Humor · Memoir/Biography/Autobiography · Nonfiction

Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? (And Other Concerns)

I listened to this as an audiobook. That’s not something I normally do, but I was looking at a 3.5 hour (each way!) trip in two days…by myself. That may not sound too bad, but my husband loves driving, so I cannot remember the last time I’ve driven more than an hour and a half straight, and definitely not by myself in the car. So, on the way out of town I had the brilliant idea to stop at the library and get an audiobook. I saw this one on the shelf and was really excited – it’s been on my to read list for awhile AND Mindy reads it herself, so I figured that would be really fun. And maybe it would make it seem way less like I was in the car alone.

As a disclaimer, I am not an audio person – I am SO visual. From everything including studying for tests (I had to write out note-cards) to making long weekend plans (I have to be looking at the computer to read about the area we might visit). I just have a hard time taking in audio-only information. But there’s not really another option for long car rides as a solo driver, so I went for it. I had to pay a LOT of attention (your mind cannot wander AT ALL cause there’s no way to go back and read a line you’ve missed!) and I totally missed at least one turn because I was paying too much attention to the book. But all in all, it was a successful experience.

Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? (And Other Concerns) by Mindy Kaling

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“This was a great car ride companion book. While there were a couple more serious parts, the overall light, friendly feel of the writing and the not-too-intense topics covered kept me entertained and interested the whole way. I enjoyed hearing about Mindy’s childhood experiences (they really mirrored my own closely – not too cool, pretty good at school, followed the rules, etc.). And some of her thoughts were really pretty insightful – advice like “don’t peak in high school” because, as evidenced by “Jack and Diane,” things can really only go downhill (plus, look at all the people that are famous now – most of them were pretty lame in school) and her list of the “perfect amount of famous” she’d like to be (essentially somewhere in the middle of “so famous that the paparazzi ruin your life” and “so not famous that the paparazzi have no idea who you are”). Honestly, I really enjoyed her lists in general – I laughed out loud at her list of things Hollywood thinks would make good movies (there were some that sounded so ridiculous that they might be real) and her list of things that make a guy cool and respectable (owning a nice pea-coat, complimenting the way a girl pulls something off and not the thing itself, only have 1-2 beauty products in your medicine cabinet) that was actually pretty spot on. Her list about clothes that stylists keep trying for “chubby” people that she hates (mumus, navy, daisy print, etc.) was sort of a sad funny, but her comments about each item after listing it definitely make me giggle, I can’t lie. And I gasped at her list of franchises she would pick up if given the chance, because that all female Ghostbusters actually did happen since publication of this book, and I enjoyed it. There were some funny points she made about what the hell “hooking up” means and concerns over the legit physical safety of one night stands (I’m glad I’m not the only paranoid person that worries about those things). And it was cool to read about her perspective of her time on The Office and the people she met/worked with there. Plus, seeing some of the more personal time in her life – like time spent being shy and watching Netflix by herself instead of working up the courage to go out with other writers, etc. – that just made her seem more real. It’s the type of thing I think everyone can relate to and it’s great to see how many people “suffer” from or spend their time doing those same things.

Generally, I think she did a good job mixing up stories about herself, her personality, and how she got to where she is with random lists/thoughts/essays to change things up. She was able to talk about herself in a truthful way, her strengths and weaknesses, while keeping it light and funny and enjoyable for the reader. I think it was a great insight into the mind of a comedian actually – how she is able to tell a story while interjecting totally unrelated, but creative and funny, pieces that somehow do add to the overall feel (I assume this is similar to how they come up with ideas for and write sketches/episodes) and keeping the whole thing entertaining and moving forwards. Definitely an enjoyable, upbeat and fun, if not at all very deep, read (or “listen”).

The biggest negative thing I would say is that her reading of it fell a little short of what I was hoping for. I don’t know if it’s because she was working hard to make sure everything was clearly audible (is that the audio version of “legible”?), but the whole thing was read in a much more paced and monotone voice than I was anticipating. I was hoping for a bit more inflection, especially on the jokes. And also, a little less perfect spacing of words would have helped me get a better picture in my mind of the book’s setup (the lists were fine because they were mostly numbered, but I sometimes had a hard time telling what was a new chapter, what were sections in other chapters, and how things were visually presented in the book). In addition, it turns out there’s a photo essay type chapter, where she puts in a ton of funny pictures of herself from her phone, so sadly I missed out on that. I’ll have to go peep at it in a bookstore/library later to get a better feel for it. (Edit: I have since check out this chapter in a print copy – the pictures are cute and funny, but definitely not a huge “miss” if you only listen and never get the chance to see them.) In any case, I’ve seen her in both The Office and The Mindy Project and loved her, so I was a bit sad that her personal voice fell a little flat in reading the book out loud.”

2 thoughts on “Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? (And Other Concerns)

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