Mindy Kaling, Why Not Me? Book Review and Other Insights

Yesterday’s post on pumpkin waffles seemed to be of interest, which made me quite happy! I’m hoping to get more experimental in the kitchen this fall and winter because really, when is there a better time to cook?!

Today’s post focuses on something I haven’t done in awhile- book review!

I was so happy and excited that Mindy Kaling’s new book Why Not Me? dropped on Tuesday. As you know, I ran to Target to pick up my copy and couldn’t wait to get started. In actuality, I did wait rather than start reading while driving. Not that you were concerned about that…probably.

I read Mindy’s first book in an afternoon, laughing my ass off and feeling as though we would make great friends. Her writing style flows like a conversation. She shares insights, advice, and stories in a concise manner, without growing too wordy or existential. Her follow-up was not a let-down.

I adored this book.

There were a ton of very funny moments that caused me to laugh out loud, but I was surprised at how many times I felt a swell in the heart or a kick in the gut, please excuse such cliches. I think it must be very difficult for celebrities to express any kind of unhappiness because of the assumption that wealth and fame are everything. I think it certainly helps a certain quality of life, but it’s rare that when celebrities complain, we feel bad for them. Mindy touches upon this subject in her book and shows her humanness in a way that makes you understand and empathize.

My biggest draw to Mindy and her show The Mindy Project has always been how relatable she seems as a young woman. She isn’t the typical female stereotype represented by our media and she writes how she both appreciates and begrudges this notion at the same time. *By the way, if you aren’t watching The Mindy Project, you are missing out. That cast is a gem and the writing is smart, witty, and terrific.

Here’s my thinking on this if you will allow it. As someone who has been overweight, has lost a lot of weight, and is still not thin by any means, I appreciate how it feels to be judged based on my body. At the gym, I know I am the strongest, hardest working person- mostly because that’s what motivates me- but I don’t necessarily look like it. I love my body and the things it can do and I try my damndest to take care of it. I wish I could buy more into the “love my body” craze because I think there is a real problem with how women, and men to some extent, are judged based off of their bodies. That whole fat-shaming video was horrendous for a multitude of reasons, particularly the stereotyping behind what makes someone overweight. Bad habits and a lack of knowledge on nutrition will always play a part, but so does human emotion, genetics, and a host of other factors. But I will also say, I think there should be more focus on promoting awareness and healthy habits, whether in regard to being overweight or underweight. This is more personal and deeper than a number on a scale, BMI, or what others think you should look like. You feel and look your best when you work hard for it, which is true of everything we do in life. This is another topic Mindy emphasizes in her book.

My point, is that it’s a shame that we idolize and laugh with people who look like Jennifer Lawrence when they say they love food, especially McDonalds or any other kind of fast food and suggest that people like Mindy Kaling are brave for being on TV or eating what she chooses. Why is it so funny or out-of-this world insane that women like to eat? Hi, universal thing. Like Mindy says in her book, rarely are men asked or judged by what they eat. Eating shouldn’t be something we judge people based on. Yes, I blog about my meals and I like to read over what other people eat because I love food, not because I think so-and-so is fat or gross or wrong.

With her newest book, Mindy is attempting to offer her fans and naysayers more than a surface glance as to who she is. She is an awesome representation of a woman other than who we usually see, old.white.man., but she’s also just awesome.

I can now appreciate just how hard she works and how that has paid off for her. But another point she wants to make, which says so in the title, Why Not Me? To us, maybe it’s surprising that a woman of color could be so successful because again, there’s a lack of representation (for which my sister Lauren expresses far more succinctly than me, so maybe I’ll have her write a guest post about it one day). Mindy doesn’t talk about how she “rose up from the ashes” to “defy all odds.” She got lucky in the sense that she made strong connections, but she also worked her ass off to get to a place where her connections could get her anywhere. Of course she would be successful with this, no matter her gender, ethnicity, weight, etc., etc., etc. She put in effort and she succeeded.

