I did not know anything about Mindy Kaling going into this book, other than a long-held assumption of mine that she was a Tina Fey wannabe. However, after reading her book, I have come to learn that Mindy Kaling actually is a Tina Fey wannabe. If you found yourself attracted to Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me (and Other Concerns), do yourself a favor and just read Bossypants.
Kaling’s book is full of lists. In her introduction she lists other titles that were considered for the book. Each chapter includes one or more lists on varying items; the subject matter ranges from comedians she admires to lists so long that the reader eventually forgets what its original purpose was. This is the case more often than not.
She tries very, very hard to be funny, which only succeeds in generating sympathy and embarrassment. The entire time I was reading this book, I just felt bad that Kaling was such a far cry from her obvious idol, and that this effort was such a blatant ripoff of Fey’s Bossypants.
I checked out the Amazon reviews to find some camaraderie in my hatred of this book, but surprisingly, people love it. Everyone seems to feel like Kaling’s voice is honest and her anecdotes are delightful. Believe me – this is not true. Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me is as formulaic as they come: Let me tell you about my awkward upbringing. Then I will tell you about my humorously creative college experience. Then I will beguile you with tales of how I broke into show business, all while I pretend to be modest when clearly I want to brag to you about everything I have achieved and how funny I think it all is.
I’m not even a huge fan of Bossypants, I just suddenly feel the overwhelming need to defend it in the face of the painful mockery that is Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me (and Other Concerns). If you want something entertaining in this format, though, you have to go with Tina Fey.