October 04th, 2021
I have such a book hangover (is this the right term?) over the last book I read. I basically just need a little bread to recover. The book that did me in was Madame Fourcade's Secret War about one of the leaders of the French Resistance. She survived the war, but many of her comrades did not. It was very, very good but it was absolutely a gut punch of read for me.
I'm going to work on some re-readings and see if I can get back to it. Maybe a lot of happy endings only romance type books? Or maybe some comic books? I own two of Mindy Kaling's books.
Title: Why Not Me?
Author: Mindy Kaling
Page Number: 228 pages (hardback)
Genre: nonfiction, comedy, memoir, essays
Publisher: Crown Archetype, an imprint from Penguin Random House
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 "Player" tells the story of Kaling being seduced and dumped by a female friend in L.A. ("I had been replaced by a younger model.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.
I liked Mindy's first book, Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me, so I picked this one up as well. I know Mindy from the Office and her show The Mindy Project but I've only seen the Office once through (that was enough for me) and only a few sporadic episodes of The Mindy Project. I mostly know of Mindy through her books.
I get that the Office is a big deal. I just don't find it relaxing and I'm not that keen on watching it over and over. I have friends who put it on and then just watch it constantly. It's on when they sleep and in the background of their life. Well, not Scotts Tots episode. It's just not for me.
Well, that was an aside. The book has four sections with multiple essays (chapters) in each section. For example, the first few chapters in section one deal with weddings, Hollywood secrets (tailoring, tanning, etc.), sorority time, etc. It's all loosely connected.
I find Mindy to be a lovely writer. She has a voice that's easy to follow-no matter the subject. She's able to talk about issues that seem so outlandish (her romantic affair with a Presidential Staffer) to mundane (acne). She's able to take many moments and add comedy, which I I find special. Not many people can joke (on a large stage) about things that could personally be upsetting, like a friend breakup. Does that make sense?
I thought the book cover was beautiful. That shade of blue is so eye catching and stunning. I think Michelle Obama picked a similar shade for her biography. In fact, I think Laura Bush is wearing a similar shade for her biography. It's the power blue!
I will note that while I laughed, I didn't think this was going to be a knock out award winning book. It's just not really built for that. It's a book on comedy and Mindy's work and life since her last book. She's not going to deep dive on her celebrity friends, her celebrity life, her thoughts on political maneuvers in East Asia. That's not her thing here. It's essays on how she feels about cake, weddings, friendship, work, and her daily schedule (jam packed at the time). So, not a huge esoteric romp but kinda like a series of emails you'd get from a good friend who's moved.
I did laugh at her speech (written about and transcribed) at Harvard Law. Mindy cracks some jokes and brings one of the professors in. It's online, so I'll find a link (if not that video).
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