Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? (and Other Concerns)

Audio Book (CD) | November 1, 2011

byMindy KalingRead byMindy Kaling, B.j. Novak

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Mindy Kaling has lived many lives: the obedient child of immigrant professionals, a timid chubster afraid of her own bike, a Ben Affleck–impersonating Off-Broadway performer and playwright, and, finally, a comedy writer and actress prone to starting fights with her friends and coworkers with the sentence “Can I just say one last thing about this, and then I swear I’ll shut up about it?”
Perhaps you want to know what Mindy thinks makes a great best friend (someone who will fill your prescription in the middle of the night), or what makes a great guy (one who is aware of all elderly people in any room at any time and acts accordingly), or what is the perfect amount of fame (so famous you can never get convicted of murder in a court of law), or how to maintain a trim figure (you will not find that information in these pages). If so, you’ve come to the right book, mostly!
In Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me?, Mindy invites readers on a tour of her life and her unscientific observations on romance, friendship, and Hollywood, with several conveniently placed stopping points for you to run errands and make phone calls. Mindy Kaling really is just a Girl Next Door—not so much literally anywhere in the continental United States, but definitely if you live in India or Sri Lanka.

From the Hardcover edition.

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From the Publisher

Mindy Kaling has lived many lives: the obedient child of immigrant professionals, a timid chubster afraid of her own bike, a Ben Affleck–impersonating Off-Broadway performer and playwright, and, finally, a comedy writer and actress prone to starting fights with her friends and coworkers with the sentence “Can I just say one last thing ...

MINDY KALING is an Emmy-nominated writer and actress on NBC's The Office. She is also the creator and star of a new show, FOX's The Mindy Project. You can find her on Twitter (@mindykaling), or at her desk pretending to be writing a screenplay but actually online shopping with a memorized credit card number. She resides in Los Angeles....

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see all books by Mindy Kaling
Format:Audio Book (CD)Dimensions:5.9 × 5.1 × 1.1 inPublished:November 1, 2011Publisher:Penguin Random House Audio Publishing GroupLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0307939804

ISBN - 13:9780307939807

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Customer Reviews of Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? (and Other Concerns)


