I've drifted away from regular viewing of THE OFFICE during the last couple of years, but even when it was Must See TV for me, Mindy Kaling's character Kelly Kapoor was never one of my favorite parts of the show. However, I knew Kaling was also a writer and producer on the series, which was one reason I didn'tt roll my eyes and cringe when I heard she had a book coming out. Fortunately for us all, knowing Kelly is NOT the same as knowing Mindy.
Aside from the Thursday-night NBC-comedy connection, there are other common factors that will lead people to compare Kaling's book with Tina Fey's BOSSYPANTS. Both are more in the personal-essays vein than outright memoir; while they follow an autobiographical outline, both women make a lot of topical detours and digressions. As a single, childless woman whos succeeded relatively young in a very tough business, Kalings digressions tend to be into more personal subjects like food, shopping, and guys
As I mentioned, I'm not a big fan of Kaling's character on THE OFFICE...but I came away from this book quite impressed with Kaling herself, and I'd now say I'm a fan of hers. For one thing, It's hard not to be amused by the fact that her first big career success was an award-winning Off-Broadway play she co-wrote with her best friend, Brenda Withers, called MATT AND BEN, in which they played best friends Matt Damon (Brenda) and Ben Affleck (Mindy). She's justifiably proud of her Ivy League education, but comes across as an interesting mix of flighty and grounded; regardless of her consuming (pun intended) interest in shopping and fashion, deep down, she's not shallow. And speaking of fashion: there is something deeply off-kilter in a world where a woman who looks like Mindy Kaling is considered chubby.
Another point of comparison between Kaling's and Fey's books is that, in the audio edition, Kaling also addresses the listener directly and makes reference to differences between the audio and print versions of the book. I've come to appreciate audiobooks that offer a little more than simply reading aloud, and I'm glad I decided to read IS EVERYONE HANGING OUT WITHOUT ME? this way. I think the only potential drawback to it is that the book is made up of short pieces, and in audio, the transitions aren't always clear. Despite that, I really enjoyed Mindy Kaling's company for a few days during my commute; she engaged my interest, enlightened me a little, and made me laugh.