I’ll be the first one to admit that I always found the idea of writing and acting on a television show to be glamorous above anything else. This is my biggest dream. I understood that it’s hard work, but through reading Mindy’s book, I realized just how hard and long you have to work. Glamour makes its occasional appearance, but I think most of the time, it’s just as much of a grind than any other job.

I’m just now realizing and truly appreciating the importance of hard work. It doesn’t just mean studying and following rules. To get anywhere with anything, you have to understand your objectives, put in effort, and be present in that effort. I left a job I didn’t like because it was sucking the life out of me. I did not care about the work that I was doing and I felt my passion and my drive slip away. I know that even when I am doing work that I truly care about, sometimes it will be hard and uncomfortable, but that means we have to go even harder. I see this every day with my workouts.

What I want will not be easy or guaranteed, but I won’t get there by talking about it. I have to actually do it, try it, work for it. Maybe after I get to that point, and I know the hard work doesn’t stop, I can look back and write on it like Mindy, Amy, or Tina.

I know I can be successful in something I put devotion and effort into because I did that four years ago with my 100 lb weight loss.

Hard work, combined with true dedication and defying the barometers of just going through the motions is what allowed Mindy Kaling to name her book Why Not Me?, which is a response to all the critics and curious fans who ask how she, someone different than the usual and the obvious, reached a point of success. 

This book made me think, which I wasn’t expecting. It made my fingers twitch, my feet tap, and my mind whiz. It made me want to do, anything and everything, I can to fulfill my life. That is a good assessment of not only a quality book, but a quality and influential person.

Yes, if you are a young woman, you should especially read this book, but so should anyone who has ever existed and thought, “Wow, this life is kinda hard, dontcha think?!”

You will learn, as I am learning, that people don’t feel bad for you or want to take care of you (other than a select, loving few). Being hesitant or shy gets you nothing because people are not going to brush past what you offer on the surface to see a fabulous, witty, hard-working lady underneath. They will not have the time. No one will give you free, undeserved guidance. You will not wake up one day with the perfect job, excellent professional-personal life balance, money, and family. You might not get all or any of those regardless of how much work you put into it. You will get what you seek if you care enough to work for it.

Mindy does not pretend to be anyone else, despite flaws, mistakes, or general humanness, but she does show a willingness to reflect and to delve deeper into hard-hitting questions with answers other than what we think we want or need to hear.

Be the type of person who when someone poses a question such as, “How did someone like you succeed?,” can answer, “Why not me?” and be totally in the right.

No April Fool’s Here! It’s A Review!

I’ve retired from April Fool’s Day because I know how to learn my lesson. A few year’s ago when my sister was living in Argentina, I decided it would be funny to email her that I was feeling too overwhelmed and would be dropping out of school. This would be ridiculous on many levels, but primarily because my parents never would have allowed it unless something was seriously wrong. Now, at the bottom of the post, I wrote APRIL FOOLS in huge font, and she should have been suspicious given my propensity for humor and past reputation, but she was thrown off I guess with the time change. Anyways, it happened to be a day she was traveling so I couldn’t even reach her to explain it was all a joke, she only realized when she looked down at her ticket and saw what the date was. I’m no longer allowed to prank…her at least.

As promised, I have a book review to share with you all. I took out Age of Miracles by Karen Thompson Walker from the library and quickly became entranced by the topic. It’s a short book from the perspective of a pubescent teem girl who is battling the repercussions of growing older and the changes that come with it, along with a massive alternation in the way the world works.

It’s never explicitly explained exactly what has happened, how, and why, but time has slowed. Days grow longer, as do nights. Among the chaos, fear, and danger of this realization, species die, illnesses arise, and crops can no longer be grown naturally. Tensions rise between those who remain on “clock time” and the few, now ostracized, who prefer to live by the sun.

