USA TODAY US Edition
Mindy Kaling ’s all about ‘Me,’ in a good way
Why Why Not Me? Whether a serious question or a playful attempt at modesty, the title of Mindy Kaling ’s second book suggests she’s an underdog. But the likable star of The Mindy
Project is one of TV’s highest-paid actresses, and she has a rabid fan base. Whether she likes it or not, Kaling has become an actress and writer who can sell a book on the promise of herself alone.
The title does fit in with the self-deprecating humor of Kaling ’s first
book, Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? (And Other
Concerns). The two are ideal companions, with Why Not Me? delivering more of what Kaling did well before: Funny, thoughtful essays and anecdotes written in the star’s trademark voice. But this time around, things are just a little more grown-up.
Fans will come for the chapter photo-documenting a day in her life and stay for an invented email exchange between a fictional version of Mindy and a high school teacher. But perhaps the most moving part of Why Not Me? is the chapter Kaling dedicates to an almost-relationship she had with “Will,” a White House staffer.
It’s a story without a real ending; the relationship fizzles after years of struggling to exist at all. There is something uniquely satisfying about Kaling ’s willingness to acknowledge failure.
Kaling is not the “contrarian, delusionally confident” Mindy Lahiri she plays on Project, a point the book makes emphatically clear — and not just in the chapter dedicated to listing their differences.
But what Kaling does have in common with her alter ego is a sense of confidence and passion. This is Kaling at the height of her power. Maybe she’ll call her next book Yes, Me!