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I picked up Mindy Kaling's Is Everybody Hanging Out Without Me? (Crown Archetype, 2011) last fall and finally got around to reading it this week.

I wasn't really familiar with Kaling, but a few of my friends mentioned the book as a fun and funny one they read in their spare time. Kaling is a writer (and actor) on the US version of The Office, a show I've only seen a few times. The voice Kaling employs in this book of short pieces (a mix of vignettes, lists, essays, and other short nonfiction pieces) certainly reflects the kind of humor in the tv show.

Kaling focuses mostly on brief, humorous stories that recount how she became a comedy writer, from her childhood friendships to college extracurricular performance activities and postgraduation writing experiences. Kaling's parents are Indian American immigrants by way of Africa, and throughout the book, Kaling indicates how much she loves her parents and the way they brought her up. There is very little second generation immigrant kid angst here!

Aside from the brief mentions of her parents' background and her awkward body, though, Kaling discusses issues of Asian American racialization sparingly. She definitely focuses more attention on being "fat" (that is, not being a size zero) and being a shorter person. The humor is mostly observational, identifying little things in social life that are funny. Some of my favorite pieces included: The Exact Level of Fame I Want, Types of Women in Romantic Comedies Who Are Not Real, The Day I Stopped Eating Cupcakes, "Hooking Up" Is Confusing, In Defense of Chest Hair, and Why Do Men Put on Their Shoes So Slowly?
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