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VINE VOICEon November 1, 2011
Mindy Kaling, writer/actress on The Office, is funny. Very funny. She can turn an average story about summer camp, to one where the main character (herself) falls off a diving board, bleeds upon hitting the water, and is told, by an older camp counselor, to never tell her parents about the situation. She turned an ongoing gag with her friend into an award-winning play/TV show pilot. So, it's natural progression for her to try her hand at writing a book.

People will almost definitely compare Kaling's new book, Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? (And Other Concerns) to Tina Fey's best-seller, Bossypants. It's not because the two authors look the same (they don't), or are on the same TV show (they're not), it's mostly because the two are well-known female television writers and actors. And Kaling knows the comparison will come, as she points out in the beginning of her book, noting that Fey's book will be seen as better.

"Unfortunately, I can't be Tina, because it's very difficult to lure her into a Freaky Friday-type situation where we could switch bodies, even though in the movies they make it look so easy. Believe me, I've tried."

The thing is, she shouldn't see it that way. While I haven't read Bossypants, I can say that Kaling's book is really very good. Smart and funny, she writes with an honest voice. The book reads more like a letter to a friend than a memoir, and I liked that about it. Because the book isn't really a memoir - sure, it's true stories about her life - but it's broken up into short essays, much like that of Sedaris (only much more conversational). She only mentions the humorous or thought provoking parts of her life, those that contributed to her career today. The book also has lists (or pliests as she calls them), essays that are mainly lists. (Like my favorite, "Best Friend Rights and Responsibilities.")It worked well. (However, it did leave me hanging at times. Like, why wasn't Brenda in California? When did Mindy become Kelly on The Office? I want details!)

The book is divided into a few different sections, which span her life: "I Forget Nothing: A Sensitive Kid Looks Back" (on her childhood), "I Love New York and It Likes Me Okay" (her move to NY and attempts to break into writing), "Hollywood: My Good Friend Who Is Also A Little Embarrassing" (her time on The Office), "The Best Distraction In The World: Romance and Guys" (obvious), "My Appearance: The Fun and the Really Not Fun" (her style and look), and "My All-Important Legacy" (her planned funeral, of course). Her writing is fast and always attention grabbing. The stories are never too long, and give you just enough detail to feel satisfied. (And, yes, I loved when she dropped in the names of celebrities. Amy Poehler is nice! I knew it!) But what I liked most was that even with every funny instance, there's a lot of heart in the book. She loves her job and it shows. She didn't break into the industry easy, and reading about her progression was inspiring.

Her story about how her play, Matt & Ben (a not-so-true story of the Matt Damen/Ben Affleck friendship) came to be was fantastic. I loved her attempts at babysitting (where she got to discuss the merits of N'Sync), and and stories of writing for SNL. And it broke my heard to hear her discuss how, during a photo shoot for People magazine, only size 0 dresses were available. She has a gift to write about painful moments, but make them feel hopeful and light.

I felt like, towards the end, she was trying to find something else to write about (thus the essays on romance). It's not to say they were bad - they were just as good - but I would have liked more personal stories.

I like Kaling because she doesn't make excuses for herself. She loves the color pink and shopping. She posts pictures of her getting zits before big interviews. Truly, she's just being herself and it's refreshing. I admit, I've only seen a handful of episodes of The Office, but the book convinced me to tune in. (I admittedly really wanted to read this because I love her blog. Have you read it? Go to it now.)

Kaling's book is remarkably enjoyable, and spotlights the writer in a new way.In the introduction, she says she'd like to be friends with Beyonce. Well, I'd like to be friends with her.
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on November 1, 2011
In her book Mindy claims to want to be friends with Beyonce, but after reading this book I think Beyonce would rather be friends with Mindy. I've always enjoyed her character on The Office and randomly bought this book last night. I read it until my eyes crossed and then woke up and finished it today. She is irresistibly funny and charming. I laughed out loud throughout out the whole book. I have a feeling this is just the beginning of her career or at least I hope so!

If you like Chelsea Handler's books or Tina Fey's then read this one asap. It is just as funny, if not funnier, and actually much more relatable. Her personal stories, lists, and general musings flow together and by the end of the book you will feel like you know her and want to go brunch with her. It is just entertaining. If you are looking for a deep emotional book full of metaphors about the meaning of life and only enjoy a book that makes you sound smart, because you read it then this book is not for you. Actually, if you are that person read it, because you need to lighten up and laugh and this book will do that for you. My only complaint is that it went by so fast and left me wanting more.

I hope she writes another one soon, because I can't remember the last time I was that entertained.
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on November 11, 2011
This book was a lot of fun to read, all the way through. I found myself laughing out loud at several points (often in public, which was somewhat of an issue). If you want an easy read that is entertaining, this book will not disappoint. It's kind of like just hanging out with your most hilarious girlfriend.