Rated 4 out of 5 by from Funny girl! I read her second book first so decided to give this a go. While not as funny as Why not me. definitely had a few belly loves. Love her attitude and humor.
Date published: 2016-11-30
Rated 5 out of 5 by from I loved this! Great read, inspiring and humourous! Mindy Kaling never ceases to amaze me with her books!
Date published: 2016-11-28
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Loved Mindy Kaling I bought this book since I'm a big fan of The Mindy Kaling Project and used to watch The Office, and I was not disappointed. She is hilarious and you can hear her voice and sassiness throughout the book. I loved reading about her unique stories, growing up, and behind the scenes of her career. I would recommend this to anyone who loves her work as an a actress.
Date published: 2016-11-27
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Laugh out loud all the way through I second the review saying "don't read in public". This is the funniest female comedian bio I've read so far + interesting to know more about her career and how she made it as a writer on the office
Date published: 2016-11-26
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Amusing Many relatable stories! I found the book amusing but not as laugh out loud funny as I expected.
Date published: 2016-11-26
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Don't read this in public! I loved this book. It was so funny, and helped me through that stage in my life where I too was looking for a career I loved. I laughed out loud every ten minutes. I enjoyed that it was funny but honest about things like hooking up, friendships, and relationships. A must read!
Date published: 2016-11-24
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Love! This book is hilarious. Mindy Kaling is a strong and super funny woman!
Date published: 2016-11-22
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Five Stars and a Belly Laugh Mindy is hilarious. Her voice flies off the pages and its self deprecating, honest, and ridiculous enough without being completely off the walls. Love.
Date published: 2016-11-21
Rated 2 out of 5 by from Couldn't Get Into The Book I like the way I could hear her voice when I read but I just couldn't get hooked on the book.
Date published: 2016-11-20
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Great book! This is a must-have for fans of Mindy Kaling, women of all ages, and people who just find life a little but too difficult. No celebrity has ever been so relatable before!
Date published: 2016-11-19
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Love Mindy Kaling! This book is great for a good laugh and to boost the spirit! Mindy Kaling is both hilarious and confidence boosting!
Date published: 2016-11-19
Rated 4 out of 5 by from funny read funny and light read. mindy is hilarious, i love her. i personally preferred her second book over this one.#plumreview
Date published: 2016-11-17
Rated 5 out of 5 by from LOL #plumreview hilarious read and great writing! Really enjoyed every chapter. #plumreview
Date published: 2016-11-17
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Great read An awesome, down to earth story about her life. She didnt leave anything out on her road to becoming popular in hollywood, loved it.
Date published: 2016-11-16
Rated 5 out of 5 by from I laughed out loud Mindy tells laugh out loud stories in essay form. I laughed way to loud in places I shouldn't. (bus etc)
Date published: 2016-11-16
Rated 4 out of 5 by from A Great Read! Is Everyone Hanging out Without Me is an amazing read. Mindy Kaling draws you in with her funny and heartfelt stories. The book is a quick and entertaining read that makes you fall in love with Mindy's quirkiness.
Date published: 2016-11-14
Rated 4 out of 5 by from !! This book made my fall in love with Mindy even more! She provides great insight into the normalcy of celebrity lives. She writes about such relatable thoughts and experiences you'll be laughing along with her the whole book!
Date published: 2016-11-13
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Mindy review What a fun read!
Date published: 2016-11-12
Rated 5 out of 5 by from #plumreview Enjoyable read.
Date published: 2016-11-12
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Funny I found this book to be very enjoyable.
Date published: 2016-11-12
Rated 5 out of 5 by from funny I found this book really funny and enjoyable to read
Date published: 2016-11-10
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Honest but not my fav I was so excited to read this book and have to say I was quite disappointed. I didn't find it very funny.
Date published: 2016-11-10
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Very Funny If you are a fan of Mindy you need to read this book. It is funny, start to finish.
Date published: 2016-11-09
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Laugh Out Loud Funny So refreshing! Mindy Kaling is honest, witty, smart and so so funny. Absolutely loved this book.
Date published: 2016-11-09
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Hilarious! I fell in love with Mindy while reading this book. Laugh out loud funny! #plumreview
Date published: 2016-11-09
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Funny and Honest This book was funny, but also surprisingly honest and straight-forward about the challenges she faced to get to where she is today. Real insight into her life.
Date published: 2016-11-09
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Great for Fans of Mindy The book feels more like a conversation with Kaling rather than a quasi-biography. A quick, funny read that will please Kaling fans.
Date published: 2016-11-08
Rated 2 out of 5 by from I wasn't in love I love Mindy Kaling, I love the Mindy Project, I love The Office. But I didn't love this... I don't know why, but reading this book totally put me off of her.
Date published: 2016-11-08
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Fun read! Kaling is able to transfer her great sense of humour to book format! A light and fun read.
Date published: 2016-11-08
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Highly Reccomend I loved this book. It was a nice light read and actually had me laughing. It's a great one and I recommend it to anyone who is a fan of Mindy Kaling!
Date published: 2016-11-08
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Hilarious A quick, funny read with relatable stories. Highly recommend!
Date published: 2016-11-08
Rated 5 out of 5 by from I love Mindy! I love this book so much! Mindy is so funny and inspiring. #plumreview
Date published: 2016-11-07
