Why Not Me? By Mindy Kaling is 223 pages in length. There is a page for acknowledgments and another page for photo credits at the end of the book. Composed of essay style writing where Mindy Kaling talks directly to the audience. Total numbered pages by the end of the book is 228.
I should take a moment myself and talk directly to my audience. I feel the need to say I did not go out of my way to find this book and I did not willing pay money for this specific book alone. I went online and bought one of those monthly boxes that is filled with different types of items. The month of May, this was the book of choice. I felt the need to say that because I was not satisfied with what I read. That’s fine, we all read a book from time to time that we are unsatisfied with. It is nice to remember though that I didn’t seek this book out with excitement, it found me.
Also, disclaimer for the rest of this review:
**THE FOLLOWING REVIEW MAY HAVE LANGUAGE NOT SUITABLE FOR ALL AUDIENCES. THE FOLLOWING REVIEW DISCUSSES ALCOHOL AND INAPPROPRIATE LANGUAGE. THE FOLLOWING REVIEW IS RECOMMENDED FOR AN AUDIENCE ABOVE AGE 16/17 YEARS OF AGE. **
The author discusses her whole life in bits and pieces throughout her book. She discusses what the average day looks like for her and then inserts memories from her childhood. There is a brief section describing what her childhood was like.
I understand the point in the book is to mainly talk about herself and her amazing life as a celebrity. Good for her, right? There were some touching heartfelt moments where she reached out to the audience and focused on something she had done wrong before and now has grown from the experience. There are some situations she has caused that were less than flattering that she now laughs off. Both are important in the human experience and especially as a message to deliver to anyone unsure of them self while reading this book. I did like those parts she shared with us.
However, page 83 made me mad. Okay, the whole page did not make me mad but a very important part made me mad. I oddly and sadly assume she meant the statement as a joke or sarcasm, but we all know how well sarcasm can be misunderstood through text alone. Not every one of her readers are die hard fans of her, and she even acknowledges that throughout the book. Such as claiming readers may be gay, checking the book out for an “even gayer friend.”
“If you’re reading this, you’re probably a woman. Or perhaps you’re a gay man getting a present for your even gayer friend.” (Page four.)
With that being said, she should understand that there are certain things you should phrase carefully or being willing to add that you’re just kidding after the punchline. For example, in one chapter near page 83 she references a big meeting she had. She goes into detail about this meeting, how important it is/was, and then her daily activities leading up to the big meeting as well her actions after the big important meeting was over with. She writes this:
” I drove to the Fox lot across town, parked, drank two shots from a bottle of Jose Cuervo that I keep on the floor of my passenger seat, arranged my breasts so it looked like I had filled in a solid B-cup, dissolved enough Listerine breath strips on my tongue so the inside of my mouth was burning, and raced across the lot, hoping not to run into Rubert Murdoch in my Keds (I wear Keds to every meeting and then go to the restroom and change into my “slutty career woman” stilettos before I actually see anyone important).” (Page 79.)
Fast forward to page 83 she wraps up this essay by saying this:
“I think that’s the lesson of this story: you never know what is going to happen.”
Then proceeds to make a short list of “Other lessons.” By now you are probably wondering why I’m singling this part of the book out the most and giving it so much attention. Seven items down the list of “other lessons” is:
“* It’s OK to drink tequila in the car if you just had a really good meeting.”
Wait…what?! I read that part and I wanted to trash the book at once. Ladies and gentlemen, in case you need to know, most of America has a law of no drinking alcoholic beverages before or while driving. The before part is wide known, the while driving part is considered an open container. You are allowed to transport alcohol from point A to point B, however, it cannot be opened inside the vehicle at any time. You can put it in a cooler in the trunk if you are going to an event that is a Bring Your Own Beverage (B.Y.O.B) style. A person can put the container, not in a cooler, in the trunk of the vehicle. You can often times put sealed containers in a cooler in the back seat, especially if you have a small trunk. To rephrase into simple terms, you can transport sealed or unsealed alcoholic beverages in your trunk because it is out of range of the driver and passengers. You cannot carry opened containers of alcohol in your vehicle in most states, period.
“Most states have laws prohibiting passengers and drivers from drinking alcohol or possessing an open container of alcohol in a vehicle. However, a handful of states—including Connecticut, Delaware, Missouri, and Mississippi—don’t have open container restrictions on the books.”
“Passengers Drinking Alcohol in a Vehicle and Open Container Laws …”
Got this piece from a Google search.
Page 83, specifically “other lessons” number seven bothered me. If it was intended as a joke, it was without a doubt, the worst joke in the whole book. There were plenty of bad jokes or jokes of poor taste, that’s what she brags about throughout the whole book. But this one joke was no laughing matter.
I’m not offended, I’m just being honest. That is one part of her book, as an editor or proofreader, I would have told her to cut it out of the book. She could have left in the part in the essay stating that she did have an open container in her car and drank tequila before the meeting and I would have passed over it without a second thought. It was when she literally said it was OK to alcohol in a car IF you have a really good reason for it. Mindy Kaling, if I was you, I’d stop having open containers in my car before you get a DUI like a lot of other celebrities have. The rest of America can not get away with drinking alcohol in their car simply because they have a really good reason. That one part of the story made me question how out of touch with reality she must be if she thinks our laws do not apply to her and other celebrities.
