Book Review: Why Not Me?

The release of Mindy Kaling’s new book was highly anticipated by fans and critics alike and being the bookworm that I am, it seems only natural that I bought Why Not Me? on its release date, September 15. For those who have read Kaling’s debut humor book, Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? (And Other Concerns), it is evident that funny is a trend in her writing.

Books written by celebrities seem to be published as frequently as selfies on Instagram, but more often than not, they lack any substance or humor. Sometimes they’re not even penned by the celebrity in question. I was glad to read Kaling’s essays, as they had authentic flare, wit, and at times even made me laugh out loud.

Unlike Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? (And Other Concerns), which contained several essays illustrating Kaling’s adolescent years growing up in Cambridge, Massachusetts, Why Not Me? gives readers a glimpse of Kaling’s college experiences and modern life as a successful show runner. As some may already know, along with playing Kelly Kapoor, Dunder Mifflin’s sassy customer service rep on The Office, Kaling was also a writer for the hit series. Throughout the book, Kaling includes anecdotes of her time as a staff and cast member on The Office and the bond she formed with B.J. Novak, who played her on screen boyfriend Ryan Howard and also served as a director, producer, and writer for the show. Kaling and Novak’s relationship is often misconstrued in the media, so Kaling sets the record straight for readers…sort of, anyway. She writes, “I will freely admit, my relationship with B.J. Novak is weird as hell. He is not my boyfriend, but he is not exactly my best friend. The best way I would describe him is that he is my ex-husband, and we have a son who is away at boarding school, so our fighting can never get that bad, because it would upset our child. I don’t think Facebook would accept that as a new status. They would just categorize it as it’s complicated.”

I love how Kaling uses witty comparisons to explain her life on the pages of this book. She has a kind of dry/dead pan humor that at certain points makes the writing slow, but with one punch line, the story instantaneously becomes hilarious. Even when she explains the process of her show The Mindy Project being rejected by NBC and later picked up by FOX, her self deprecating success story will have any pop culture junkie crying of laughter. “I had finally done it. I had created a show. Not for Must-See TV, home of Cheers and Friends. But for FOX, home of Married…with Children and Joe Millionaire. You never quite get everything you want the way you want it.”

Why Not Me? is certainly a must read if you’re a fan of Mindy Kaling. I’ll admit that I enjoyed reading Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? (And Other Concerns), as well as other works by fellow comic writers, Tina Fey, Lena Dunham, and the late Nora Ephron, more than this one, but it is still a fine compilation of humorous essays.