Review: ‘Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me?’ by Mindy Kaling

Where has this book been all of my life?

is-everyone-hanging-out-without-me_coverSeriously. I want to build a time portal, go into my room from 10 years ago, sneak it onto my bookshelf and return to present time. (Yes, I know that isn’t plausible but my theories on time travel are a whole other can of worms.)

This is one of those books that any girl or woman ages 13 and up needs to read. Along with “Bossypants.” There is so much good, honest advice in this memoir, plus some hilarious and relatable anecdotes.

One of my favorite chapters is “Don’t Peak in High School.” Other than junior high, high school was pretty much the worst. Anyone who says high school is the best four years of your life (1) is a liar and (2) probably peaked in high school. Also, why do certain periods of life have to be labeled “the best years of your life”? (A separate blog post for another time.)

“The chorus of ‘Jack and Diane’ is: Oh yeah, life goes on, long after the thrill of living is gone. Are you kidding me? the thrill of living was high school? Come on Mr. Cougar Mellancamp. Get a life.”

—from Don’t Peak in High School

But like Mindy, I thought I was missing out on the “high school experience” that is so often portrayed in Hollywood. (Do high schoolers really have wild parties like in “Sixteen Candles”? Do pretty, popular girls mysteriously die alá “Heathers” or “Drop Dead Gorgeous”? Are there really high schools like East High in “High School Musical”? I don’t know the answers to the first two questions, but I can assure you, I went to a speech tournament in a high school that was so similar to East High, it was scary. I almost got lost.) I, along with Mindy, wondered why kids in movies weren’t at home doing their homework or not setting the table for dinner. To hear it from her made my thoughts seem more valid.

Her thoughts on the types of women in romantic comedies were also spot on. As a person who hate-watches rom-coms (except “You’ve Got Mail” because c’mon), I agreed with her stereotypes. Especially “The Woman Who Is Obsessed With Her Career And Is No Fun At All.”

“I am slightly offended by the way busy working women my age are presented in film. … Often this uptight woman has to “re-learn” how to seduce a man because her estrogen leaked out of her from leading so many board meetings, and she has to do all sorts of crazy, unnecessary crap.”

—from Types of Women in Romantic Comedies Who are Not Real

This was a type that has always made me slightly angry and certain that if my life was a romantic comedy, that’s who I would be. I’m glad my thoughts are along the lines of Mindy’s.

There’s so much more I want to say about this book. I’m tempted to read it once more before I have to return it to the library and start on the next book in my challenge. It has the right mixture of wit, advice and relatable anecdotes that every memoir needs. (Also the lists; I’m a sucker for anything in a list format.) Mindy’s writing is so fresh and very much her. I’m so glad she’s writing another book.

I finished reading this memoir convinced that I should be Mindy’s best friend. Have you noticed that I’ve been saying Mindy this whole post as if she and I were best friends already? At least I haven’t given her some cool, best-friends-only nickname. I’ll save that for when we’re actually besties.

I’ll end this review with one thought: She, too, is advocating for the all-female Ghostbusters remake. The memoir was published in 2012, so I don’t know if this was the instance that made Paul Feig decided to jump on it. Either way, I’m glad it’s happening. And Mindy needs to be one of the Ghostbusters. Has someone started that petition yet?

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