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Once Upon a Time in Silver Lake

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All Mindy Kaling wants is a night out…but what does the scary stranger in the driver’s seat of her ride want? Find out in a nerve-racking minidrama by the New York Times bestselling author of Why Not Me? When Mindy and her best friend, B.J. Novak, are approached on a dark street by a Charles Manson–esque character, naturally they’re unnerved. Turns out he’s a huge fan of Th All Mindy Kaling wants is a night out…but what does the scary stranger in the driver’s seat of her ride want? Find out in a nerve-racking minidrama by the New York Times bestselling author of Why Not Me? When Mindy and her best friend, B.J. Novak, are approached on a dark street by a Charles Manson–esque character, naturally they’re unnerved. Turns out he’s a huge fan of The Office! Now Mindy’s feeling a little judgy. But the night is young, unseasonably hot, and getting weirder. Mindy and B.J.’s brief encounter with the drifter is about to take an unexpected turn in Sunset Junction. From the acclaimed writer, actor, director, producer, and New York Times bestselling author comes Nothing Like I Imagined. In these essays, Mindy Kaling shares the latest chapters of a multitasking life in Hollywood. Read or listen to them in a single setting. Either way, they’re pitch-perfect.


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All Mindy Kaling wants is a night out…but what does the scary stranger in the driver’s seat of her ride want? Find out in a nerve-racking minidrama by the New York Times bestselling author of Why Not Me? When Mindy and her best friend, B.J. Novak, are approached on a dark street by a Charles Manson–esque character, naturally they’re unnerved. Turns out he’s a huge fan of Th All Mindy Kaling wants is a night out…but what does the scary stranger in the driver’s seat of her ride want? Find out in a nerve-racking minidrama by the New York Times bestselling author of Why Not Me? When Mindy and her best friend, B.J. Novak, are approached on a dark street by a Charles Manson–esque character, naturally they’re unnerved. Turns out he’s a huge fan of The Office! Now Mindy’s feeling a little judgy. But the night is young, unseasonably hot, and getting weirder. Mindy and B.J.’s brief encounter with the drifter is about to take an unexpected turn in Sunset Junction. From the acclaimed writer, actor, director, producer, and New York Times bestselling author comes Nothing Like I Imagined. In these essays, Mindy Kaling shares the latest chapters of a multitasking life in Hollywood. Read or listen to them in a single setting. Either way, they’re pitch-perfect.

30 review for Once Upon a Time in Silver Lake

  1. 5 out of 5

    Obsidian

    ....I don't know even know what this was? Was it supposed to be a funny story? Cause Kaling telling how when she went out 8 months pregnant with B.J. Novak and someone broke into his car was not funny? It wasn't even outrageous. I felt for the man in this story who definitely sounded like he had a mental problem that seemed to be glossed over so we can hear how Kaling reacted to this whole thing. I don't know what she was going for her, but it didn't work. I sent the other short stories back to ....I don't know even know what this was? Was it supposed to be a funny story? Cause Kaling telling how when she went out 8 months pregnant with B.J. Novak and someone broke into his car was not funny? It wasn't even outrageous. I felt for the man in this story who definitely sounded like he had a mental problem that seemed to be glossed over so we can hear how Kaling reacted to this whole thing. I don't know what she was going for her, but it didn't work. I sent the other short stories back to the Zon cause I just don't have the patience for them at all today.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Caroline

    Honestly, any BJ/Mindy story is a hit, I'd have fun reading their dry cleaning receipts. But this is sufficiently more fun than that. A really mellow drifter attempts to steal B.J's laptop. The drifter posing as an Office fan. B.J interrogating while Mindy blocks his exit via pining him in the driver's seat by standing in front of the door and her 8th month pregnant belly. A story! Confirmation that B.J. is the exactly the type of person to leave a messenger bag in his fancy car at all times. Tel Honestly, any BJ/Mindy story is a hit, I'd have fun reading their dry cleaning receipts. But this is sufficiently more fun than that. A really mellow drifter attempts to steal B.J's laptop. The drifter posing as an Office fan. B.J interrogating while Mindy blocks his exit via pining him in the driver's seat by standing in front of the door and her 8th month pregnant belly. A story! Confirmation that B.J. is the exactly the type of person to leave a messenger bag in his fancy car at all times. Tell me something I don't know. Further proof of close friendship, Mindy loving to listen to B.J.'s entire retelling of a Charles Manson podcast. Them going to nice restaurants together for a night out. This is how I picture the weekend version of their friendship. Now, I know that Mindy is one of the people that pronounces "picture" like "pitcher." And paJAMas instead of paJAmas. Cute. Truly I loved all these essays for their humor and sincerity while providing no actual information about her life. The absolute talent. That's a wrap!

