Book 14: Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? by Mindy Kaling

I’m not a bad feminist, but I am terrible at keeping up with pop-culture/mainstream feminism. It took me way too long to pick up this book. The title drew me in, and I recall making a mental note to pick this book up when I was a college sophomore. Yet, here I am, all graduated and inhaling books like my life depends on it.

TW: transphobic language, rape jokes, comedic antisemitism, race jokes.
Also: Multiple uncomfortable Cosby references (not Kaling’s fault).

As I previously mentioned, I have Bossypants on my shelf to read this year, but my lack of knowledge on the current generation of famous feminists like Kaling and Fey makes it harder for me to pick up these books with much excitement. I stayed engaged throughout the book, but I didn’t get nearly as wrapped up in this book as I’d hoped.

I’m not in love with Kaling, but I do find her to be quite amusing. I enjoyed her ability to laugh at herself and the many blunders she’d had as a college grad trying to make it big in NYC. As a broke girl from Georgia, I lived vicariously through Kaling.

 

aqImage credit: Amazon.com

I’m not a comedy person, though I do enjoy a good laugh that isn’t a tasteless, cheap shot that has been taken hundreds of times before. Speaking of cheap shots, Kaling’s mention of the rape joke she and her former coworker made was… uncomfortable. Most of her humor was palatable, and her choice to poke fun at a bus route that made her uncomfortable was fine, though I didn’t enjoy her method for doing so. Most of Kaling’s humor is tasteful, and I did have some genuine laughs while reading this book.

I was NOT laughing when Kaling used transphobic language in All About the Office. I’m not one to make excuses for people, and I won’t even attempt it here. Rape jokes, not ok. Transphobic language, not ok.

My favorite section was probably the very first chapter, Chubby for Life, especially since I’m in the middle of an annoying dietary change. I adore Kaling’s body positivity, and her ability to tell her story in a way that shows younger generations of girls that bing chubby isn’t wrong, it’s normal and healthy. Her body positivity was very subtle, something that I suck at (I’m about as subtle as a gaping wound). We need more Kaling’s in that respect.

I hoped that this book would be more of a memoir, not so much a random dabbling of essays put together for comedic reasons. There were several instances in which Kaling mentioned issues in a way that was advice-like and useful, but comedy overtook the book. That’s not a definite con, I’m probably being more judgemental because of my less than comedic personality. Without the context of having seen The Office, I wasn’t in on all of the jokes (which is my fault, not Kaling’s). I do need to hop on the train and give it a watch sometime soon. I can imagine I’d have liked the book a great deal more had I been more familiar with Kaling’s style.

So, here’s a good book reviewed just in time for Good Friday. *ba-dum-tiss* Sorry, I couldn’t help myself…

Genre: Comedy/Essays

I give this book a 6/10.

Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? (And Other Concerns)

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