I believe there is a reason why this bothered me even more once I finished the book. Page 215 she writes an essay about a Q & A she was onstage for. She notes the food and drinks before, that there was no real meal, and she was really hungry. She noted how tired she was due to her long day of events and travels leading up to the Q & A. She notes that her crowd was primarily an older white crowd. Mindy mentions this event was her last stop before being able to finally go her hotel, take off her pants, eat food and watch a TV show as she fell asleep. None of this really stood out as odd or wrong obviously.
She discusses how as the line of people came up to ask questions at the end looked oddly different from the crowd average. Mostly young women of color is how Mindy described the line of questioners. She writes this essay showing a side of her that made a poor choice. She described the day leading up to this moment, and her current state of mind during the moment. It was also the reaction from the person involved that really caught her attention that the moment was not right on her part. This young girl, looked around 15 years of age asked a simple yet complicated question. She asked Mindy about her confidence and how she is able to be so confident.
Mindy did a wonderful job explaining why her response to the young girl was not, in her opinion, a valuable response. She explains that the young woman was not feeling confident because of her own life and race and was looking for someone like her to lead her into the light of happiness. Mindy explains how being tired, hungry, and having this question asked over and over again throughout her career led her to give a basic answer that suggested Mindy was brushing this young woman off. In this part of the essay, Mindy retracted the previous advice on the night of the Q & A, and issued new advice directly to the girl and hoping she would forgive Mindy for that night. She blamed it on other outside factors that had nothing to do with her but with being a woman and the stress of being success, such as wearing Spanx for a long period of time prior to the question being asked.
The advice given is quoted below.
“Word hard, know your shit, show your shit, and then feel entitled. Listen to no one except the two smartest and kindest adults you know, and that doesn’t always mean your parents. If you do that, you will be fine. Now, excuse me, I need to lie down and watch Sheldon.” (Page 223.)
Odd way to word advice to a stranger you don’t even know very well. Especially a stranger that was a minor the first time you met her. Shit is not the worst word you could have used while giving advice to a minor but was it necessary either? I rarely mix my advice with my foul language unless it’s an adult conversation and needed with the right context. That’s a story for a different time though. I was mentioning why page 83, “other lessons” number seven bothered me a little more after I finished the book. This is why. She spoke about a minor, gave the minor direct advice and acknowledged the possibility of minors reading her writings.
In my unprofessional opinion, she gave permission to minors to have and consume open containers of alcohol in their vehicles. The word I’m thinking of here is inadvertently. I highly doubt she meant to OK open containers in vehicles as serious sound advice. I want to believe it was a joke. I want to believe that specific part was sarcasm meets odd humor and that we should all be smart enough to know better. I want to believe that so bad. But I don’t believe it. Sadly, there’s a large part of me that believes she is OK with that “sound advice” and is out of touch with reality. California has open container laws regarding both passengers and drivers. Meaning, it is illegal to have open containers for both passengers and drivers inside the vehicle. The link I provided earlier in this review breaks it down and lists which states do and do not have laws regarding open containers in vehicles down to just the driver or the passenger included. This being said, she “jokingly” or seriously OK’d her audience to have an open container of alcohol in their vehicle and drink alcohol before driving, as long as you have a really good reason. Inadvertently to minors as well adults old enough to consume alcohol.
I’m not afraid of vulgar and foul language, I love a good inappropriate joke as the next pervert. But I was unhappy when I finally finished reading this book. There were parts that made me smile, laugh even. There were parts that made me a little sad as well, and one part where I was hopeful for Mindy Kaling. Overall, I was disappointed to learn who Mindy Kaling claimed to be. These were mostly her own words. There was a part she made up for fun, a little fiction story of what life would be like if she wasn’t who she is or if she was a teacher instead of an actress/writer. I’m sure the real Mindy Kaling is an amazing, crazy, funny, decent human. I’m sure I am just overreacting to this book for whatever reason. I would not recommend this book to anyone on Earth. It is a waste of time and I had to force myself to read it all the way through.
To Mindy Kaling, I wish you the best, I truly do. I hope your other books are better than this one. Unfortunately, this was not a book for me. This was not a book I would approve of due to page 83 and due to your “shit” filled advice to a minor. Luckily for you though, you don’t need the opinion of an “unsuccessful hater” to complete you. I do think you look beautiful the way you are though physically and I did enjoy those parts of your book. Discussing your body image and the image projected onto you by Hollywood, journalists, fans, and society. Those were well written just the way they are and I did enjoy those parts. I think that it’s best if I don’t follow your career and cheer for you or root you on. I wil never wish for your failure though. Your success and/or your failure do not impact me in the slightest bit. Thus, I will always wish you the success you dream of. P.S. Stay away from Bradley Cooper, he’s totally mine. (Kidding, he doesn’t even know I exist, and he does know you exist, you have that one up on me with him.)
In all seriousness. This book made me sad because I went into it with expectations. It was nothing like I assumed and that is my fault, not Mindy Kaling’s fault. I still would not recommend it but if you do choose to read it, or already have read it, please share your thoughts. I’m curious if anyone else got the same poor vibe I did. Please, no need to bash the author (I’ve read some reviews of her online about her choice to be a feminist and they were not kind) or myself, we are all different in our own ways, just your opinion on this specific book would be appreciated. Thank you for your time and I apologize if this review is ALL over the place. I was hesitant to write a review on this book, it left a bittersweet aftertaste for me.