Title: Why Not Me
Author: Mindy Kaling
Publisher: Crown Archetype
Release Date: September 15, 2015
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In Why Not Me?, Kaling shares her ongoing journey to find contentment and excitement in her adult life, whether it’s falling in love at work, seeking new friendships in lonely places, attempting to be the first person in history to lose weight without any behavior modification whatsoever, or most important, believing that you have a place in Hollywood when you’re constantly reminded that no one looks like you.
In “How to Look Spectacular: A Starlet’s Confessions,” Kaling gives her tongue-in-cheek secrets for surefire on-camera beauty, (“Your natural hair color may be appropriate for your skin tone, but this isn’t the land of appropriate–this is Hollywood, baby. Out here, a dark-skinned woman’s traditional hair color is honey blonde.”) “Player” tells the story of Kaling being seduced and dumped by a female friend in L.A. (“I had been replaced by a younger model. And now they had matching bangs.”) In “Unlikely Leading Lady,” she muses on America’s fixation with the weight of actresses, (“Most women we see onscreen are either so thin that they’re walking clavicles or so huge that their only scenes involve them breaking furniture.”) And in “Soup Snakes,” Kaling spills some secrets on her relationship with her ex-boyfriend and close friend, B.J. Novak (“I will freely admit: my relationship with B.J. Novak is weird as hell.”)
Mindy turns the anxieties, the glamour, and the celebrations of her second coming-of-age into a laugh-out-loud funny collection of essays that anyone who’s ever been at a turning point in their life or career can relate to. And those who’ve never been at a turning point can skip to the parts where she talks about meeting Bradley Cooper.
Usually, my reviews are pretty straightforward - in paragraph form, I talk about the characters, the plot, what I liked and what I disliked, but for my review of Why Not Me, I'm going to do a little something different. I listed down my favorite quotes from my favorite parts of the book (oh and believe me - there were A LOT, but I managed to pick just a few), and I'll talk about how I was able to relate to Mindy at that point in her life. (I keep fangirling but I adore how relateable Mindy is! Never mind that she's famous and a celebrity and I'm.. well... not... but she gets me! She really does!) So without further ado, here I go!
"Because talking about looks isn't important. It's just supposed to be fun."Yes. YES YES YES. I feel like a lot of people have forgotten that fashion is supposed to be FUN, and that it's a way for people to express themselves. It shouldn't be a way for people to sneer at each other; it shouldn't be a means for people to look down on each other... and Mindy GETS that. Fashion is supposed to make you feel better about yourself - it sure as hell should not make you feel horrible about who you are, and how you look.
"Until I realized: this long expanse of free time to rekindle friendships is not real. We will never come home to each other again and we will never have each other's undivided attention. That version of our friendship is over forever."
"It's traumatizing to think that a best friend could become just a friend. That's because there is virtually no difference between an acquaintance and a friend. But the gulf between a friend and a best friend is enormous and profound."Ahh... now this is something I really can relate to. I graduated from high school six years ago, and back then, I was always so sure that all of my friends then would be the people I'd grow old with. Things got a little bit harder when the day for us to start college arrived - we were all in different schools, studying different things, and we didn't get to see each other everyday. It was so easy to say "Don't worry about it - we'll see each other next weekend!", but next thing I know, 'next weekend' never came. Now, we're all adults out in the real world, and I've come to realize that we will never be the same friends we were in high school. I couldn't help but tear up when I read this bit, because I always thought that I have all the time in the world to rekindle friendships, but I don't. Some of those ships have already sailed, and some people whom I consider really good friends are now just acquaintances. Heartbreaking but true.
"But as any woman reading this will attest to, there are not many relationships more powerful that that of two women who fall fast and deep into a friendship. It was heartbreaking to be loved and left."Easily one of my favorite parts of Why Not Me is the part where Mindy talks about her friendship with her ex-BFF, Greta. They fall fast and hard into a friendship, and I'm sure so many women will agree with me here, we've all had that friendship before. The one where we thought that we've found that girl who gets the person we are now. The one who introduces us to new things; the one who we are kind of in awe of; the one we couldn't get enough of. And one day... she's gone. She's moved on, and we're left to pick up the pieces.
"Sometimes a story just needs an ending, and I used to not be a creative enough person to think of an ending to a romantic story that isn't a wedding or death. .... I could have made fireworks, but I chose to make a nuanced memory of a person who is neither a hero nor a villain in my life."Will. WILL WILL WILL. I CANNOT be the only one who googled 'Mindy Kaling White House' after reading Why Not Me because DAMN IT her whole fling with the mysterious Will, a White House aide, is what romantic novels are made of. I was giggling, (even squealing sometimes), and I loved when Mindy talked about how she and the writers of The Mindy Project used to discuss her budding romance. She also talked us through the highs and lows of the pseudo-relationship, and how hot and cold Will was. One minute he seemed really into her... and then poof - looks like he isn't after all. Mindy explores how her own feelings changed as a result (with me furiously nodding in the background and saying 'you go, girl!').
"Confidence is just entitlement. ... But entitlement in and of itself isn't so bad. Entitlement is simply the belief that you deserve something. Which is great. The hard part is, you'd better make sure you deserve it."This is the BEST advice ever. Like if people come up to me asking for advice, THIS is what I will say (I will credit Mindy though, don't worry!). Recently people always associate confidence with arrogance, but sometimes that isn't the case. If you know you've worked your ass off and you produced great results, why on earth won't you be confident about it? I love how Mindy takes care to point out that you HAVE to work hard though - you can't just feel entitled simply because your parents are rich, or whatever. If there's anything I learned about Mindy while reading Why Not Me, it's how ridiculously hard she works. Her schedule is INSANE!
"People do not get scared when you're failing. It calms them. ... But when you're winning, it makes them feel like they're losing, or, worse yet, that maybe they should've tried to do something too, but now it's too late. And since they didn't, they want to stop you. You can't let them."There are a lot of nuggets of wisdom in Why Not Me, but if you can make yourself remember only one thing about it, make sure it's this one right here. I had to pause for a moment after reading this part because I was blown away by how true it was, and I thus felt immediately saddened after. People are always so eager to criticize the accomplishments of others, and I myself remember how many times I would end up with the wind knocked out of my sails after people around me casually put down what I have achieved. Such a crazy world we live in, isn't it? But true to what Mindy says, we have to stand tall, and continue pushing forward. We can't let these naysayers stop us.
If it's not obvious from the incredibly long essay above, I enjoyed every page of Why Not Me. This is not one of those autobiographies where the author seemingly just preaches and preaches; rather, this is Mindy telling you about her life, what she has learned so far, and what she hopes you can learn from her. She may have been previously obsessed with getting people to like her, but now, she just wants us to know her. The real her. She makes you laugh out loud with her anecdotes, and at the turn of a page, she has you a little melancholy with her realizations about life. I honestly felt like I was chit-chatting with a friend while reading - that's how personal Mindy's writing was!
If I had to pick my favorite parts of Why Not Me, I would have to go with the chapter about Greta, the chapter about Will, the chapter where Mindy explains her relationship with BJ Novak, and finally, the chapter where Mindy imagines what her life would have been like had she not moved to LA and instead become a Latin Studies teacher. (Damn - Mindy is a genius. She even managed to add a little bit of fiction in her autobiography! How cool is that!?) Anyway, again, like it isn't obvious enough, if you're a fan of Mindy's, this book is for you. Heck, even if you're not a fan of Mindy's, this book is still for you!
Rating: 5 Stars