Rated 5 out of 5 by from So funny Loved this book. A quick and funny read!
Date published: 2016-11-07
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Amazing! Such a great and funny book to read. A nice book to pick up and put down over a longer period if you can't seem to find the time to read.
Date published: 2016-11-06
Rated 5 out of 5 by from good read Too funny!
Date published: 2016-11-06
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Amazing! Super funny! worth the read!
Date published: 2016-11-05
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Love Mindy! So excited to receive the next one!
Date published: 2016-11-04
Rated 5 out of 5 by from So funny! A funny and light-hearted read! Very enjoyable
Date published: 2016-11-03
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Funny and Awesome Laughed out loud when reading this book.
Date published: 2016-10-13
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Enjoyed Every Moment An enjoyable read! Mindy is so funny, I couldn't put it down.
Date published: 2016-08-18
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Entertaining Really entertaining, couldn't put it down!
Date published: 2016-06-12
Rated 5 out of 5 by from I loved it! She's so funny!
Date published: 2016-03-02
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Light and funny I'm on the last chapter of this book and I really have enjoyed it! Personally I think her second book, "Why Not Me?" is better, but I still enjoyed this one too and would recommend it to anyone that is a fan of Mindy.
Date published: 2015-12-25
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Awesome night read This was a pretty funny book. I enjoyed it and would recommend it to anyone looking for a quick book to make their days brighter.
Date published: 2015-10-20
Rated 5 out of 5 by from A very fun read A very funny and enjoyable read. I found it to be a great change to my typical dramatic, story-line based novels. And Mindy's lists are not only hilarious but bluntly insightful!
Date published: 2015-10-03
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Loved this! Wow. A racialized not skinny female comedian. Never thought I'd see the day. Although these are reasons I respect Mindy Kaling, it's not why I love her. That comes from who she is. Read this to see why
Date published: 2015-09-30
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Getting to Know Mindy I didn't know who Mindy was before watching her recent show The Mindy Project (amazing). This book is before I knew who she was. It's great to have a closer look to really grasp her career and how she developed. It's a very quick read, I enjoyed the style the book was put together as quick entries. Her voice and personality really came through as I read. Why Not Me is currently on route to my home can't wait to see what has happened next!
Date published: 2015-09-21
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Indigo Staff Pick Mindy Kaling’s debut is one of those books that you pick up and can’t put down! I read this book when it first came out, and it has still been one of those books I pick up when I’m in the mood for a laugh. Kaling’s writing style is so true to how she is you can basically hear her voice coming from the pages. Mindy is like that best friend you’ve always wanted who just gets it, and says it like it is. “Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? (And Other Concerns)” is a compilation of Mindy Kaling’s musings, and it gives you a bit of insight into how Mindy has worked her way up to get where she is. Such a great and funny read!
Date published: 2015-07-09
Rated 5 out of 5 by from A sneak peak into the mind of a comedy writer I did not expect any less or any more from Mindy. In fact, when I was reading this book, her voice was reading it en lieu of mine - it was so spot on of what I've seen of Mindy through her show writing and acting. Talk about being consistent. It was a light read but she definitely brings up some good points. I'm reassured that I'm not the only one who thinks about some things she discussed in her book!
Date published: 2015-04-12
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Random Random chapters avout nothing, most interesting parts are about the office, a few laughs here and there
Date published: 2015-04-11
Rated 2 out of 5 by from Expected more from a comedy writer I like Mindy's personality and chuckled a few times, but encountered no deep belly laughs. I found the repetitive "or whatever"s became quickly irritating. Perhaps the reader is expected to hear the words in Mindy's voice, and maybe then it would be funnier. The words alone just didn't do it for me, for the most part. If you're looking for a well-edited, grammar-respecting novel to pass enthusiastically to your friends which doesn't seem like a choppy brain dump of blog posts or journal entries, I personally don't think this is it. PS - I picked this up after reading Chelsea Handler's "Uganda Be Kidding Me" that left me in stitches (sorry Mindy); that may have been my first mistake.
Date published: 2015-04-07
Rated 2 out of 5 by from Expected more from a comedy writer Meh - this book was alright. I like Mindy's personality and chuckled a few times, but encountered no deep belly laughs. I found the repetitive "or whatever"s became quickly irritating. Perhaps the reader is expected to hear the words in Mindy's voice, and maybe then it would be funnier. The words alone just didn't do it for me, for the most part. If you're looking for a well-edited, grammar-respecting novel to pass enthusiastically to your friends which doesn't seem like a choppy brain dump of blog posts or journal entries, I personally don't think this is it. PS - I picked this up after reading Chelsea Handler's "Uganda Be Kidding Me" that left me in stitches (sorry Mindy); that may have been my first mistake.
Date published: 2015-04-07
Rated 2 out of 5 by from Not for me I was looking for a light read but this was just so far out of my interests that I was very bored. I respect Mindy but I found the book shallow and uninteresting.
Date published: 2015-03-16
Rated 5 out of 5 by from I laughed throughout the book! Mindy is really awesome! The funniest book I've read recently! There were times I was reading in the bus and could not help laughing loud...
Date published: 2015-02-26
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Love love love I love Mindy, I find her hilarious and if you have seen and enjoyed anything with her in it (especially the Mindy Project) I highly suggest you read this. The book had me laughing out loud through pretty much the entire thing. I'm not one to reread books but I will for sure read this one over and over--it's a great pick-me-up!
