Hilarious, Inspirational Non Fiction for Young Women
Attention bookish, nerdy, or otherwise over-looked high school girls: it gets better. This is the grand over-arching theme of Mindy Kaling's delightful memoir, Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? (And Other Concerns). Mindy feels like my funny, older, much more successful sister that my parents always compare me to. Please note, I do not actually have a sister.
I was what one might consider a nerd in high school. I was in AP/honors classes, I was an editor of the yearbook, and I was on the tennis team. I had a group of friends that I would hang out with, but my real saving grace was my best friend whom I did everything with. We were straight laced girls who didn't party, but would rather go see the newest movie in the theater, go to the mall to silently stalk a cute boy, make a dumb video, or drive until we reached the end of a major street in town (I'm not kidding).
Mindy Kaling's book Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me struck a chord with me because I saw so much of myself in her. She's hilarious and honest, and makes me audibly chortle. Her autobiography includes essays, ridiculous lists, and stories from her youth leading up to her big break and gig as a writer for "The Office."* Kaling is smart and clever, loves her parents dearly, and is a fantastic role model for young people.
*Kaling is known for her writing and acting in "The Office" and "The Mindy Project," but not liking her shows does not preclude you from liking this book. I've seen a grand total of 5 episodes from both these shows combined.
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Who It's Good For: Daughters, granddaughters, sisters, your cousin that has a Golden Girls tattoo, that girl at the coffee shop with that silly haircut, a relative in college who foolishly chose creative writing as a major, your co-worker who won't stop singing songs from Rent, your most bestest friend evar. One of my bestest friends ever (the same one from high school) gave me a copy last Christmas. I can only assume it's because I have similar coloration as Kaling.
Who It Isn't Good For: Someone who's not into comedy, writing, film/television, the arts, theater, or what some might consider "nerdly" pursuits. If this is you, you probably wanted to kick me in high school. Alternately, if you hate sarcasm or have problems recognizing it, this book with either make you really angry or super confused.
No Really, WHO IS THIS BOOK PERFECT FOR: Your quiet, but clever niece who has dreams of being the next Tina Fey, even if she doesn't know it yet. If I had this book at 16, I'd probably own NBC by now.
Age Level: Perhaps 15-35? I'm not good with this stuff. I'd probably still enjoy it if I was 90, cackling away in a rocking chair.
Difficulty Level: Super easy read. I finished it in about a week, and I'm embarrassingly slow at reading books (I've been stuck on The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest for over a year). From Kaling in the intro: "If you're reading this book every night for months, something is not right."
Funny Level: Mindy Kaling has a certain brash cheekiness to her, but she humanizes herself quite well in this book. It's self-deprecating, sarcastic, and ironic in the best kind of way.
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And because you didn't ask for it, here is a picture of 16 year old me with my date for the homecoming dance:
Tina Fey is a woman who has it all and still has time to whip up a gourmet meal and dress sexy for her husband. I'm kidding. I do seriously love Tina Fey though, and I wouldn't be surprised if what I wrote is TRUE.
I've heard the audiobook version of "Bossypants" is the best version since Tina Fey reads it, thus conveying her Tina Fey-ishness perfectly. Personally, I'd like to play it while I'm sleeping because that's not creepy at all, right?
© 2014 Shay Marie