Light yet insightful personal essays from one of Hollywood’s cleverest writers.
Kaling (Is Everyone Hanging Out with Me?, 2011) dishes up another collection of humorous first-person essays on topics ranging from exposés borne of her insider’s view on TV stardom—“Sex scenes are the tits”—to an inspirational speech she gave at Harvard Law School. Photographs interspersed throughout the book help underscore the author’s kindly self-deprecating sense of humor and demonstrate her points about the stages of her typical 17-hour workday (“A Day in the Life of Mindy Kaling”) or the value of having a flotilla of stylists prepare you for a photo shoot (“How to Look Spectacular: A Starlet’s Confessions”). Fans of The Office and The Mindy Project will relish Kaling’s snapshots from the writers’ room and no-holds-barred depiction of the breakneck pace at which this writer/show-running actor lives while at work on her series. Readers less familiar with Kaling’s TV exploits will also find interesting food for thought in more extended pieces examining friendship and varying levels of intimacy. Though the collection might easily be relegated to the shelves of chick-lit memoir for its bald appeal to young women or “a gay man getting a present for your even gayer friend,” Kaling’s reflections on her own self-image reveal an admirable depth of introspection. Particularly motivational is the volume’s closing piece, in which the author calls out undeserved confidence: “Confidence is just entitlement...simply the belief that you deserve something. Which is great. The hard part is, you’d better make sure you deserve it.” Having had to continually face the gauntlet of questions of what it’s like enduring her Hollywood “otherness” due to her Indian origin, curvaceous figure, and willingness to speak the truth, Kaling espouses her hard-won mantra: “If you’ve got it, flaunt it. And if you don’t got it? Flaunt it. ’Cause what are we even doing here if we’re not flaunting it?”
Intrepid and often irreverent, Kaling humbly probes her own triumphs and defeats with laugh-out-loud results.