Date published: 2015-02-09
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Is everyone hanging... I feel like my sister from another mother nailed it. Cindy is awesome, no, Mindy, my bad. So glad she embraces and owns her body-you know why they call clothes a size 0? because that is how much personality you need to fit in them. What self-respecting woman says no to chocolate? Love you Mindy, call me and we will do lunch-later!
Date published: 2015-01-25
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Great read Irreverent and funny, it's easy to see what has made Mindy Kaling a successful tv comedy writer. If you enjoy any of her television work you will obviously enjoy this read, but I think it is valuable beyond that as well. In particular I think this is a book that young women would benefit from reading. Not just those interested in a similar career, but those who are learning about who they are and what they love, and how to shape that into a genuine and fulfilling adulthood.
Date published: 2015-01-24
Rated 4 out of 5 by from So funny! Love Mindy, she is great! Nice to read how she got where she is today! Funny and hard to put down! :)
Date published: 2015-01-23
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Perfect beach read...or couch read....or anywhere really Her humour just kills me, she's so self-deprecating and unapologetic I love it. I found this book well written and quite funny, even my husband read it after! Love her, love her show - if you liked the Office and/or Mindy Project you need to read this ASAP.
Date published: 2015-01-05
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Mindy Rocks! Loved it. So Funny. I wish I could hang out with Mindy. This book and Mindy's show are one of the few thing that makes me laugh since the loss of my mom.
Date published: 2014-12-22
Rated 5 out of 5 by from The most hilarious book I've read in a really really long time So happy I bought this, I also picked up copies to give to friends
Date published: 2014-12-22
Rated 3 out of 5 by from A little confused I have to admit that the only way i knew about Mindy Kaling when i was buying the book was The Office. Moreover, i didnt even know she was one of the writers. So basically i was buying the book "written by the girl who played Kelly". Even though it got a disclaimer of "you read it like a magazine" - it doesnt feel this way at all times. My main trouble with the book is that it is very irregular in its style. Some parts you read through in a blink of an eye, others you dont even understand why you are supposed to be reading it, because it is either irrelevant or is out of your age range. However i definitely had an easy relaxing experience. P.S. I started watching Mindy Project right after that and some of the jokes are in both book and series (not the case with The Office). This threw me off a bit, but luckily they stopped it fast enough.
Date published: 2014-12-08
Rated 5 out of 5 by from More Mindy! I couldn't get enough of this book. Talking in her blunt fashion that never gets old, Mindy captures what it's like to be in a forever gabbing, gossiping, thinking, creating mind. It can get you into trouble but who cares, because you're just doing you. Mindy reminds you of this in her easy-to-read, funny manner.
Date published: 2014-11-14
Rated 4 out of 5 by from A light flirty read. If you like Mindy's sense of humour you will enjoy this book. It reads like she explains in the beginning, like a great magazine but with a lot of humour in her life stories. I think she is so hilarious and I love how straight forward she is about her perspective.
Date published: 2014-11-10
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Mindy Kaling's book is lovely and hilarious! Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? (and Other Concerns), was absolutely lovely
Date published: 2014-11-10
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Mindy Kaling's book is lovely and hilarious! Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? (and Other Concerns), was absolutely lovely
Date published: 2014-11-10
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Love Mindy - so funny! This was a great book to read, as mentioned by previous reviews it is a great way to get insight on how Mindy started her career. If you have watched her show her humor is exactly the same in this book, so funny! Loved this book
Date published: 2014-11-04
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Hilarious! I have read this entire book with a smirk on my face. Very funny, well written light read :)
Date published: 2014-11-03
Rated 5 out of 5 by from You will be laughing out load with every page you read! This book is just hilarious! If you’ve seen Mindy as Kelly Kapoor in The Office or as Mindy Lahiri in her new show The Mindy Project then you know what a comical character she plays in these roles and seeing as Mindy Kaling is just such an absolutely talented human being you would know that she was a writer for both shows, so this books will not disappoint. Not that Mindy is like the characters she plays on TV, but she will definitely makes you laugh just as hard.
Date published: 2014-10-31
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Easy, funny read! A must-read for Mindy fans! A sweet and honest account of her childhood and early career. You probably won't be asked to write a book report on this, but you will be entertained.
Date published: 2014-10-30
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Amazing! Totally loved this book, gave great insight to how she started her career! Really funny too
Date published: 2014-10-20
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Love Mindy! I came across this book after I started watching her show which definitely made me understand her comedic tone a lot better. I truly enjoyed it as I expected to. She's a phenomenal writer whose career in Hollywood I really hope to last because she's a rare talent.
Date published: 2014-10-14
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Fun read This is a fun easy read. Good for summer vacation.
Date published: 2014-09-24