I think this would be a good gift for a middle-school - college-aged girl because Mindy was a fairly normal girl who became a successful woman because she had an excellent education, a supportive family, and worked hard to develop her talent. However, don't take that to mean that this book is preachy in any way, because it is not. Mindy simply tells her story, and it just so happens that she didn't have to sleep around or pretend to be an idiot to become successful. I feel like that is a message that young women don't get enough of.

This book is another blow to the myth that women aren't funny. If you don't laugh at all while reading this book, check your pulse, I think you might be dead.
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on December 3, 2011
Have you ever wondered if everyone was hanging out without you? No? Oh, okay.

There's nothing like reading a memoir type book and being able to relate to the author. Mindy and I have a lot in common. We both would like to be friends with Beyonce. We both put on the freshman thirty-five and have big appetites. And I realized I'm not the only person to memorize my credit card numbers to shop online with quick ease. The fact that Mindy Kaling is also the writer, actress and producer of The Office show (which is a chapter in the book) added more to her interesting life story. It is obvious why she is a comedy writer.

Mindy Kaling writes about romance, dating, friendships, childhood, Hollywood and unfair funny situations. On page 13, Mindy predicts it will take two days to read this book. "If you're reading this book every night for months, something is not right." Her prediction is true. It only took two days to start and finish. I enjoyed every minute spent reading it. I think you will too.

Literary Marie
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on September 28, 2012
I feel like it took an eternity for me to finish this book. It certainly had funny moments and was entertaining. However, I felt the book just did not flow well and I had to force myself to continue reading, instead of wanting to read it. I should say that I'm not a fan of the Office and don't really know a lot of Ms. Kaling's work, but decided to read it since it was highly recommend by goodreads because I loved Sarah Silverman's and Tina Fey's books. I hate to knock any predictive algorithm, but they were dead wrong about this. Sure they are all female comedians writing a memoire, but I strongly felt that Mindy kept me at an arms length. Anything revealed in the book was something you would tell strangers at a party, while Ms Silverman and Fey would share intimate details and thoughts that really changed the way I thought of them and also forced me examine my own actions.
Maybe you just have to be more familiar with Ms. Kaling's work to enjoy this, since my sister absolutely loved it (she's also a huge Office fan), but I would not recommend this book to anyone - especially to fans of Bedwetter and Bossypants.
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on November 7, 2011
She's so cute, don't you think? I love Kelly on the Office. Prior to this book, I really had no idea Mindy was a writer, and I'm really impressed with her accomplishments in the entertainment industry. That said, I felt as if for most of the book I was reading the diary ramblings of a 13 year old girl. I didn't buy the book with any expectations of self-revelations, so I assure you I wasn't disappointed, but it felt like one of those books teenage best friends write with one another thinking its sooo hilarious with its inside jokes and random name dropping, but everyone on the outside just doesn't really get it. I wish I got it, I really do. It made me want to be her friend. So, Mindy, if everyone is hanging out without you, come to South Florida and we can hang out and make tons of funny sketches (I do a great Martha Stewart), and then write a book about it so then I know what is going on.
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on January 1, 2014
My wife and I share my Amazon account and, typically, my inbox fills up with all of the purchase notifications sent by the company. And I mean ALL. Originally I wondered if my account was hacked and why would thieves make ridiculous purchases such as the Hunger Games and Bossy Pants (or whatever the title is). After a bit of inquiry, I can now, somewhat-safely, assume the email-notifications are simple requests for reviewing the books she buys. However, in this case, a book I've never read deserves a review.

This past week of Christmas felt like a cannonball run over a 5 day period. We are a couple of SINKs (like a DINK but I'm finishing up my MFA, so...) who often are expected to do the traveling between many states within a very hasty, intense, hyper-caloric-infused, few crazy days to see both sides of our family. Generally, this means we travel by car and spend a LOT of time behind the wheel trying not to kill each other out of boredom.

What made this year really nutty and unique was that we could ONLY afford to travel by car after recently moving to the DC area. Our families live in both Upstate New York and Vermont and to not see them would grant us an automatic fail in their books (not really, but we sometimes wonder as first-borns). As mentioned before, we don’t have kids (often an opportunistic, golden-ticket for not traveling) and our furry, pissed-off cat will not grant us any pass.

