Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? (And Other Concerns)
Three Rivers Press. First published 2011
Mindy Kaling is a very successful and famous writer/actor in American TV. She is born in US, I think, to Indian parents, and her second name is an abbreviation of Chokalingam, her father's name, who happens to be distantly related to me. So that, in fact, is my real interest in this book, which is addressed to American young-adult women, and not to Indian old men. Mindy is not physically a stereotypical stage, TV or movie heroine, and would be difficult to think of as a natural for her chosen career. But with her immense writing and acting talent, and her confident personality she has defined an attractive role for herself, one which does not require her to, presumably, change her physique or her personality. (This can happen only in America, I think. It would have been impossible in India. M. S. Subbalakshmi is a case in point. Despite her terrific musical talent, she had to completely suppress her personality and her background in order to be successful.)
This book is vaguely biographical, and something in the nature of PGW's 'Bring on the Girls'. There are less anecdotes, however, and there things like the list of her favourite moments in TV comedy - things that would be interesting or funny only to a young American audience. Her writing is breezy and never very deep, but one can always sense the clarity and firmness of purpose with which she went about achieving her success. But except for this meta-story the book does not have much substance. It's not even very funny.