I've never seen her performance on The Office, or read her blog, and didn't even know anything about her before I picked up this book, so that might affect my review. However, that could also be a good thing, because I'm in effect rating this book on it's own, as a book, without adding a plus one or two stars just because "oh but she's really funny/charming on TV!"
Actual book review:
Tries to go about enumerating the foibles of her childhood, but kinda boring because it's kind of ordinary. In fact it's almost like it's a little forced, like a required essay for school. ("Part I: Some Funny/Traumatic Events of my Childhood") It's an animated narration to be sure, but I feel that there are certain things she could have done to get a more comical effect (on paper). If it were me I would have milked the Indian-ness (or as the title hinted, the paranoia and being the odd girl on campus) but maybe she steered clear of that because it as expected? She covers some topics that a lot of girls have in common, like being body/weight issues, which was a good move because it makes her likeable/relatable. I liked her stint as a babysitter, maybe because I finally get to see a dynamic in action. I mean, instead of breezing through quick descriptions of her friends or co-workers and how awesome they are, like a slideshow, it would have been better to have a short, quintessential scene where they interact, which would not only help characterize the supporting cast, but also reveal more about the personality of the author.
It got more interesting when she moved to New York and started working. Some funny off-hand comments. I think the humor relies on her running commentary, (pop culture, wisecracks). However it was a little weird that she adopted a certain tone of experience (or was it just me?), but not knowing anything about her outside this book, I needed more proof of her talent, and expected to find it in this book. Her strengths probably lie elsewhere. She's probably terrific at what she does, but comedy writing for a TV show (or a play) and writing a collection of essays... they're just really different formats, and what might work in one medium might not do so well in the other. I was also looking for a unifying theme behind each essay. Like, sure, it could seem like she chose this random event in her life, but put together, they actually plot out how she ended up being who/where she is right now. Cheesy, I know. And probably formula, but I guess this is what I expect from the genre.
Small pet peeve: she seems to use "behooves" a lot. It's colorful the first time, but it stands out too much, the second and third time it's used. Her copyeditor should have pointed it out.
Summary: still funny, good for a quick read. And it's true, men take so long to put on their shoes! I wish she'd included more of these little observations.