Tag: memoir

Book Review: Why Not Me? (Mindy Kaling).

Why Not Me?

–  Mindy Kaling.

Why Not Me? by Mindy Kaling is a memoir which is a collection of essays about her life, career and experiences. This book has been on my shelf for years but I wasn’t really familiar with Mindy Kaling so I didn’t read it. Recently, I watched the series The Mindy Project and loved it. So, now that I was familiar with her work I thought I’ll read her memoir.

This collection of non-fiction essays about life is a clever and interesting way to write. The way it has been written, the format was new to me and in a way it makes the writing stand out even more. The essays are fun, witty and surprisingly relatable. It starts with awkward childhood stories than navigates through college life making it way towards career and personal life. Mindy Kaling’s experiences are relatable which I didn’t expect to be honest but it was a pleasant surprise.

She doesn’t care how she will be perceived by others, she mentions that in the book too which made the stories or essays authentic because there was no sugarcoating. The way she freely talked about drifting apart from people you thought would be a part of your life forever but it doesn’t happen or how she looked for friendships in wrong places and people and disappointments about her career. Her awkward behavior around people is amusing and funny especially around famous people as she says that she is socially anxious. As a person who doesn’t know how or what to say in social situations, I could completely relate to her.

Mindy Kaling doesn’t hold back about her insecurities or vulnerabilities throughout the book may it be about herself or her career. She candidly talks about the life in public eye and how celebrities are expected to carry themselves at all times. The constant comparison with others for example – articles like who were this better? She tries to subtly emphasize the point that all celebrities are regular people too and at times that is forgotten when they are held to different standard.

 The title of the book itself has a deeper meaning which didn’t even cross my mind as I was reading it. Why Not Me? The title of the book refers to the constant question she is asked that how come you are so confident? This question she felt implied that you have so little to be confident about then where does t come from?  Mindy Kaling explains how confidence is about entitlement, about believing what you deserve.

I don’t usually read non-fiction books especially memoirs or biographies but I am glad I read this one. It is honest, relatable and so witty. The way it is written, divided into different parts of her life and experiences makes it more interesting. The book is funny and it is deeper than one would expect it to be, it has a good message.  I enjoyed reading this book.

*Get a copy by clicking on the book cover above.

Book Review: Down and Out in Paris and London (George Orwell).

Down and Out in Paris and London.

by George Orwell.

I have read literary critical essays written by George Orwell before but Down and Out in Paris and London is the first full-length work of the author I have read. His works reflect his ideologies. Down and Out in Paris and London is a first full-length novel written by George Orwell. This book is a memoir and it is divided into two parts on the theme of poverty in the two cities of Paris and London.

This novel is an interesting fictional account with touches autobiographical elements to the work. It narrates the story of a poor English writer and his adventures in Paris and London in a surprisingly humorous way. The book is divided into two parts – The first part talks about Parisian life and the second of life in London. At first, I thought that the division into two parts may be meant a time gap or something but it is actually a completely coherent story that happens to be divided into two parts.

In the Parisian part, the writer gives unique descriptions of working in fancy restaurants all over the city. Experience of working in posh kitchens as a dishwasher is described; in short life as a casual laborer in Paris. The first part ties into the second one as he leaves the job in Paris due to its long hours. As the narration begins in London, he expects to have a job waiting but doesn’t. He lives the life of a tramp in London. Staying in different hotels, hostels, and shelters; he lives in the world of tramps.

The stories of Paris and London though are two different parts of the book; the story is a continuation of each other so, it doesn’t feel discarded at any point. The book gives a glimpse into the life of these two major cities of Paris and London in the period of 1900 to 1930. Both of the stories hit home the ‘reality check’ aspect of poverty in society and its struggles. The events described in the book are terrible and depressing but it is written in such a humorous way, without an ounce of self-pity. The characters the narrator meets are colorful and quirky personalities. The main theme of Down and Out in Paris and London is heavy; the book is lighthearted enough to be read at a stretch.

The fact that Orwell experienced the situations taking place in the book at least to some extent makes it more realistic and gritty. A book which is insightful and witty, it is an interesting and different memoir.

*Get a copy by clicking on the book cover above.