It’s not much of a secret I am a big fan of Mindy Kaling as a role model and leading woman in comedy, and when she announced her second book Why Not Me? I knew I had to read it.
Kaling, star of The Mindy Project, also wrote Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? (And Other Concerns) in 2011 about her life, career, and lessons learned. Why Not Me? continues on that same theme, but includes more stories about how she worked to where she is, deserves to be there, and will stay content there until she moves on to bigger things.
“If you believe in yourself and work hard, you have a fighting shot at having your dreams come true.” – Mindy Kaling, Why Not Me?
The book’s broken down into four sections, starting off with “For the Ladies,” the obligatory chapter on beauty secrets, a story about Kaling’s brief time in a sorority, and some of the friendships made in Los Angeles. The other three sections delve into her career and life, updated since her first book to include less of The Office and more about The Mindy Project. My favorite chapters in the book talk about how she got The Mindy Project, the ways that beauty standard impacts her, and the titular chapter “Why Not Me?” where she talks about self-confidence. Kaling is honest and vulnerable, but never self-deprecating to the point where it sounds like her success is a mystery or undeserved.
Her overall feeling of content and confidence mixes with a sassy, big sister tone as she recounts tales of her past and career milestones. Kaling never sounds like she’s retelling specific stories for the glamour or name-dropping, coming across as more “I’m telling this story for a reason and to inspire, but this is pretty glamorous with all these names in it, right?”
“But my secret is this: even though I wish I could be thin, and that I could have the ease of lifestyle that I associate with being thin, I don’t wish for it with all of my heart. Because my heart is reserved for way more important things.” – Mindy Kaling, Why Not Me?
I highly suggest Why Not Me? to both fans who want to support Kaling and those who aren’t familiar with her. I wouldn’t call Why Not Me? a literary or social justice masterpiece, or particularly thought-provoking. But I feel Mindy Kaling is very under-appreciated in a business that strives to showcase its diversity. Why Not Me? is Kaling’s answer to that, asking why she doesn’t get the same recognition for doing much of what other actresses and comedienne’s already do. Because when people do think of great current role models, why not add Mindy Kaling to the list?
Featured photo courtesy of Mindy Kaling’s Twitter