Good Reads: Is Everyone Hanging out without Me? (And Other Concerns)

There are some things you just know you’re going to love before you actually see/hear/read them. A short (though not all-inclusive) list of those things for me would be almost any romantic comedy starring a dorky but ultimately lovable British man, any collection of David Sedaris essays, and any “very special” Thanksgiving or Christmas episode of a TV show I enjoy. I will now add this book that list.

Seriously, though, I love Mindy Kaling. Therefore, I knew I would love this book. I’ve decided my affinity for her stems from one crucial fact: she is clearly an intelligent and funny person, and yet she unabashedly loves romantic comedies, which are generally derided as the worst kind of movies. I would like to think that I’m that sort of person too. I don’t know about those first two characteristics, but I do love me some cliche romantic comedies.

This brings me to one of my favorite sections of her book – the one where she dissects romantic comedy stereotypes (it’s excerpted here; please note the description of the Ethereal Weirdo. Nailed it. Sidenote: Kirsten Dunst’s character in Elizabethtown is one of the most annoying characters in the history of film). Anyway, here’s why I love this section: because I firmly believe you can think something is ridiculous and yet be inordinately (and perhaps irrationally) fond of it. Those are romantic comedies for me. I know they’re so bad. And yet I keep going back to them. Mindy knows this too. That’s why we would be BFFs. (I’m not a stalker, I swear).

Anyway…now that I’ve gotten my tumultuous relationship with romantic comedies out of the way, here are some of the other things I really enjoyed about this book:

  • I adore the back cover photo, and its caption: “The author as child star of the TLC series Androgynous Kids and Puppets, the less-successful predecessor of Toddlers and Tiaras.” Also, have you ever seen a picture of Aziz Ansari as a child? (It’s his Twitter picture/background, FYI.) I have decided that from their respective childhood photos and the fact that I love both of them, they should clearly be together. I’m already writing the romantic comedy screenplay in my head.
  • I love the section called “Alternate Titles for This Book.” They’re all golden, but the best one is clearly, “When Your Boyfriend Fits into Your Jeans and Other Atrocities.” This is something I’ve actually thought about before, on multiple occasions. I mean, that has to be a deal-breaker.
  • The story of her falling into a pond, completely lifelessly, because the life guard wouldn’t let her climb back down the ladder, killed me. The visual that it conjures up is priceless. Plus, it’s something I could totally see my silly childhood self doing as well.
  • Her “Best Friend Rules.” All very true, but none more so than the last one: “No two people are better than us. We fucking rock. No one can beat us.” Because, hasn’t everyone made a joke like that with their best friend before? And, secretly (or not-so-secretly) believed it was 100% true?
  • I love the part where she discusses the term “hook up” and asks everyone to just agree on a meaning for it, once and for all. This has always bothered me too! It seems like everyone I know uses the term in slightly different ways. And unless I know someone pretty well, it’s not like I’m going to say, “ummm, can you please clarify?”
  • Finally, the section called “Guys Need to Do Almost Nothing to Be Great.” So good. I particularly agree with having a signature drink and getting a little jealous now and then. Although, I don’t think usage of Kiehl’s is essential. That stuff is crazy expensive. (Fact: when I had a real job, I bought Kiehl’s moisturizer. Now that I’m in grad school and have student loans, it’s trickier for me to justify $28 for a jar of moisturizer. But I do kinda miss it.)

In sum, this book is a quick + easy + very fun read. It’s not life-changing or ground-breaking, but it will make you smile and laugh and nod your head and think “me too!” on multiple occasions. And those are the best kind of books anyway, right?

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