Why Not Me? Book Review

I think that we can all agree that last week was rough. Donald Trump is the president-elect and Hillary isn’t. People are running rampant and committing hate crimes. People are realizing that their family members actually voted for the guy and it’s going to make the upcoming holidays so so awkward.

I didn’t know it, but I started reading Why Not Me by Mindy Kaling on the same day the world was ending. I took the book with me to vote so I’d have something to do while waiting in line. I read it that night too when I realized Trump won Pennsylvania, and thus, the presidency, and I gave up watching the news and went to bed dejected and utterly horrified at the prospect of tomorrow.

Why Not Me? Mindy Kaling

I’ve long been a fan of Mindy Kaling. I love The Office and her friendship with BJ Novak is serious goals. I’ve also been watching her show, The Mindy Project since season 2 aired (I’m slow on the uptake sometimes). My friends and I went on a roadtrip in 2012 (back when the concept of a Trump presidency wasn’t even a thing yet) and we listened to Mindy’s first book, Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me (And Other Concerns). Mindy’s voice means driving through Portland, Maine with my best friends and trying a lobster roll for the first time (fucking delicious, by the way. Everyone needs to go to the Portland Lobster, Co. immediately).

Do I wish I could be one of Mindy’s friends? Absolutely. Would I settle for being able to shake her hand and say how grateful I am for all of the laughs she’s given me? Yes.

People might roll their eyes at the prospect of reading a book written by a celebrity. “Honestly, what do they even know? They’re just famous.”

To that I say, A. get your head out of your ass B. Mindy’s a writer too, so it’s probably great and C. go read Proust or something then.

Why Not Me is basically saying “Why wouldn’t I be able to be successful in this industry? Are you saying that because I’m Indian-American and not a size 2 I shouldn’t be a successful actress and writer? Is that really what you’re saying? Here’s my #1 New York Times Bestseller, bitches.”

She tells stories about wanting to get people to like her in grade school so she bribed people with Skittles. When she was older, she joined a sorority but dropped out when she realized that the women in it weren’t going to be her lifelong friends. As she so eloquently put it:

She is so funny, you will come your pants,” Jeanette said of me on our first pledge night. Now I started to wonder, sadly, if I’m so busy making people come their pants, who is going to make me come mine?”

She realized she wasn’t getting back what she was putting into the organization and she never would. I think that’s a great lesson for everyone to learn. If your friends don’t make you come your pants when you make them come your pants, it’s time to find new friends that will make you come your pants and vice versa.

Mindy didn’t get to where she is by just coasting along. She saw what she wanted and she worked hard to get it. You don’t land jobs writing for television shows at NBC by just doing the minimum amount of work. And you don’t get your own TV show that eventually gets picked up by Hulu and two bestselling books by just moseying along. You have to put in the work and that’s exactly what Mindy did and continues to do.

Mindy Kaling has a lot of success under her belt and likely even more to come. But that doesn’t mean she’s super confident all day every day, which was a little disturbing for me, personally. If having a successful career, money, and two bestselling books doesn’t give you insta-confidence, what will? I’m either utterly fucked when it comes to having a great self-esteem every day or there’s something else wrong with society.

There’s got to be something wrong with society that makes women and girls feel terrible about themselves on a daily basis. And it’s the same society that calls Mindy an “unlikely leading lady.” Fuck you, society! Mindy’s awesome, funny, and literally the same size as the national average. It’s the same society that calls Amy Schumer fat because she’s a size 6. And it’s the same society that makes it incredibly dangerous for a woman to go out at night or to even report sexual assault. It’s also the same society that elects Donald Trump.

Ugh. Everything leads back to that sentient Cheeto.


TL;DR: Mindy Kaling and her books are great so you should definitely go get a copy right now.

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