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Love Mindy's humor so much! I love Mindy Kaling from The Mindy Project. I must admit I've only got to know her (through tv) from The Mindy Project and not The Office. I loved her role on The Mindy Project and only later found out she actually writes for the show and is also a producer (triple threat is right! < something Mindy mentioned in this book). When I knew she wrote an autobiographical/humor book, I HAD to get my hands on it. Now that I've read it, I am so so happy that I tracked it down and requested it from Random House Canada. I loved it so much and laughed.. out loud? in public? SEVERAL times.. I am not lying when I say my sister and my friend were embarrassed because I would spontaneously (in their eyes) burst out laughing in the middle of a cafe. This book is all kinds of awesome. Mindy's humor is definitely not lost through her writing.. it might even be more prominent. I would reread so many paragraphs and get anyone beside me to listen to me. At one point I tried telling my sister about a chapter titled "Chubby Life" and I honestly had to take a break every word to laugh, to the point that I just passed her the book and pointed vaguely at the paragraph and continued laughing and wiping my tears. The way Mindy wove in her humor and still managed to pretty much tell us her life story is such a skill. I loved reading up more about her and learning about her rise from a babysitter with no health insurance to a permanent writer on The Office. Of course this book was published pre-The Mindy Project, so I was a little disappointed in that (my problem, not the book's) but she DOES have a new book coming out and I'm super excited for that. I pretty much never read non-fiction, but I think I'm going to make an except for humor non-fiction.. at least if they are anywhere near as good as Mindy's book. Still, I feel like Mindy's humor is very unique and that's why I love her so much on her show. I can't recommend this book enough and I already have two people who are waiting in line to borrow this book from me. It is only 222 pages and they're all amazing.
Date published: 2014-08-11
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Funny! Worth the read
Date published: 2014-08-10
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Is everyone hanging out without me? It was very well written compared to most bio's but I did find it a tad dull. Also though it was different because here was a woman writing her bio and it wasn't infiltrated about boys or men and the heartache that she went through. This book, through and through is warmly written and not over the top. Kinda like the way a bio should be.
Date published: 2014-07-31
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Mindy Kalin is hilarious... Laugh out loud funny. Plus she used the word 'whimsy' the perfect number of times, which I adore.
Date published: 2014-07-31
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Robin Great book, she has such a practical funny way of looking at things. Quick read.
Date published: 2014-07-12
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Hilarious Her book is a really laugh out book that leaves you smling at the end! I look forward to reading her next book!
Date published: 2014-05-31
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Mindy's the best! Easy, bright, honest and all those other cliche things real book reviewers write. Read it! Had much fun making others wonder, "What is that guy reading?" Or, "Do you think he has a neurological disorder?" - cuz I don't remember how to spell Tourettes - is that it?!
Date published: 2014-05-28
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Mindy Kaling is the funniest Such a hilarious book. Mindy Kaling writes stories in such a way that they can be sad but she still makes you laugh. I guess thats what happens when you're a comedy writer. A very insightful book for any young girl struggling in her path to success, reassuring her that there will be bad times that you will eventually look back on and laugh. 
Date published: 2014-03-16
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Mindy's the best! If you love Mindy's dry sense of humour and want a glimpse into the life of a Hollywood writer (or Hollywood writer wannabe), this is your book.
Date published: 2014-01-31
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Mindy's the best! I loves this book. It was hilarious. I kept laughing out loud the hole way through. If you are a fan of the office or The Mindy project, please read this book. It's an easy read. I read it all within a few hours. I just couldn't put the book down. Her personality and comedy are priceless.
Date published: 2014-01-23
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Very Relateable I found the first 3/4 of this book hilarious and down to earth. You almost forget that Mindy is a successful TV writer and actress. The last 1/4 of the book was kind of drawn out and wasn't holding my attention. Still glad I bought it though.
Date published: 2013-12-02
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Can we be BFF's, Mindy?? Dear Mindy, Can we be BFF's? We can have sleepovers and watch television reruns all night. We can not go for runs together. We'll gossip about boys all night. It will be glorious. Love, Brie Ok, but seriously, Mindy is one of those famous people I would actually want to be best friends with in real life. I watched Mindy as Kelly Kapoor on the office for years, looking forward to every time she appeared in an episode (damn you Mindy, for being such a great writer for the show that you eventually had to stop acting in it altogether). Then I found out she was writing a book and I was pretty excited for it's release. AND THEN, I found out she had her very own show coming out. Needless to say, I've watched every episode of The Mindy Project since it began airing last fall and I love it. I am a HUGE Mindy fan. Obviously. Having listened to Mindy's book shortly before her new TV show began has made me appreciate her show so much more. I feel like it's so "Mindy". So many of her personality quirks and tendencies that ooze out of her book seem to be portrayed in her character on the The Mindy Project. She may be acting to film the show, but her character on The Mindy Project is relatable, honest, sarcastically hilarious and just trying to find love when it seems like the search is hopeless. Which, really, isn't too far off from the Mindy in her book. Plus, her name in the show is also Mindy, so there's that. Read the rest of my review on my blog:
Date published: 2013-04-22
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Absolutely hilarious! Great read! Mindy delivers the same wit and humour she did for the Office in this collection of essays written about her life. It's such an easy read-- I finished it in no time, the humour made me laugh out loud. She brings a quirky, fun, yet professional feel to her writings, which is relatable and fun to laugh at. Even if you haven't seen her show, definitely check out this book. You'll fall in love with Mindy.
Date published: 2013-01-12

