Book Review: Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? (And Other Concerns) by Mindy Kaling

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Published in 2011, and first read by myself in 2012, I saw a copy of Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? on sale and decided to revisit the lighthearted comedy of Miss Kaling after very much enjoying her TV series The Mindy Project and basking in her glory post The Office. Read on the train over a few trips, Kaling brought giggles and smiles to my face in a very glum October full of doctors and bad news.

As Kaling says at the start of her book, it “will take you two days to read. Did you even see the cover? It’s mostly pink. If you’re reading this book every night for months, something is not right.” This book is not for those interested in a novel. It is definitely not for people searching for deep philosophical insight or a guide at how to be better at comedy. It is however, a completely accurate guide to what runs through most female minds at some point, especially for those of us prone to hyperbolic gestures. Kaling offers mindful musings and words to tell yourself when you’re being a touch too dramatic, like we discover Kaling has a world of experience with.

When I first read this book I was fresh out of high school, had only been in one relationship and was still friends with the kids I grew up around. Fast forward less than 3 years later and my world has been flipped and in a completely different place I expected it to be. Needless to say, a second reading provided much different insight to life for me.

My favourite bits of advice I have re-learned from Kaling with this read through are:

1. “Sometimes you just have to put on lip gloss and pretend to be psyched.”
We discover through many encounters in Kaling’s life to-date things don’t always go as planned, but pouting in your pyjamas isn’t going to do anything, as much as we want it to fix everything. Neither does storming out of work stealing water bottles. Sometimes we need to just so what needs to be done, and suck it up. It’s not the end of the world. We may as well look awesome doing it.

2. “One friend with whom you have a lot in common is better than three with whom you struggle to find things to talk about.”
A lesson no one can tell you, you have to learn it yourself. Kaling explores her awkward coming of age years and the true friendship she made, and the past BFFs that fizzled. The older I am, the less friends I choose to have. I would rather devote all my time and energy into a select few than try to please everyone. To be honest, some people are not worth pleasing and you’re happier once there out of your life. Kaling has assured me this is in fact normal, and I am not a crazy person, or at the very least, we both are.

3. “No one ever wants to hear how stressed out anyone else is, because most of the time everyone is stressed out.”
100% yes. If you’re talking to your mother or your partner or something has happened and you’re clearly distressed, it’s different because of course they will want to know how you’re feeling. Why is it that some people feel the need to bring this up to other people, or use this as an excuse all the time? People are always stressed about something. If you ask for help, yes I will gladly help however I am able, but if you are just having a whinge please stop. Right now. A passive aggressive Facebook status will do nothing to help you. Stop, please.

Mindy Kaling, you are a Queen.

While it is not always a coherent or well structured book, it is part of the charm. If you want to see what a week in the life of Mindy Kaling or any other wonderful, quirky, funny, adorable and normal female is like, please read this book. If anything it will take you to giggle town, population: at least you and me. Kaling writes an autobiography like no one else, from lists to terribly childhood memories and proud adult moments, moving from comedic to serious smoothly and with the intimacy of writer and reader as best friends talking about life. She is completely honest about all her failings and even embraces them. She is the kind of person I want to be friends with.

Perfect for a little distraction from your miserable life.

If you don’t like Mindy Kaling already, maybe don’t read this book. You’d probably hate it.

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