I don’t know why I seem to adore the celebrity memoir so much. I am particularly drawn when these are written by comediennes, or well, any female celebrity, who wants to empower their audience. For some reason, I am surprised that every time I read one of these books, I find myself screaming, “YES, <insert famous female name here>! You are my SPIRIT ANIMAL!” And basically, I just want to know that there are kick ass women in the world who are making a difference and I can look up to. That seems to be the draw.
And it’s working. I want Mindy Kaling to be my spirit animal.
It seems par for the course now that I go into these books not really knowing the body of work of the author. Continuing the trend, I don’t know much about Mindy Kaling. But in this case, I can honestly say I have never seen a single thing Mindy has ever done. Heck, I’ve never even heard her voice (I don’t think). But that doesn’t mean I don’t know her body of work and respect the crap out of everything she has done. I feel like everywhere I turn my friends are quoting her and commenting on the positive waves she is making in the world.
People get scared when you try to do something, especially when it looks like you’re succeeding. 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.
Why Not Me? is an eclectic collection of essays. It felt a bit like Mindy and I went out for coffee for some career advice, but coffee turned into appetizers, which turned into happy hour, which turned into full-on-dinner and a shared cab ride home. These essays collect Mindy’s thoughts on what it means to be a woman in comedy and television. More specifically, what did and did not contribute to her success and how it helped her grow as a person. I learned quite a bit.
As I expect is the case with almost everyone who reads this novel, my favorite essay is the title essay. Why not me? Explores Mindy’s fight to define her confidence– after all, everyone seems to be asking her about where it comes from. She shows her frustration with people who act like she is doing something radical by being on television. This isn’t about her race, her family background, her history, her sex– Mindy is where she is because she works hard. And, honestly, I don’t think enough people are encouraged to work hard any longer. It was incredibly refreshing to hear this addressed. This and (my favorite quote):
But it’s not that I think I’m so great. I just don’t hate myself. And the scary thing I have noticed is that some people really feel uncomfortable around women who don’t hate themselves.
Preach at me, Mindy. Preach.
I also love how honest and open Mindy is about her opinions and her life. She doesn’t care that much for pop culture (I’m not alone!), she adores cake, and she thinks filming sex scenes are awesome. She has a love-hate relationship with both food and her body, and a love-hate relationship with relationships (sexual and otherwise). She really could be my spirit animal.
In retrospect, I know I would have gotten more out of this collection of essays should I have listened to the audiobook. I didn’t laugh aloud at 99% of the jokes. But, I don’t really know Mindy’s sense of humor. There were way more jokes in here than I expected (because I’m an idiot- she makes her living off of jokes)! For example, her essay outlining she speech she gave to a Harvard Law graduating class was uncomfortable to read– but that’s because I only heard my own pacing in my head, and we all know I shouldn’t make jokes. That said, I didn’t appreciate her message any less.
I will leave you with one last piece of advice, which is: 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?
I strongly recommend this book to any fans of Mindy Kaling, or to anyone who just wants to hear some awesome and hilarious tidbits about a real person. Because that’s all Mindy is– a genuine, caring, concerned human being who is trying to be the best she can be. I respect that. And we could all learn a thing or two from it.
For more information on Mindy Kaling check out her website.
I received this book from Blogging for Books for this review.