Extra Content

Read from the Book

Chubby for LifeI don’t remember a time when I wasn’t chubby. Like being Indian, being chubby feels like it is just part of my permanent deal. I remember being in first grade, in Mrs. Gilmore’s class at Fiske Elementary School, and seeing that Ashley Kemp, the most popular girl in our class, weighed only thirty-seven pounds. We knew this because we weighed her on the industrial postal scale they kept in the teacher’s supply closet. I was so envious. I snuck into the supply closet later that same day to weigh myself. I was a whopping sixty-eight pounds.Some of the first math I understood was that I was closer to twice Ashley’s weight than to her weight.“Don’t be closer to twice a friend’s weight than to her actual weight,” I told myself. This little mantra has helped me stave off obesity for more than two decades.My mom’s a doctor, but because she came from India and then Africa, where childhood obesity was not a problem, she put no premium on having skinny kids. In fact, she and my dad didn’t mind having a chubby daughter. Part of me wonders if it even made them feel a little prosperous, like Have you seen our overweight Indian child? Do you know how statistically rare this is? It will then not come as a surprise to you that I’ve never been thin in my life—except the day I was born, when I was six pounds.It’s a small point of pride that I was a six-pound baby, because from my limited understanding of baby weights, that’s on the skinnier side. I flaunt my low baby weight the way really obese people must flaunt their dainty, small feet. It’s my sole claim to skinny fame.As you can see, from then on, however, it was full-speed-ahead food paradise! In grade school, I would vacillate along the spectrum from chubby to full-on fat until I was about fourteen. Being overweight is so common in America and comes in so many forms that you can’t just call someone “fat” and have the reasonable expectation anyone will understand you. Here’s the breakdown:Chubby: A regular-size person who could lose a few, for whom you feel affection.Chubster: An overweight, adorable child. That kid from Two and a Half Men for the first couple of years.Fatso: An antiquated term, really. In the 1970s, mean sorority girls would call a pledge this. Probably most often used on people who aren’t even really fat, but who fear being fat.Fatass: Not usually used to describe weight, actually. This deceptive term is more a reflection of one’s laziness. In the writers’ room of The Office, an upper-level writer might get impatient and yell, “Eric, take your fat ass and those six fatasses and go write this B-story! I don’t want to hear any more excuses why the plot doesn’t make sense!”Jabba the Hutt: Star Wars villain. Also, something you can call yourself after a particularly filling Thanksgiving dinner that your aunts and uncles will all laugh really hard at.Obese: A serious, nonpejorative way to describe someone who is unhealthily overweight.Obeseotron: A nickname you give to someone you adore who has just stepped on your foot accidentally, and it hurts. Alternatively, a fat robot.Overweight: When someone is roughly thirty pounds too heavy for his or her frame.Pudgy: See “Chubby.”Pudgo: See “Chubster.”Tub o’ Lard: A huge compliment given by Depression-era people to other, less skinny people.Whale: A really, really mean way that teen boys target teen girls. See the following anecdote.Duante DialloThere have been two times in my life—ages fourteen and nineteen—when I lost a ton of weight over a short period of time. At fourteen, I lost the weight because of Duante Diallo.In ninth grade, my class was made up mostly of the same kids with whom I had gone to middle school, with the exception of about twenty splashy new students. One of those students was Duante.Duante Diallo was a handsome kid from Senegal who’d moved to Boston to play basketball for our school. He was immediately the star forward of our varsity basketball team. We had a not-great artsy-private-school basketball team, the kind made up of slender boys whose primary goal was to seem well-rounded for college applications. But you could tell Duante would’ve been the star of even a really good team. He was beloved by teachers because he was a brave kid for being so far away from his parents, and beloved by students because he was good-looking, a jock, and had an interesting African accent. Also, people couldn’t believe the stuff he had done in Senegal, like smoke, drive a car, have sex, live in a village, and hold a gun. When he was introduced at a student assembly, he chose to give a short speech where he taught us a sports cheer in Senegalese. In the hallways, small crowds would form around Duante as he shared stories from his past. Once he shot a cow with an AK-47. He was so popular you could barely look at him without being blinded by cool.Duante was also, unfortunately, a tyrannical asshole. Maybe I should have gleaned this from the joy with which he told the story