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Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me, Mindy Kaling

2012/01/06

I may be one of the few people of my particular generation who is indifferent to “The Office.” I am not disinclined to watch it, but make no concerted effort to seek it out (which is actually my attitude towards most of the offerings of television). What appealed to me in this book was the fact that it was written by an apparently successful, single, witty and intelligent Asian Indian female in the entertainment industry.

Kaling writes in a somewhat chronological fashion, describing her childhood and teenage years as a fairly typical, non-popular student, who, upon reaching high school, finds the Mellencamp song “Jack and Diane” “a little disgusting… why are these kids no home doing their homework? Why aren’t they setting the table for dinner or helping out around the house? Who allows their kids of hang out in parking lots? Isn’t that loitering? I wish there was a song called ‘Nguyen and Ari,’ a little ditty about a hardworking Vietnamese girl who helps her parents with the franchised Holiday Inn they run, and does homework in the lobby, and Ari, a hardworking Jewish boy who does volunteer work at his grandmother’s old-age home, and they meet after school at Princeton Review” (33). She describes her time after college, living in New York with two friends, as “failing at everything in the greatest city on Earth” (47).

Though Kaling is smart and funny throughout her essays, the book is about the right length; any more would result in trying a little too hard, as she does in some sections already. Still, this is an amusing and easy read from an Asian American female writer, and is worth a look.

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