Girl Walks into a Bar by Rachel Dratch

Girl Walks into a Bar by Rachel Dratch

It appears that lately I’ve had a thing for the ladies of comedy. A few weeks ago I read (and reviewed) Mindy Kaling’s new book, then last week I bought Tina Fey’s Bossy Pants (which is currently in a box on the slow boat to China) and then today I finished (somewhere 30,000 feet above the flyover states) Rachel Dratch’s new release. I haven’t read Fey’s book, but I do have to admit right up front that between of Kaling’s and Dratch’s books, Kaling wins without a doubt.

Now, that doesn’t mean I didn’t enjoy Girl Walks into a Bar, there were parts that made me laugh and parts that made me reflect on my own choices in life. I definitely agree with Dratch on her views of baby showers, (I mean, how many tiny pairs of pants can one oooh and ahhh over in the space of a single afternoon?)but overall I think the vast difference in where we are in life makes the book fall outside my range of interest.

Dratch focuses a lot on the fact that she became a mother for the first time at the age of forty-four. She had always wanted kids, but didn’t want to be a single mother and Mr. Right hadn’t found his way in to her life yet. Her world is turned upside down when, well past the time she thought she would have to worry about birth control, she finds out she is pregnant. The father is a man she had been seeing long-distance for several months, but one with whom there was no set commitment.

Before getting to the pregnancy, Dratch does detail the horrors of her dating life. I couldn’t help but laugh at how many crazies came her way over the years. From the married man who flirted like there wasn’t a wife and two kids at home to the one who casually asked her if she ever wondered what human flesh tasted like, she definitely got her fill of the New York dating scene.

The book references Saturday Night Live and its cast and host of characters pretty regularly, so that may be a draw for some. While I went through a period when I watched it most weekends, it has been a few years since I could be counted on to know the recurring skits. (Even when I was watching often, it was pretty much only for the digital shorts and Weekend Update. The rest was pretty hit or miss for me.)

Girl Walks into a Bar was a quick read and I am sure it will be popular with mothers who feel the pain/excitement/horror/joy/fear/blessing of an unexpected pregnancy, but this just wasn’t the queen of comedy book I had hoped for.  (Fingers crossed that Tina Fey’s book will fall into the Mindy Kaling category and not the Rachel Dratch one… ) With that said, it was the perfect book for a cross-country airplane ride- easy to read and short chapters that don’t require excessive amounts of concentration.  Overall, Rachel Dratch’s Girl Walks into a Bar earns:

Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me (And Other Concerns) by Mindy Kaling

Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me (And Other Concerns) by Mindy Kaling

As a relatively recent convert to The Office, and now officially in love with it, I was super excited to find this book by Mindy Kaling, one of the show’s writer and actresses. I’ve always been a fan of this genre of non-fiction book- the thoughts and ponderings of a comedian, their take on daily life stuff put into short, witty essays. As it turns out, Kaling is a girl after my own heart.

I’ve decided Mindy Kaling and I would be great pals. We share a love of clothes and fashion magazines and have similar outlooks on many of life’s little quirks. I love that she shares some of her most embarrassing moments, like when she tried out for a play in New York that required singing and dancing and acting, only to horrify the director with her lack of dancing aptitude. At one point she discusses how she is basically the polar opposite of athletic, which is exactly where I would fall on that spectrum as well.

Kaling’s essays are short, but filled with the not-so-mundane details of her pathway to Hollywood. She was raised an obedient child of hard-working immigrant parents who didn’t necessarily see comedy as the way to success in America, and yet they were supportive and she has found her niche in sunny southern California. She wasn’t successful at everything she tried, which is great for us as readers, as it provides hilarious fodder for her writing.

It is fun to see someone just about my same age, referencing the same late 80’s and early 90’s phenomenon that also make up a huge part of my childhood memories. The only thing I didn’t particularly like about this book was the format. They essays didn’t seem to flow between each other as much as I would have liked. I feel like there could have been more of foundation to the book that the writing could then have built off of and become more intertwined, rather than a series of essays that seem to not have a lot of order. (The book is broken into segments, each with an overall theme, but I would have liked to have something a bit more organized.)

This book never made me laugh out loud, but I did chuckle to myself quietly several times. I also found myself nodding along, agreeing as she wandered through her thoughts on marriage and friendship and the protocol behind sneaking out of parties you would rather not be at. If anything, the book was too short. Mindy Kaling’s Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me (And Other Concerns) earns: