Synopsis (From GoodReads):
Of all the charming misfits on television, there’s no doubt Raj from The Big Bang Theory — the sincere yet incurably geeky Indian-American astrophysicist — ranks among the misfittingest. Now, we meet the actor who is every bit as loveable as the character he plays on TV. In this revealing collection of essays written in his irreverent, hilarious, and self-deprecating voice, Kunal Nayyar traces his journey from a little boy in New Delhi who mistakes an awkward first kiss for a sacred commitment, gets nosebleeds chugging Coca-Cola to impress other students, and excels in the sport of badminton, to the confident, successful actor on the set of TV’s most-watched sitcom since Friends.
Going behind the scenes of The Big Bang Theory and into his personal experiences, Kunal introduces readers to the people who helped him grow, such as his James Bond-loving, mustachioed father who taught him the most important lessons in life: Treat a beggar as you would a king. There are two sides to every story. A smile goes a long way. And, when in doubt, use a spreadsheet. Kunal also walks us through his college years in Portland, where he takes his first sips of alcohol and learns to let loose with his French, 6’8” gentle-giant roommate, works his first-ever job for the university’s housekeeping department cleaning toilets for minimum wage, and begins a series of romantic exploits that go just about as well as they would for Raj. (That is, until he meets and marries a former Miss India in an elaborate seven-day event that we get to experience in a chapter titled “My Big Fat Indian Wedding.”)
Kunal Nayyar plays one of television's most beloved characters, Raj Koothrappali, in The Big Bang Theory. When I heard he had written a memoir, I didn't know what to expect. How could a 35 year-old have enough life experience to fill an entire book? Well, I needn't have been concerned. This book shares some wonderful life-lessons (and also pays homage to his amazing father).
What I liked:
This book was written in such a way that it served two purposes: autobiography and life-lessons. First, it did give a rough retelling of his life history (where he is from, information about his parents, etc.). But he does this by telling anecdotes of moments in his life where he learned something important. I loved that.
Often, the first half of any memoir is a boring recounting of one's life. Usually, I want to skip ahead to the section where the celebrity finally becomes famous and will start to spill some juicy gossip.
But each of his stories are compelling. The majority of his chapters are about his experiences in college. Kunal came to the U.S. to study economics in Portland, Oregon. What an abrupt change from his life in India! He writes a lot about being an outsider trying to fit in with his peers. I think many of us can relate to this. Whether you move to a new school or job, or move to a foreign country, being the new person is scary! Being away from home for the first time in a new culture must have been very daunting.
Of all the sections, I really enjoyed the way Kunal spoke of his courtship and wedding to former Miss India, Neha Kupur. This was not only a celebration of his culture, but of his loving family. Amid the lavish parties and rituals, Kunal takes the time to acknowledge his parents and brother and really appreciate all they have done for him.
I found this book to be a wonderful fish out of water account of Kunal Nayyar's life. I only wish I could have listened to the audio book so I could hear him speak his written words.
Release Date: September 15th, 2015
Source: Public Library
Format: Hardback Book
Recommendation: A book for anyone who has had to navigate a new situation (basically everyone). This book shows how a person gets what they want in life, while treating others with kindness and respect.