So I deviated from my 5books7days tbr, made an audible account and downloaded Kaling’s second novel ‘Why Not Me?’ You can find out why by checking out my last post. I do not regret this decision. Being a huge fan of Kaling’s writing and general personality I had previously read her first novel ‘Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me?’ and watched pretty much everything I know of that she has worked on and appeared in.
Having read and loved her first novel, I expected to laugh at her second. I was not, however, expecting tears. I cried when Mindy discussed her The Office co-star, fellow author and movie star friend BJ Novak. I was deeply moved when she openly discussed her heartbreaks and grief. I also cried during the acknowledgements- just when I thought I was safe!! That is not to say that this is a depressing read. I laughed out loud numerous times while listening which may have made me look like a complete psycho, so thanks for that Mindy. Her writing and opinions are honest, witty and relatable making Why Not Me? an entertaining read for everyone. I would also recommend the audio book as hearing her thoughts in her own voice makes her novel all the more moving and hilarious.
It is refreshing to hear/read such a successful multi-talented, internationally known personality talking openly to her fans about her flaws, her mistakes, her fears and her hopes. Kaling gives us insights into the behind the scenes events of A-list events and the generally misleading world of show-business. Her sense of humour is bold and unapologetic without being offensive which is quite a feat. Kaling explains the difference between her novels as the first was about her wanting to be liked, the second about her wanting to be known. Despite her constant insistence that she is not a real level-headed grown-up she comes across as a driven role model who has worked hard for her career and makes it clear she will continue to do so. She intelligently references classic literature and poetry, discusses her mentors and also features her Harvard commencement speech.
Kaling does not shy from heavy topics, talking openly about depression. Kaling describes depression as the high price you pay to be gifted and tells readers that the funniest people are often depressed. This reminded me of my favourite funny man Robin Williams.
Robin Williams fan art by www.emilystepp.deviantart.com
This is all the more impressive when she states that she is not a sufferer of depression herself but would like to speak out about it and show her support nonetheless. This is yet another example of her using her fame for change as well as demonstrating her love of people. She opens up about her experience with anxiety telling readers she has lost sleep at night worrying about being fired. She lists common every day worries and causes of anxiety which are very relatable ranging from forgetting things to family matters to identity crises. When Kaling tells us she often worries about whether or not she will forget her mother’s voice it is impossible not to be both moved and in awe of her honest reflections. Kaling also shows gratitude for her more often than not cheery personality which we all love.
Towards the end of the novel she addresses a teenage girl who asked her a question once. She regretted her answer even though she was put on the spot, here we can see like anyone who suffers from anxiety this has really played on her mind. Her chapter/essay is dedicated to this particular girl giving her the answer and apology Kaling believes she deserves, through this we can see just how much Kaling cares about her fans and her influence. Throughout her novel Kaling has proved what an amazing role model she is. Why Not Me? does not only prove women can be funny but that celebrities can be honest and caring instead of self-obsessed. In Why Not Me? Mindy Kaling is yet again giving her fans a true insight into her life without sugar coating or emitting the hard parts.
The last chapter of her novel again brings the focus back to hard work. Thus inspiring her fans to be career driven. She destigmatises hard work and explains that she does not know anyone in show business who does not work hard. Rounding her novel off she hopes to inspire her attitude towards her critics, reinstating the overall message of her novel- be driven, be confident, be honest and do not give up. Or in Kaling’s language:
“Work hard, know you shit, show your shit and then feel entitled. Listen to n0-one except the two smartest and kindest adults you know (and that doesn’t always mean your parents) Do that and you will be fine.”