about murdering a cow with a massive gun. He fixated on me early in the year as being overweight and was open with his observations. At first it had the veneer of niceness. For example, once I was getting a drink of water in the hallway where he and his friends were standing.Duante: You would actually be really pretty if you lost weight.His face was gentle and earnest, as though what he had really said was, “You remind me of a sunset in my native Senegal.” It was confusing. All I could muster as a reply to this insulting comment was “thank you.” I was hurt, but I rationalized that maybe Duante had been around only extremely thin African girls his whole third-world life and didn’t know American girls had access to refrigeration, and that we didn’t have to divide up UN food parcels with our neighbors. (This may have been a tad racist an assumption on my part. Look, we were both in the wrong.)By winter, I had not lost any weight, and in fact had gained about ten more pounds. This really bothered Duante. I think he felt he had gone out of his way to give me some valuable advice and I had chosen not to follow it, therefore insulting him. One day in February, I walked into the freshmen center, he stopped mid-conversation with his friends and gestured to me.Duante: Speaking of whales . . .I don’t even think they’d been talking about whales. The guys all laughed, but even I could tell some felt guilty doing it. I had been friends with most of them since we were kids. Danny Feinstein, who was my Latin study buddy, came up to me later that afternoon and told me that “What Duante said wasn’t cool.” He had a stoic look of noble do-gooder, although he had said nothing at the time of the insult. Again, I was forced to say thank you. How I continually found myself in situations where I felt I had to say thank you to mean guys, I’m not sure.It was a tough winter. I had gone from competitive, bookish nerd to nervous target. If this was Heathers, I was Martha Dumptruck and this mean African kid was all three Heathers. I turned my obsessive teenage energy away from reading Mad magazine and focused on my diet. I didn’t have access to a lot of weight-loss resources, because this was pre-Internet. There was one Weight Watchers near us, but it shared a mini-mall parking lot with a sketchy Salvation Army, and my parents didn’t like the idea of taking me there for meetings. So I invented a makeshift diet formula: I would eat exactly half of what was put in front of me, and no dessert. Without exercising, I lost thirty pounds in about two months. A janitor at school whom I liked, Mrs. Carrington, would see me and say, “Damn, you’ve got a metabolism on you, don’t you girl?” The janitors were always in my corner.I remember waking up in the morning and looking down at my fingers and seeing they had shrunk overnight. Suddenly I was freezing all the time, like those skinny girls in movie theaters are always complaining about, and needed to sleep with an extra wool blanket. My face thinned out, and my belly went away. I stopped wearing oversize college sweatshirts and corduroy pants with elastic waists. Light brown lines appeared on my upper inner arms that looked like little rivers headed to my shoulder blades. I actually thought they looked pretty, until my mom told me they were stretch marks from losing so much weight so fast. It was like a Disney sci-fi movie. Mom was impressed but didn’t want me to go overboard, which was impossible, because I was still eating a lot. I just had taken a break from eating like a professional football player. I loved all the side effects of losing the weight, but the reason I did it was so that Duante would stop making fun of me, so I could hang out in the freshmen center again, and not where I had been: across the street in the Fairy Woods.I thought Duante would finally leave me alone, but he didn’t. One day I was walking down the hallway to class and passed Duante and his group of friends.Duante: Remember when Mindy was like (blowing out his cheeks to make a fat face) a whale?They all laughed. Come on, dude. Remember when? I’m getting made fun of because I used to be fat? The laws of bullying allow you to be cruel even when the victim had made strides for improvement? This is when I realized that bullies have no code of conduct.Lucky for me, Duante was a bad student. English was his second language and that made everything harder for him. I delighted in the fact that he had to go to the middle school to take some of his classes. Sophomore year he broke his leg when he slipped during practice and collided with another student. For a short time he was even more popular, as sports injuries tend to make people, but then soon enough his crutches were tedious to people when he was slow-moving and hard to get around in the hallway. He didn’t play that season, and was never as good at basketball after the injury. He dropped out junior year, and I heard he got a girl pregnant. Part of me now feels a little bad for Duante