Mindy Kaling‘s Why Not Me? is written in a similar style as Tina Fey’s Bossypants, which I largely did not understand and consider to be a likely-very-funny read for someone a little older or more aware of pop culture than me. It’s divided up into ‘essays’ (chapters) dealing with topics like:
- how fame has affected Kaling’s life
- a comparison between Mindy Kaling and Mindy Ladhiri
- a day in the working life of Mindy Kaling
- how Kaling views her own body
- a (fictional) account of her 25-year-old could-have-been teacher self
- the things she worries about when she wakes up at 4 am
But I think the most important chapter of her book comes right at the end, also titled “Why Not Me?”. In it, Kaling talks about confidence and how she believes she got where she is today.
“Confidence is like respect,” she says; “you have to earn it.” She talks about people writing mean things about her on the internet and how she keeps working even though it may hurt her feelings.
“People get scared when you try to do something,” she says, “especially when it looks like your’e succeeding … when you’re winning, it makes them feel like they’re losing, or, worse yet, that maybe they should’ve tried to do something too, but now it’s too late. And since they didn’t, they want to stop you. You can’t let them.”
As a young woman working in the arts field, I can relate to Kaling in a lot of ways. I watch her show. I already understand (and love) her sense of humour. But this chapter is the one that makes me want to go buy the book. The rest of it was very enjoyable: getting to know one of my favourite onscreen personalities; enjoying her snarky sense of humour; and yes, learning along the way, that last chapter has some GOLD. So get out out and read Why Not Me?