Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? (and Other Concerns)
In the introduction, Kaling says of herself, “I’m only marginally qualified to be giving advice at all. My body mass index is certainly not ideal, I frequently use my debit card to buy things that cost less than three dollars, because I never have cash on me, and my bedroom is so untidy it looks like vandals ransacked the Anthropologie Sale section. I’m kind of a mess.” And yet, she’s written a compelling, humorous memoir, with occasional advice. The advice she does offer is based on her own, real-life experiences and all the more valuable for its lack of childhood trauma.
As a writer, producer and actress on The Office, Kaling is in a perfect position to dish on Hollywood. And while she does some name-dropping, it’s always in the context of her own experience. For example, “When [she] heard of a ‘television writing job in New York City,’ [she] imagined a Gossip Girl-type aesthetic. [Her] outfits of button-down shirts, an ironic broach, men’s ties, kilts, and gold high-tops were completely stupid in the face of Seth Meyers’s subtly awesome gray T-shirts and Levi’s for whatever. So, lesson one: fashion plays a relatively unimportant role in the day-to-day work life of Saturday Night Live. Okay, learned that.” At a time when the book market is flooded with tales of success despite grossly dysfunctional childhoods, Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? is a refreshing story of triumph over mediocrity.