Mindy Kaling is one of those people that, in an abstract way, I kind of think I would want to be best friends with...but then I kind of second-guess that, because it's the reaction pretty much everyone has had to this book, and that makes me really think that that's the reaction everyone is supposed to have to this book, and maybe she's not as adorable as she seems? Am I reading too much into this? Maybe, maybe not. Anyway, I'll probably never meet Mindy Kaling, let alone have the opportunity to become best friends with her, so this is a dilemma I will never have to face--along with the dilemma of having my clothes stolen out of my closet, because that is part of Mindy's Best Friend Code of Conduct: "All of your clothes also belong to me."
I've seen very, very few episodes of The Office, the show that made Mindy famous, and the few that I've seen I didn't really find funny. This might be because they were all first-season episodes, and Mindy makes pretty clear in the book that a lot of people didn't like the first season. That said, I do think she's a funny person overall. This book had a lot of quirky, funny parts, and a lot of good points, and a few eye-roll-worthy ones. One of the latter was when she wonders why people always ask her what the other actors on The Office are like in real life, but they never ask her what she's like, which she just presumes to mean that everyone thinks she's exactly like her character, Kelly Kapoor. Or maybe--just maybe, stay with me here--they don't ask her what she's like because a) that's kind of a loaded question; I mean, how can she really answer that, and b) maybe they feel they don't need to ask because they already talking to her and forming that opinion themselves, which they haven't had the opportunity to do with the other actors, hence the questions. But she also includes a lot of funny anecdotes, like the stories behind the stream of narcissistic pictures in her Blackberry (yes, celebrities also pop pimples and try to cover it up before important occasions) and the story of her rise to The Office through a production of a play she did about Matt Damon and Ben Affleck (which I had never heard of before) and some heartfelt stories, like how unfair it was that People magazine invited her for a photo shoot and only showed up with one thing in her size, which was obviously way less fun and pretty than all of the other things they showed up with in a size 0.
Overall, Mindy is a really funny person, even if sometimes her humor can be a bit, uhm, off? There are some racist remarks in here, that she seems perfectly cognizant of and seems to have left in despite some advice about not appearing racist in your books. But her totally dorky moments, like how much she loves Conan O'Brien (a lot) and dieting (possibly even more) and how she can only work out when she's concocting elaborate revenge fantasies in her head (she saves The Voice from terrorists in one) are quirky and snarky and made for a fast, light read. This fulfilled my "A book written by a comedian" category for Popsugar's 2016 Reading Challenge, and I am glad I picked this one for it. I want to read Tina Fey's Bossypants at some point, but Mindy was so cute and likable in this book, despite talking about how vain and shallow she is, that you really can't help but like her, even when she does really shitty things like leave her coat behind at parties so people think she's coming back when she really intends to ditch them. I mean, I understand the urge to want to a leave a party, pronto, but it is polite to at least let people know you're leaving--and if you don't do that, to at least not lie about it when they call you out on your just slipping away. These are some of the moments that make me suspect that Mindy isn't really as likable as she makes herself out to be...but I liked the book anyway, since our paths will never cross, it's not a concern.
3.5 stars out of 5.