Why Not Me? by Mindy Kaling Review

Well, I officially suck at consistency. It’s been almost two months since my last post, and the only thing I can say is: blame it on the holiday season? Please?

Today I’m going to give you a little bit of insight into my actual human life and not just my blog life: I am a person with a lot of anxieties. Unfortunately, I’m also the type of person who will have a panic attack and think, you know what I should do? Watch a serial killer documentary. Probably not the best idea, but how else am I supposed to know how to get away with murder?

My family and my boyfriend are always so helpful, though. In December my boyfriend told me I should stop reading Holocaust memoirs and read something a little more uplifting. Good job, boyfriend. Good job.

So I put down the book and we went to Barnes and Noble to pick out books together. I bought a few books including Yes Please by Amy Poehler and Mindy Kaling’s Why Not Me? I remember talking to you guys about Mindy Kaling’s first book, Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? (And Other Concerns) and telling you how awesome it was. So when I found out (way too late in the game, I might add) that Mindy had written a new book, I was stoked and could not wait to get home to read it.

I have to say, I was a little disappointed. Not because it wasn’t a funny book, or an entertaining book, but because I thought that now that Mindy Kaling is a little more famous than before, she tried to pander a bit to her audience, but ended up doing it in a bad way.

I’ll explain:

Since her first book was released she has been a role model to women and girls of all ages, of all sizes and shapes, and of all colors. Kaling openly admits to being a size 10 in both of her books, and in the first one she makes a big deal about being content with how you look. Personally, I thought that was an incredible message to send out to people. As a woman who is bigger, myself, I see and feel the pressure every day for women to look a certain way. There isn’t just pressure towards bigger, curvier women to be smaller, there’s also pressure towards skinny and less curvy women to be slightly bigger – to be a Victoria’s Secret Model. Everyone wants to make the perfect potion to make themselves look a certain way: add a pinch of C-cup boobs, a sprinkle of the perfect tan, a dash of a toned and flat stomach, a half a cup of flawless skin, and an eye of newt.

But to be frank, all of that is complete bullshit. There’s so much pressure in everything you do: jobs, relationships with other people, goals, there’s even pressure when you drive (screw you guy behind me – I’m going 5 miles over the speed limit, get off my butt). The only thing you can do to help yourself is tune them out. Do what you think is right. Be proud of how you look. Don’t let anyone tell you what you should and shouldn’t do. Every BODY is different, and there’s a reason for that. It’s not because we need to be the same, it’s because we’re SUPPOSED to be different.

But I digress… In Mindy Kaling’s second book she kind of does a 180 from her original opinions. I don’t think she means to, I actually think she’s trying to convey a better message. But here’s what happened:

Kaling tries to say that she’s a real person too and sometimes doesn’t love the way she looks. That’s an awesome message, I agree. It’s important for people to understand that those thoughts and feelings are completely normal. But then she goes on to tell a story: A magazine or website or something of that nature put her on a list of the most beautiful curvy and bigger women in Hollywood. Again, that’s awesome. Except that Kaling then says that she looked through the list and saw people twice her size and thought, “why am I on a list with these heifers?” What a horrible thing to say.

I understand that she’s a comedian and was just making a joke. But why would you spend your career trying to be a role model for plus size women and then bad mouth them at the same time? That’s not right. And while I love Mindy, I think she’s hilarious, a phenomenal writer, and a really great role model, I also think she should’ve left that part out of the book.

We all say things we don’t necessarily mean, or say things that might sound a little bit cruel without meaning it to, but that doesn’t mean that it’s okay to tell people to love their body and stop shaming each other for how they look and then call them a “heifer” – that’s just mean.

I feel like the majority of the book was written to get people to look at her as a regular human, but she just went about it the wrong way. I completely understand telling your audience that even the most confident person will still look in the mirror and want to change something. What I don’t understand is giving your audience that message, and then adding to their insecurities by telling them that if they’re bigger than a size ten it’s okay to make fun of other people and call them fat.

And look, as I’ve mentioned before, I LOVE Mindy. I think she’s awesome. But that doesn’t mean that I’ll always agree with what she says.

SOOO, after that long rant, I would like to point out some things I thought were awesome in the book:

  • Kaling talking about her anxieties. This was helpful since, as I mentioned before, I’ve been having a lot of panic attacks recently.
  • Kaling discussing her thoughts on marriage, love, sex, and friendship. A lot of celebrities don’t delve into their personal relationships as much as she did and I thought that was an amazing way to feel closer to your audience and for the audience to feel closer to her.
  • Learning her keys to success.
  • How to make it in Hollywood! (Spoiler: no one knows the answer. It’s all about luck)
  • Her time with President Obama.

I very much recommend reading this book, I just suggest you take what she says at face value and not idolize her and take what she says as gospel. Because everyone is different, and no one should feel like they’re being made fun of for how they look.

Hopefully I’ll be writing more soon. I have about 10 different blog ideas that I’m super excited to write about. So stay tuned!

Until next time,

Rachel

e-mail: rachel@booksandcleverness.com

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