We do love our family, and we do want to see them, but 10 to 12 consecutive hours in the car, confronting an ice-storm no less, is tough. Real tough. And if anyone knows what it’s like to travel during the holiday season by car, it can sometimes feel like you’re crazy-town-banana-pants, weaving in and out of lanes of people paying attention to nothing, but crooning their Christmas Carols on their iPod. Why their iPod? Other than convenience, if you travel the routes we have to, typically, you’re driving through radio deadzones with nothing more than three choices: static, Christian Rock or Rod Stewart. No slam to born-again lyrics or Stewartness, they both have their place, but I cannot personally handle too much exposure to either for a lengthy period of time. We also did not have an iPod.

At some point during the leg of the trip, my wife, in the passenger seat, snickered while looking down at her Kindle. I asked her what was so funny. She shrugged it off and continued to read. After realizing my wife and I know a lot about each other, and mooning truck drivers while driving was out of the question, I looked for ANY WAY to be entertained for the rest of the day during our first leg of travel. So I proceeded to pry and she informed me it was simply something silly that Mindy said in her book. She then offered to read the passage out loud. I chuckled. The style of Mindy’s telling of an event in her life was very well written and humorous. Next thing you know, my wife and I were laughing the hours away, practically in tears, as she re-read the book orally, front to back, for the remainder of the trip.

What makes this book so great is how truthful Mindy shares her anecdotes. She’s smart, witty and honest. At first glance, things felt very arbitrary and self-centered, but in fact, so are we and what we pay attention to from time to time. She provided a great balance of what you’d expect - “this is Mindy’s path to success” - with a very humanistic, modest look at her past. She teaches us how parents will continue to be an interesting influence in our choices, how success is sometimes “I got lucky”, and then throws in smatterings of “So here are some selfies I found on my blackberry”. Random? Yes. Relatable? Completely. Made me think of ridiculous things in my past and that maybe I’m on the right path to what I would consider success.

So aside from greatly improving upon our lively experience during our trip to Vermont, Mindy gave me perspective. I don’t read as much as my wife does, but if many books were written like Mindy’s, I’d probably read a lot more of them. And who knows… Maybe even make it a tradition that my wife is to read out loud during our annual cannonball run. We’ll probably even save crazy-town-Bossy-Pants for next Christmas.
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on December 1, 2011
When I say Mindy is like us, I'm referring to the fact that she shares the same insecurities, yo-yo dieting, random tangents and thoughts, and love for the small things like converse sneaks and cupcakes (well she used to love cupcakes) that us non-celebrity/famous "normal" people do. My fiance bought me this book last week, which was a week full of stress, anxiety and well you know, the roller coaster of emotions that being a woman, we all have the pleasure of enduring from time to time. Anyway, when I opened my email and found he bought me the kindle version, my sadness and stress was immediately transformed into glee and happiness. As a writer myself who loves storytelling and sharing my quirky thoughts and embarrassing situations with others, I immediately connected with Mindy's voice from page 1. I'm an avid watcher of the hit American show "The Office" (and am still obsessed with the British version) and have not only enjoyed Mindy's episodes she wrote to the point I'm choking on my own spit laughing so hard but have also admired her ambition and success as a female comedy writer. Needless to say, I swept through "Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me" in less than a few days.
The book lacks any real structure; however, Mindy's words are so brilliant and hysterical, who cares? Reading this book, I felt like I was being assured, "I'm not the only one". I'm not the only one who fantasizes about being a kick-ass girl hero while running four miles several times throughout the week. I'm not the only one who doesn't get 'one-night stands'. I'm not the only one who cherishes my girlfriends more than life itself. And well, I'm not the only one with a perverse sense of humor and when I say perverse, I mean when someone (stranger/fiance/mom) falls down (literally), my first reaction is to bust out laughing and THEN ask them if they're all right and help them up. No, I'm not the only one.
Gwyneth Paltrow may have developed 'GOOP' as a means to connect to us "regular gals"; however, Mindy's book will ACTUALLY connect with you. Thank you Mindy for sharing your honest experiences with the rest of us and showing that in order to get to the place you want to be will take hard work and most often times rejection, but if you kick hard enough you might just get there.
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on January 24, 2015
After reading this book, I started watching her show on Hulu. I love good tv -- Homeland, Americans, Game of Thrones, Ray Donavon, etc -- and now the Mindy Project is one of my favorites. But this review is for her book, so here that goes: She's so, so funny and makes you feel like you're reading something a friend wrote, not something by a celebrity. It's good for women of all ages (my mom is loving it now too). Of course, Mindy does a fantastic job of letting us know that not every woman needs to be 5'10" and rail-thin to be beautiful. I just adore her.
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on September 2, 2015
I recently ordered Mindy Kaling's book "Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me?" And when I got to page 54, the very next page was 135. I flipped through the book looking for page 54 and found page 166 was next to 87. I think my book was printed incorrectly and I don't know who I need to contact for a replacement book! I've attached a photo to show you what I mean. Needless to say, I can't find page 55.
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