Book Review: Mindy Kaling’s first book proves that she’s more than just a silly sitcom girl

Most people may know Mindy Kaling from her acting on “The Office” or “The Mindy Project,” but she’s more than just the funny Indian girl on television.

With her first book, “Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? (And Other Concerns),” Kaling shows off her sarcastic, witty side and offers some surprises about her life.

Kaling is the daughter of an immigrant doctor and architect who went to Dartmouth. Because there wasn’t much to do, Kaling became involved in everything on campus. She even drew the comic strip, Badly Drawn Girl, which can be found at http://badlydrawngirlcom

And it’s here that you realize Kaling is just like you – that is, if “you” is a woman in her mid-30s who loves the ’90s pop-culture references. And that awkwardness that most of us felt during our younger years – yeah, it was that bad for her, too, and she includes the pictures.

But where most people just push aside the feelings of not being good enough, Kaling has learned to embrace it, celebrate it and write about it – and that makes her feel like your best friend, or at least someone you would sit with in the cafeteria at lunchtime.

While Kaling is most known for her time on screen as an actress, she’s actually spent a considerable amount of time behind the camera, writing and directing for various shows, including “The Office.”

It was her writing that first got her noticed, after she and her best friend wrote and starred in the Off-Broadway hit, “Matt and Ben: Friendship Isn’t Always About Good Will,” a satirical play based on Matt Damon and Ben Affleck’s success with the movie, “Good Will Hunting.” From there, Kaling was asked to write a pilot for a new show – and she got her first taste of behind-the-scenes Hollywood.

Kaling’s grateful to those who helped her along the way and she’s humble enough to realize when she screwed up. She was actually kicked out of “The Office” writers’ room at one point, and knew when to come back with her tail between her legs. She talks about a guest writing stint on “Saturday Night Live,” and appearances on her favorite late-night shows.

And while many will try to make comparisons between Kaling and Tina Fey, who wrote the best-selling “Bossypants,” Kaling is quick to dismiss them, writing, “Unfortunately, I can’t be Tina, because it’s very difficult to lure her into a Freaky Friday-type situation where we could switch bodies, even though in the movies they make it look so easy. Believe me, I’ve tried.”

Those who enjoy David Sedaris’s essays will like Kaling’s writing style – she also breaks up her chapters into short essays, which are quick to read.

She’s the female version of BuzzFeed, listing her rules in various essays, such as “Best Friend Rights and Responsibilities.” It’s also interesting to hear her take on her celebrity co-workers and to learn that Amy Poehler really is as nice as I imagine her to be!

Kaling talks a lot about her social media accounts and how her phone is essentially a mirror for checking out her latest zit. She’s not afraid of who she is and she doesn’t apologize for it, either.

She doesn’t talk about promiscuity or drug use, and that’s refreshing for a female role model; she’s a celebrity who has embraced her brains, humor and quirkiness – and that made me like her even more.