Monday, September 3, 2012

Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me?

Book Review : Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me?
Author : Mindy Kaling
My Rating : 3 out of 5

The complete title of the book is "Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? (And Other Concerns)".

Like so many other books, I came to know about this book when the author was interviewed on The Daily Show. I became interested, because I had never heard of Mindy Kaling before.

So a couple of admissions before I begin the review. I have not watched the NBC show "Office". I have heard great things about it (and the original BBC show), but never saw it. After reading the book, I definitely plan to watch it on DVD.

Secondly, I am not a fan of the genre "auto-biography" or "memoir". I think there are very few people in this world who live a truly extra-ordinary life, and should tell the details about their own lives to others.

With this bias and the complete lack of knowledge about the author, I started reading the book with some curiosity. Curious, because I was pleasantly surprised to find a lead writer of "Office" to be a child of Indian immigrants. And the title is definitely catchy.

This is a memoir sprinkled with many random observations. Some chapters are about her life as child of loving parents. Some about how she got to be where she is today. Some chapters are just randomly inserted observations.

She comes across as a very normal person. Someone who you would love to have as a friend. She doesn't shy away from bragging once in a while, but is mostly honest. The writing is smart, frank, quirky, cute and definitely funny. All this adds up to a book that can be hilarious at many places and be read quickly.

But still, all that cannot hide the flaws. One of which is, the book oozes with narcissism. I do not want to take away any of her achievements. I just don't think these are great enough to write a book about - yet. I wish her well, I hope she continues her success. But right now, there is not enough substance to be written about. Hence, lot of small chapters are added about various lists, such as what is her definition of friendship, what she looks for in a guy and all those topics that everyone thinks of themselves as an authority. Then, there are many inside jokes that I didn't really care about.

I am on the fence about recommending this book. It is funny. Maybe you can browse through some chapters (in any order, it really doesn't matter), and see if you want to read more. It's a pleasant read that will make you laugh, but I am not sure if it's worth the time to read from start to finish.

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