I am at best unsure of how I feel about Mindy Kaling. I detested her character on The Office – Kelly Kapoor drove me nuts. I did love some of the episodes she scripted for The Office, and The Mindy Project is some of my favorite television right now, but not always because of Kaling herself. Sometimes her brand of humor, or the humor she surrounds herself with, just don’t work for me. I can really appreciate a show without always finding it funny. And that is also how I feel about much of this book.
Why Not Me is a collection of essays focused around Kaling’s life in the past few years. She’s circling everything from getting her own show launched, to public expectations about her image and body, to being a minority in Hollywood, the reflecting on her college days and how it affects her lasting friendships and what true friendship looks like over 30. This is all well written and interesting, but left me wanting. In fact, it made me love Felicia Day’s You’re Never Weird on the Internet (Almost) even more.
The best chapters by far are the ones where she discusses dating someone who works in the West Wing and the titular chapter where she goes back and answers the question “where does your confidence come from?” properly for the young woman who had the courage to ask the question at a public event in New York. Both of these chapters expose the real heart and soul of Kaling, and what she values and how she sees the world.
I also discovered that I really do enjoy Kaling the comedy writer. The chapter where she writes the fictionalized version of her life as a Latin teacher would make a fantastic movie and she should get on that.