When I read Mindy Kaling’s first book, Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? (And Other Concerns), I devoured it in one day while in the car on the way to watch a roller derby bout. It was a library copy, and I was sorely regretting not buying it for myself because I knew it was one I would read again. As it turns out, I don’t always learn from my mistakes.
I put a hold on Mindy’s second book, Why Not Me?, back in January and was both ecstatic and a bit stressed to see that it was finally available last week when I was still in the middle of the last book of The Mortal Instruments series. I was already dying to finish that so I could see how it ended, but now I had even more motivation (as if the rest of my TBR pile wasn’t already motivation enough). And since I can’t help myself, I actually started Why Not Me? before I had finished, but I just couldn’t wait.
This book read very similarly to Mindy’s first: Humor and heartfelt advice doled out among personal stories. She even referenced pieces of her first book, which was nice, but probably made most enjoyable by the fact that I’d recently reread it before putting this one on hold. It’s not necessary to read one before the other, but I do think it helps. And while I enjoyed the humorous pieces, laughing out loud at some stories and enjoying the peek into her personal life as the amazing, creative woman that she is, my favorite aspects of the book were closer to the end.
After a bundle of laughs, Mindy takes a soft turn into a discussion body image, hard work, and confidence, and these were the pieces that resonated the most with me. Mindy is one of few women on screen who even resemble my size, so when I see her (or any of them), my heart swells a little bit, and I enjoyed her chapter on everyone’s reaction to her looks. She discusses the many reactions to how she looks and carries herself–from, how do you, as someone with a nontraditional level of attractiveness, think you deserve to have such confidence? to, I wish I was as confident as you!–and how she struggles just as much as any other woman at times, but also believes that she does deserve to be as confident as she portrays herself. She even describes the diets and cleanses she’s tried and her total lack of self control. I kind of felt like I was reading my own diary for a little while there, and I loved it. It was just another experience with her that made me feel a little better about myself.
She goes on to argue that confidence and entitlement are things that should be earned through hard work, and in fact the only page I really bookmarked as I was reading this was the very last, for the line, “Work hard, know your shit, show your shit, and then feel entitled. Listen to no one except the two smartest and kindest adults you know, and that doesn’t always mean your parents. If you do that, you will be fine.” Those words felt like something that should be highlighted and remembered for the days when you or I might not be feeling as confident as we could be. It’s a solid reminder that hard work is at the root of everything you try to do; everything else comes as a result.
The book isn’t a masterpiece, and that’s okay. I wasn’t reading it for that. It was a solid few hundred pages of pure entertainment with some memorable opinions and advice included. Much like her first book, I hope to add this to my own bookshelves in the future, and I could easily recommend this to someone looking for a good bit of entertainment to brighten their day. With summer coming up, maybe consider this for your next beach read.
Have you read this book or Mindy Kaling’s first? What were your thoughts?