This book is Mindy Kaling’s memoir of her journey from a chubby, awkward kid who adored SNL and Monty Python to a famous TV writer and actress (and, later, showrunner, although this book came out before “The Mindy Project” got going). She writes about being a relatively unpopular child whose friends’ interests didn’t quite align with her own, about moving to New York City and finding unexpected success with her Off-Broadway play “Matt & Ben,” about meeting Greg Daniels and landing her role as Kelly Kapoor on “The Office,” about her hatred of comedy roasts and her self-described uselessness as a writer (for a brief period) on SNL, and about her funny and frustrating experiences in Hollywood. There’s a little bit about romance, but mostly in the abstract; this book is not a tell-all, by any means. And while Kaling does address her identity as an Indian American, as well as her totally-normal-but-big-for-Hollywood size, these aren’t the focus of her book, and nor should they be. Instead, this memoir offers a fun, lighthearted look at Kaling’s life and career in television.
This book is exactly what you’d expect it to be if you’re familiar with Mindy Kaling’s persona and style of comedy. It’s as if your good friend, the one whose crazy escapades you like to live vicariously though, is chatting to you after a late night of drinking wine and watching romantic comedies. It’s very light and very funny, and I enjoyed it immensely; it would make excellent plane reading. One of my favorite sections was the chapter on “Types of Women in Romantic Comedies Who Are Not Real,” which debunks the myth of the beautiful klutz. (Because seriously, “klutzy” seems to be the go-to flaw for writers who still want their heroines to be cool and witty and gorgeous and without actual flaws. Do any of us really know smart, hot women who fall down the stairs on a regular basis?) I also loved the list of possible Hollywood movies coming to theaters soon, including “Crest Whitestrips,” “Untitled Jennifer Lopez Sonia Sotomayor Project,” “Street Smart,” and “Street Stupid” (“Street Smart” sequel). Some of them do sound frighteningly plausible! So, bottom line: this is a funny, enjoyable book by a woman who is both successful and relatable. If you like Mindy Kaling, you should definitely check it out!