A few years ago, when I was living with roommates in New York City, I read Mindy Kaling’s first book. One night while I was reading after work, my roommate rushed into my bedroom, because she’d overheard my hysterical noises from her own room. She’d assumed I was hysterically crying and came in to comfort me. In fact, I was hysterically laughing and nearly wetting myself.
I picked up Mindy’s second collection of essays, Why Not Me?, a few weeks back, and I was so excited to dive in. While I didn’t end up hysterically laughing as often as I had while reading her first novel, I really respect the silly honesty that Mindy applies to every story she tells, and I liked that she hit on some more weighty subject matter in this one.
One of my favorite essays within the collection was the very first one, How to Look Spectacular: A Starlet’s Confessions. In this chapter, Mindy dives into the ridiculous steps we ladies take to look our loveliest. I love how transparent Mindy is about it all, and I also love her attitude towards it; She admits that she both loves the way she looks when all done up, and understands that it’s crazy that she has to get so done up. She walks through the creepy satisfaction of buying and wearing real human hair extensions, and the bizzare skin-clearing technology that’s out there these days. I chuckled a lot through this chapter, and not just because she threw an unexpected picture of Gollum in there.
Mindy also talks a lot about confidence, which is where this book really hit home for me. When I entered the workplace and real world at 22 years old, I felt young and out of place; like I didn’t deserve to be there. I thought that feeling would dissipate as I aged, and when it lasted well into my late 20’s, I started putting some serious work into correcting the negative-self talk that was bringing my confidence down. One of my favorite quotes from the book reads “Confidence is just entitlement. Entitlement has gotten a bad rap…but entitlement in and of itself isn’t so bad. Entitlement is simply the belief that you deserve something. Which is great. The hard part is, you’d better make sure you deserve it.” Mindy goes on to say that hard work- and acknowledgement of your own hard work- is what really helps a person gain confidence.
Sidenote: Why Not Me? also has several super witty essays on dating that I appreciated so much.
Overall this book is really solid. I wouldn’t say it’s a must read unless (like me) you enjoy and connect deeply with all of the books being written by strong female comedians.
Now You Tell Me…
- Reading anything good lately? I just started John Greene’s newest novel and I’m loving it!
- Any other great nonfiction books I should put on my list? Comedy preferred!