I Am Definitely Hanging Out Without You
In the comments of the last post, Alison said: “I did not know I could A Q’s and you would answer them! Frequently! SO WHAT DID YOU THINK OF THAT DAMNED MINDY KALING BOOK?????”
Okay, fair enough. I strongly disliked the Mindy Kaling book. I had reasonably high hopes for it; I read that excerpt last summer that was like “dear guys, all you need to do to look decent is buy some Converse and a peacoat,” and chuckled and added it to my Goodreads to-read shelf. I was into the first few chapters, because if there’s one thing I love, it’s hearing the bittersweet details of anyone’s childhood or adolescence. And I was interested in hearing more about how she broke into being a writer for a successful television show. But then the book trailed off, and farted out some three paragraph chapters that wouldn’t have even counted as blog posts, and then at the end she was publishing tiny black and white self-portrait photos from her Blackberry?! Did she not know she could just make the font Courier New 14 pt to get her page count up? Who slept on editing this thing?
My main issue with the Mindy Kaling book was that it became clear a few chapters in that I don’t think I would like Mindy Kaling. She’s smart, she’s funny, but she’s also way too bossy for me to ever warm to her. Her whole schtick is too… boastingly savvy? I am a grown ass woman, so stop talking to me like everything is gossip or instruction. I started getting this uncomfortable sinking feeling while reading it and realized she was like some girl you befriend at a party in your 20s, because you’re both smart and funny and have had a few drinks and can banter and play off each other and go I KNOW!!! til the cows come home, and then one time, several parties/hang outs later, you’re telling some self-deprecating story about some body hair-removal caper, and it’s a good story, but before you get to the punch line, she cuts you off and says totally seriously, “You would really look a lot better if you waxed your upper lip instead of bleached it, or maybe tried a thinner brow. I can give you the number of the place I go,” and then goes into her own story and you have the social wind knocked out of you (yes I realize that sounds like a fart euphemism) and you stand there blinking, thinking, “Wait, maybe she was trying to be helpful?” but then hours later, when you’re at home, you realize, “But I wasn’t asking for help! I was doing fine, telling my funny story, and she cockblocked my punchline AND insulted me.” Did she do this on purpose? Who knows. Probably not. Maybe she’s very nice and bossy but just not my type. She’s just that kind of person, and I have no use for those people in my life. Just like the Mindy Kaling book, which I threw across the room when I finished and it still sits on my shelf because I refuse to lend it to anyone I love.
To counteract all that negativity, I will tell you a book I loved reading, and that was How To Be A Woman by Caitlin Moran. This book made me laugh out loud over and over while I read it, and halfway through, I wanted to be best friends with Caitlin Moran. Caitlin Moran wouldn’t undercut your punchline or volunteer that that color didn’t really suit you. Caitlin Moran would buy a round and listen to you tell the story about that faux friend who tried to fix you and go “Oooooh!” at all the right parts. I have bought several copies of this book because I intend to keep a stack of them on a shelf to give away (alongside all my copies of Feminist Ryan Gosling).
I promise I don’t really feel the need to befriend all the authors I read in order to appreciate their writing, but that was the best way for me to break these two down. I also realize I just wrote 700 words after saying yesterday that I couldn’t see myself blogging anymore. That was a fun question to answer, though. Feel free to hit me with another.