It’s interesting to read how people acclimate to even the most extreme changes. What once seems normal, is foreign. Things like pineapple-gasp!- are no longer. Grapes cost over 100/pound. The sun is to fierce to be outside and people work, go to school, and live their daily lives in the darkness. Personalities shift as well as some relationships crumble and others grow stronger. Despite this, many people adjust, though there are always those who don’t.

Among the changes to the earth’s rotation, life still progresses for this little girl. She still has those awkward moments puberty and being a middle schooler provide. She still has crushes on boys and complicated friendships. She comes to realize that her parents are human, susceptible to weaknesses and changes like everyone else. Loss and happiness are ever present and the daily ministrations of life still seem like the biggest things in the world, even with the larger things happening in the world that have nothing to do with her, because it’s her life and aren’t we all like this?

The perspective of the book seems old and wise, which makes sense because it’s the little girl looking back at this time of her life. Much of what she discusses is seeped in observations influenced by hindsight. Her reflections are beautiful and thoughtful. With the threat of Global Warming growing ever present and the changes in the atmosphere and weather far more severe, this topic is definitely something to consider. 

This weekend, I also finished watching The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt. The show is a Netflix original comedy created and produced by Tina Fey. The premise is about a young woman, played by Ellie Kemper who was Erin in The Office and was also in Bridesmaids, who was kidnapped as a young girl by a cult leader who tells four women that there has been an apocalypse and the bomb shelter he has them locked in is the only source protecting them. The first moments of the show reveals the “mole women” being rescued and then becoming viral sensations. On a publicity tour in New York, Kimmy Schmidt decides she wants to lead an adventurous life and chooses to stay in my New York rather than go back to Indiana. Now she is an almost thirty year old woman who has the cultural knowledge of a fifteen year old girl, who has been damaged by this heartbreaking incident, yet remains optimistic.

The show is quirky and weird. The premise alone as a comedy seems outrageous. My favorite part are the supporting characters, The sassy roommate, the jaded landlord, the wealthy and shallow boss, and so on. I also think Ellie Kemper does an excellent job, but it’s the cast of characters that make the show worthwhile. The episodes are about twenty minutes long, very weird, but full of smart jokes, and genius guest star appearances. I cannot ruin this because the shock value alone is so clever.

I’m sad that I’ve already finished the season, but it left off at a satisfying point. I’m still intrigued and want to know what happens next and I think that is a mark of any quality show. Thus far, the jokes are funny. The characters endearing, and the writing clever. For me, it’s not quite at the level of Parks and Rec, 30 Rock, or The Mindy Project, but it certainly has the makings and the potential to get there. But honestly, it’s not like Tina Fey can do bring anyways. Watch!

Breakfast was a little weird this morning. After the gym, I ate a hard-boiled egg, but we were having a bagel morning at work and so I figured one in like three years would not do harm. I chose a sesame one with a smear of cream cheese and it was quite good. No time for pictures though.

Lunch was a simple salad with some grilled salmon on top. Since I had a carb-heavy breakfast and ice cream cake to celebrate a birthday, I felt satisfied by just the salad until I got home from work and ate a pear. Thankfully, I still seem fine to eat them. Last week my eyes were red, raw, and sensitive, but I started to take an allergy pill before night and it cleared right up. I might even be brave and try an apple, but only when I’m home and Benadryl is accessible.

  

Dinner was simple and tasty. Grilled chicken paired with leftover brown rice, roasted brussel sprouts, and a dollop of leftover cauliflower gratin. Delicious! The trick to these sprouts are salt, pepper, and a mixture of olive oil and maple syrup.

 

 My workout this morning began with a body strength workout. I performed four sets of ten moves with step ups, squats, lunges, kickbacks, burpees, push ups, mountain climbers, mermaid raises, hip lifts, ankle grabs, v ups, and Russian twists. I did a few planks before jumping into the pool for my cardio. I switched things up just a little by doing three sets of sprints. Very tiring, but very refreshing. I’m just loving the effects of hemming on my body when mixed with running and strength training. I also went for a brisk walk when I got home from work because at 40*, it felt spectacularly warm!