“Why Not Me?” was made for you, whoever you are


Maggie Curran, Opinion Editor

With chapters titled “(Minor) Fame Has Changed Me” and “4 a.m. Worries”, Mindy Kaling graciously allows yet another look into her fast-paced, charming, and utterly hilarious life in her second memoir, “Why Not Me?”.
From the very first line, one can’t help but read every pop culture reference in Kaling’s iconic voice, best known from her televisions characters Kelly Kapoor on “The Office” and Mindy Lahiri on “The Mindy Project”. The introduction begins by detailing Kaling’s experience as a desperate seventh grader hoping to bribe other students into being her friend by offering them Skittles. From there, Kaling covers everything from her complicated relationship with screenwriter and actor B.J. Novak, her fears and anxiety working in television, to living life as a “bad sport.” If you can’t find a single chapter that speaks to you or makes you laugh out loud, you haven’t looked hard enough.
Readers of Kaling’s first memoir, “Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? (And Other Concerns)”, can expect new, yet related material in her second autobiography. While her first book focused more on her rise to “minor” fame, “Why Not Me?” spends more time focused on Kaling’s current and future endeavors. While Kaling does share some valuable life lessons, the memoir is more comedy than anything else. Even someone who doesn’t watch her Hulu series “The Mindy Project” can find humor in her day-in-the-life-esque chapter, which documents Kaling’s typical workday. Readers will walk away from this book with a newfound respect for those working in television.
Although she lives a comfortable, often luxurious lifestyle in L.A., Kaling doesn’t spare the details about the pressures of Hollywood and the disappointments that even accomplished writers like her can face. What makes this book different from the typical it’s-hard-to-be-a-celebrity rant is that Kaling acknowledges how small her problems really seem to the rest of the world by saying, outright, just how good she knows she has it. Kaling is a writer and star of her own television series and has hired many of her closest friends to work with her. In her own words, she considers herself “the Rod Blagojevich of television,” which is funny in any way someone could interpret that.
And, of course, every page has at least three lines that will make you laugh or wish you were as clever and intelligent as Kaling. Though the tone of the memoir is lighthearted and conversational, there are some profoundly insightful viewpoints on a variety of topics. On the surface, Kaling is a chubby, minority, female comedian who often wears polka dots and knows less about sports than a Disney princess. Yet fans of her know that she is so much more than meets the eye. Kaling is a Dartmouth graduate with a hate for weddings, a love for McDonald’s, and no filter. If that doesn’t pull you in and convince you to head over to the nearest Target to buy her book, I’m not sure what will.
Maybe I’m biased, as someone who’s loved every show or film Kaling has worked on, but “Why Not Me?” speaks to more than just my narrow demographic. Women of essentially any age, who have watched television in the last decade, will love every pop culture reference sprinkled generously on every page. That much is a given. But even men, especially those who enjoyed “The Office”, will also get something out of Kaling’s experience on the show and may even gain some insight into the female psyche while they’re at it.

What I’m trying to say is: don’t judge the book by its feminine powder-blue cover, because when it comes to wit, humor, and insight, few hold a candle to “Why Not Me?”.