Books: Why Not Me?

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It was with sheer and utter glee that I opened my mailbox to find my copy of Mindy Kaling’s Why Not Me? had arrived. I had pre-ordered it so long ago I had forgotten it was coming. I might have done a tiny dance of delight, to the amusement of the Russian workers who basically live outside my house (ostensibly working on the mansion down the street, but that’s been going on for a long time. I’m getting suspicious).

I adore Mindy Kaling. The Mindy Project is, to me, perfect and one of the shows I without fail purchase because I believe in supporting those shows/books/movies that I really enjoy, especially when they are driven by women. She always makes me laugh and I think writes the best jokes. Just read her address to Harvard’s law graduates from last year!

It’s funny that she mentions in this new book how she hears about women who want to be her best friend. She claims she’s not really that great of a friend, but that is totally me. I actually have this on going fantasy where Mindy is for some reason in Geneva (some International Women In Comedy For The Girls organization or something? All international bodies will at some point meet in Geneva) and we have some kind of meet-cute à la Notting Hill where she has to come back to my place for something. I’m not sure why she’d come back to my place exactly, I haven’t worked that out yet. Maybe she’s been hanging out in my village and it’s just closer than her awesome conference hotel she’s staying at. Who knows, it could happen. A few months ago John Kerry ate at the restaurant attached to the playground in my village that I take my kids to literally almost every day. I can’t believe I missed him! Point is, if my village is good enough for John Kerry, it’s good enough for Mindy.

Anyway, I give her a clean shirt or whatever, and we don’t kiss or anything but somehow become deep bosom buddies that share important secrets and wine. And every few years when she’s in Geneva for her international comedy women’s coalition, she will forego her five-star hotel to stay with me (Hah. Hahahaha, that’s the most unlikely part of this scenario!) and we will further bond. And if I ever go to L.A. she’ll take me to her set and I will annoy her deeply by going on and on about how cool everything is, and getting tongue-tied when I meet a C-list celebrity I don’t even care about. This is a very detailed fantasy!

As an aside, I’ve realized that over the years my fantasies have evolved from erotic situations with hot male celebrities, to just meeting cool women that I just want to chill with over some wine. Obviously this is just where I am in life, where finding cool women is about the most exciting thing I could possibly imagine.

So, to the book. In Why Not Me?, Mindy talks about before she just wanted people to like her, and now she wants people to get to know her a bit. That’s totally where I find the difference between this book and her first one, Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? Her essays are completely hilarious, but they have more vulnerability and honesty in them. Like she confesses that she doesn’t like weddings because deep down she feels like she’s being left behind. And admitting that she struggles with body acceptance, and doesn’t always like that she’s been made to be this role model when it comes to “women who are not size 0.”

And really the best part is when she talks about hard work, that her confidence comes from the fact that she believes she’s earned it from all the work she’s done. I love that. Although I have my two cents to add about where confidence comes from. I think that, yes, a part of it is hard work, but a part of it is experience. And becoming experienced, in anything, means you have to do something a first time, have to be prepared to be a little awkward, to ask the occasional stupid question, and to sometimes look stupid. If you’re ready to do that, then you will get to know what it is you’re doing, and become confident in it. While I am not a star, writer, producer and showrunner for a popular tv show, I have my own life experience. For example, I’m way more confident in Geneva, and living abroad in general, then I was a year ago. But it was definitely a trial by error experience. I have often felt very foolish more times than I want to admit because I didn’t know what I was doing. I bumbled around, I was forced to put myself out there, but throughout that time I was gaining both experience and confidence. The more you live, the more you do, the more confidence you’ll gain.

Anyway, great book. I’m keeping it for my daughter to read!

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