Diallo, but not at the time. I was so happy. That fucking mean Senegalese kid.An InterventionI stayed at a pretty normal weight until college, when I put on the freshman thirty-five in the first six months. What’s that? You’ve never heard of the freshman thirty-five? That’s funny, because neither had my parents, who welcomed me home on spring vacation with mild horror. I was a vaguely familiar food monster who had eaten their daughter.When I lost weight at nineteen, it was significant because that is when I first started exercising. I had always successfully avoided exercise as a kid, by being an extra in school plays, or signing up for fake-y sports like Tai Chi, or manipulating gym teachers into letting me read books in the bleachers. So it was at Dartmouth College, in 1999, that I discovered exercise when my best friend, Brenda, taught me how to run. I was a sloth upon whom Brenda took pity, and she saved me from near-obesity with the patience and tenacity of Annie Sullivan, the Miracle Worker.Our workout routine was simple and mind-numbingly repetitive, an atmosphere in which I flourished, oddly. I started out walking for twenty minutes, and then Bren would make me do little spurts of running between lampposts or street signs. (For the record, Bren, a natural athlete, runs, like, a six-minute mile. This was an absolute waste of time for her. She was just doing this out of her well-brought-up Catholic kindness.) Then we’d come back to our apartment and do Abs of Steel together. Even though we mercilessly made fun of the video, which was from the deep eighties and included Tamilee Webb wearing aqua bike shorts and a pink thong leotard, we did it religiously. Tamilee had a rock-hard butt, and there was nothing ironic about it. The whole experience was surprisingly fun and cemented a friendship between Brenda and me for life. How can you not make a best friend out of a girl who has seen the sweat-soaked pelvis area of your gym pants, daily, and who still chooses to spend time with you? In this safe and friendly setting, I lost thirty pounds in a semester.I Love DietsI wish I could just be one of those French women you read about who stays thin by eating only the most gourmet foods in tiny, ascetic proportions, but I could never do that. First of all, I largely don’t like gourmet food. I like frozen yogurt. I think it tastes better than ice cream. I love diet soda; when I drink juice or regular soda it makes my blood sugar spike and I act like a cracked out Rachael Ray, but without the helpful household tips. I even like margarine, though everyone tells me it’s basically poison or whatever. So, that’s one thing I have going against me. Another obstacle is that my pattern is to eat exactly as much as whoever is hanging out with me, and between boyfriends and my tall athletic friends, we’re a bunch of huge eaters. I really do have a remarkable appetite. I remember when the news reports came out about Michael Phelps’s ten-thousand-calorie-a-day diet, and everyone was so shocked. But I just thought, yep, I could do that, no problem.Ultimately, the main reasons why I will be chubby for life are (1) I have virtually no hobbies except dieting. I can’t speak any non-English languages, knit, ski, scrapbook, or cook. I have no pets. I don’t know how to do drugs. I lost my passport three years ago when I moved into my house and never got it renewed. Video games scare me because they all seem to simulate situations I’d hate to be in, like war or stealing cars. So if I ever lost weight I would also lose my only hobby; (2) I have no discipline; I’m like if Private Benjamin had never toughened up but, in fact, got worse; (3) Guys I’ve dated have been into me the way I am; and (4) I’m pretty happy with the way I look, so long as I don’t break a beach chair.My love for dieting is a recent realization. It turns out I have a passion for trying out new eating plans and exercises. Dukan, South Beach, French Women Don’t Get Fat, Cavemen Don’t Get Fat, Single-Celled Organisms Don’t Get Fat, Skinny Bitch, Skinny Wretch—after a while on one regimen, I get bored and want to try a new one. It’s actually fun for me to read all the material and testimonials of the tan, shammy doctors who stand by the diets medically. It’s only a matter of time before the Jane Austen Diet comes out, and I’m really looking forward to spending a spring adhering to that one.

Editorial Reviews

“She’s like Tina Fey’s cool little sister. Or perhaps… the next Nora Ephron.” —The New York Times  “The fashion opinions of Kelly Kapoor mixed with a Miss Manners-esque advice column.” — “If you love Kelly and think the three minutes or so allotted her on episodes of The Office are too few, you can take home Mindy.” —The New Yorker “Is anyone else kind of sold on the genius title alone?” —Nylon“Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? (And Other Concerns) is hilarious and relatable—just like Kaling’s classic Tweets.” —Ladies Home JournalFrom the Hardcover edition.