.

For those of you who would like to have less confidence, one way is to constantly read about how people think you suck.  Or to hear people say stuff like “She’s just not a star.”  And I hear that all the time.  It’s especially hard, when you hear these things every day, to want to keep putting yourself out there.  People’s reaction to me is sometimes “Uch, I just don’t like her.  I hate how she thinks she is so great.”  But it’s not that I think I’m so great.  I just don’t hate myself.  I do idiotic things all the time and I say crazy stuff I regret, but I don’t let everything traumatize me.  And the scary thing I have noticed is that some people really feel uncomfortable around women who don’t hate themselves.  So that’s why you need to be a little bit brave.

Book Jacket

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.

In “How to Look Spectacular: A Starlet’s Confessions,” Kaling gives her tongue-in-cheek screts for surefire on-camera beauty.  (“Your natural hair color may be appropriate for your skin tone, but this isn’t the land of appropriate–this is Hollywood, baby.  Out here, a dark-skinned woman’s traditional hair color is honey blond.”  “Player” tells the story of Kaling being seduced and dumped by a female friend in L.A. (“I had been replaced by a younger model.  And now they had matching bangs.”)  In “Unlikely Leading Lady,” she muses on America’s fixation with the weight of actresses.  (“Most women we see onscreen are either so thin that they’re walking clavicles or so huge that their only scenes involve them breaking furniture.”)  And in “Soup Snakes,” Kaling spills some secrets on her relationship with her ex-boyfriend and close friend, B. J. Novak. (“I will freely admit: my relationship with B.J. Novak is weird as hell.”)

Mindy turns the anxieties, the glamour, and the celebrations of her second coming-of-age into a laugh-out-loud 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.

Release Date:  September 2015

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