I’m falling into the memoir territory trap these days. Felicia Day. Gloria Steinem. Mindy Kaling. And falling headfast in love with the content.
That, and non-fiction audiobooks.
Basically – I really enjoyed Why Not Me? by Mindy Kaling.
It’s definitely better than her first book ‘Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me?’ Perhaps it was the humour. The description in the essays. The audiobook. But I was hooked from the first spoken word in a much more efficient manner in ‘Why Not Me?’
I mean, if you find me smiling and quietly giggling at times at 7am in the morning on the commute to university – then you know whatever I’m listening to is a keeper.
Why Not Me? is a collection of anecdotes from Mindy Kaling’s life. As you might know, Mindy Kaling is a writer, actor and comedian who wrote for the American tv show ‘The Office’ and helmed her own tv show called ‘The Mindy Project.’ I have to admit, I never went into reading her books as a major fan as I had only seen a couple episodes from the Mindy Project. But I’m glad I did.
The book focuses on topics such as her relationship with B.J Novak (adorable, so remind me to watch The Office), being an average sized woman on TV, writing and other things. The essays are easy to read, funny and full of heart. She frankly acknowledges her flaws: body issues, being a bad sport, her self confidence. And pleasing everyone is no longer her main motivation (which, I believe, is something you really cannot do). And I felt the main point of the book was: sometimes it’s tiring to be yourself.
The essays felt relatable and honest – and if there is anything I would really like to happen at the moment, is to be Mindy Kaling’s good friend.
I really enjoyed this book. It’s not perfect, I don’t think the section about an alternative life where Mindy was a Latin teacher at 25 worked seamlessly in the audiobook. But I enjoyed it nether less and will likely read and watch more of Mindy Kaling’s works.
I’ve had a relatively ‘ok’ reading month so far – three books that I found rather average, one that was a nice re-read, then another that had a really fun, romantic story and then this… My Life on the Road was a novel that I adored. And the one I really want to talk about.
Backstory: I consider myself a feminist – however I honestly knew zip about Gloria Steinem. I had heard of her in a sort of (oh the name has been mentioned somewhere in the far reaches of my memory but I have no idea why or by who). So when this novel was picked for Emma Watson’s new book club, Our Shared Shelf – I thought it was time to enlighten myself.
And oh my was this a wonderful, interesting novel. Let me outline my feelings in dot points:
It flowed wonderfully – despite jumping from one time to another e.g 1970s/ current day, it was constantly comparing experiences and highlighting issues in a way that made sense and illustrated each and every point succinctly and with care. (This probably stems from Gloria’s background as a writer).
I LOVED the anecdotes. From a veteran praising Ho Chi Minh during the Vietnam war, a priest called Father Egan who got himself in trouble with the church for being concerned with racial and feminist issues and Gloria’s last days with Wilma Mankiller – an Cherokee activist. These anecdotes were beautiful, thoughtful and at times heartbreaking.
It was novel about human experiences, how these experiences can shape us and help us grow into the people we are today. This wasn’t really a novel about Steinem and her role as a feminist icon – rather the people who inspired her along the way.
It was interesting reading about the feminist movement, about people I had never heard of from different backgrounds. How it wasn’t always perfect and not everyone agreed – but it was important and helped create a ripple effect that still affects us today.
I also loved the random facts sprinkled across the novel (so many footnotes!) I definitely did not know that the American Constitution was partly modeled on the Iroquois Confederacy – a native American tribe.
All in all I adored this novel and highly recommend it.