Why Not Me?, like Mindy Kaling’s previous book Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? (And Other Concerns), is a collection of personal essay memoirs that deal with the issues that most people deal with: family, dating and other relationships all while setting, chasing and achieving career goals. While always being aware that being a minority and a woman in Hollywood would be obstacles, she did not allow them to stop her from pursuing her passion or stifle her talents as a writer. While still in her 20s, Kaling’s big break into Hollywood was as a writer and actress on the show The Office.
In several of her essays, Kaling addresses the fact that while the media is obsessed with her weight and looks, she is comfortable in her own skin, though she does have moments of insecurity that cause her to go on juice cleanses and other fad diets that have positive results, but are also the cause of some funny or ironic experiences, like not being able to flaunt her new figure because going out on dinner dates interferes with her dieting. When not dieting, she has no qualms carb loading when she alone reaches for the dinner roll basket ignored by fellow diners or eating and tweeting about the delicious goodness of McDonald’s. She even admits to inhaling offered leftover fries while standing beside a trash can after a fellow writer states he does not want them.
The content of the essays are interesting, but Kaling’s sarcastic and humorous tone are what make some of the extraordinary experiences, like kinda dating a President Obama Secret Service man, seem relatable. Everyone knows the feeling of anxiety of waiting for a reply text after a first date or worrying about who will show up for your party. Even when Kaling expresses regret at failing to offer a useful answer to a young girl who asked her where she got her confidence, she slips in a joke about being in a foul mood from being travel weary and hungry. Whether you’re a fan of The Office or The Mindy Kaling Project, Why Not Me? is a great read for anyone who enjoys a good laugh while reading about the pitfalls and rises of someone else’s life without the usual seriousness and dryness of a straightforward memoir. I’ve never watched an episode of either show, but after reading both Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? (And Other Concerns) and Why Not Me? I plan to check them out on Netflix and Hulu.