Review: Kaling’s autobiography leaves reader feeling befriended

Biographies and autobiographies typically are not at the top of the average person’s reading list. But this was before big names of comedy such as Ellen DeGeneres and Tina Fey started to release their autobiographies and revive the genre.

At the end of November 2011, Mindy Kaling followed suit and released her own comedic autobiography, “Is Everyone Hanging out Without Me? (And other concerns).”

Kaling is most commonly known for her work on “The Office,” where she both wrote for the show and played Kelly Kapoor. Kaling currently writes and performs in her own show, “The Mindy Project,” where she stars as romantically challenged gynecologist Mindy Lahiri.

In her autobiography, Kaling touches on everything from growing up awkward and overweight, to professional failures and to what it was like to finally get her big break then almost mess everything up. Through these experiences she is able to give advice to young professionals attempting to make it in the 21st century in chapters like “Contributing Nothing at Saturday Night Liveand “Karaoke Etiquette.”

“It’s actually kind of hostile to a group of partiers to pick a song longer than three minutes,” Kaling scolds.

She also gives advice specifically for men in “Guys Need to Do Almost Nothing to Be Great.”

“You can always look like a put-together Obama speechwriter with a classy peacoat,” Kaling said.

The book is human and relatable, especially in chapters like “These Are the Narcissistic Photos in My Blackberry” where she does show off about 10 photos of herself from her phone. The tone of the book is very relaxed and often reads like a conversation you would have with a friend over dinner.

The book has been criticized by The Washington Post for being too unfocused and not an accurate representation of Kaling’s talents as a writer. However, the reception overall was received in a good light, despite frequent comparisons to Tina Fey’s “Bossypants”.

“Unfortunately, I can’t be Tina [Fey], because it is very difficult to lure her into a Freaky Friday-type situation where we could switch bodies,” Kaling explained.  

Even though Kaling is not Tina Fey, you end the book wishing it wasn’t over because somehow in the past 200 pages or so she has become a friend. Even Kaling shows the same reluctance to leave her readers.

“Anything else? Not really. I just, I don’t want to say good-bye. See you guys soon. Love, Mindy.”

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