  3. 5 out of 5

    Yoda

    I love reading about her friendship with BJ. Her outlook on life is generally very funny, she makes the most ordinary day-to-day activity sound funny. The only downside is the fact that this could´ve been part of one book with essays instead of publishing it separately.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Mariah Roze

    I love Mindy Kaling, so when she came out with 6 short stories on Audible I had to listen to them! This one did not disappoint. A great story to start off my 2021 reads :) "All Mindy Kaling wants is a night out…but what does the scary stranger in the driver’s seat of her ride want? Find out in a nerve-racking minidrama by the New York Times bestselling author of Why Not Me? When Mindy and her best friend, B.J. Novak, are approached on a dark street by a Charles Manson–esque character, naturally t I love Mindy Kaling, so when she came out with 6 short stories on Audible I had to listen to them! This one did not disappoint. A great story to start off my 2021 reads :) "All Mindy Kaling wants is a night out…but what does the scary stranger in the driver’s seat of her ride want? Find out in a nerve-racking minidrama by the New York Times bestselling author of Why Not Me? When Mindy and her best friend, B.J. Novak, are approached on a dark street by a Charles Manson–esque character, naturally they’re unnerved. Turns out he’s a huge fan of The Office! Now Mindy’s feeling a little judgy. But the night is young, unseasonably hot, and getting weirder. Mindy and B.J.’s brief encounter with the drifter is about to take an unexpected turn in Sunset Junction."

  5. 4 out of 5

    Jenny (Reading Envy)

    We've been watching the Mindy Project (a rewatch for me, first time for my husband) so when I saw this series of six essays by Mindy Kaling it was an obvious download. The Kindle version is free to Amazon Prime members and after you download them you can access the audio free as well. Obviously I listened to this in audio read by the author - this is a buddy adventure story about Mindy and BJ Novak, one night in Los Angeles.... We've been watching the Mindy Project (a rewatch for me, first time for my husband) so when I saw this series of six essays by Mindy Kaling it was an obvious download. The Kindle version is free to Amazon Prime members and after you download them you can access the audio free as well. Obviously I listened to this in audio read by the author - this is a buddy adventure story about Mindy and BJ Novak, one night in Los Angeles....

  6. 5 out of 5

    Sara

    This is part of a collection of essays and I'm going to give it an overall rating of 3.5 rounded up to 4. I listened to these on audio book and Mindy Kaling comes across as extremely personable and funny. It felt like i was listening to a friend tell me about her weekend. This is part of a collection of essays and I'm going to give it an overall rating of 3.5 rounded up to 4. I listened to these on audio book and Mindy Kaling comes across as extremely personable and funny. It felt like i was listening to a friend tell me about her weekend.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Shannon

    Nothing Like I Imagined Since this is a collection of quick personal essays I’ve decided to review them all in one swoop anthology style. Please Like Me (But Keep Away) - 4 Stars - This essay reviews the time when Mindy moved to LA to write for the office and had to find/make friends as an adult. A most daunting task indeed. She speaks of wanting a close group of girlfriends and even her experience in trying to join one and of how she somehow ended up with a male BFF. Making Nothing Like I Imagined Since this is a collection of quick personal essays I’ve decided to review them all in one swoop anthology style. Please Like Me (But Keep Away) - 4 Stars - This essay reviews the time when Mindy moved to LA to write for the office and had to find/make friends as an adult. A most daunting task indeed. She speaks of wanting a close group of girlfriends and even her experience in trying to join one and of how she somehow ended up with a male BFF. Making new friends as an adult is something I’ve yet to really be able to do though I will see my efforts have been less than minimal. I love my current tight knit friend group however I find being the only single, childless one to be alienating and I think it’s unfair to put more demands on their time than they already have but finding new people who I can demand spend time with is very difficult. I’ve said before that Mindy seems familiar and in this essay I see myself. Kind of Hindu - 4.5 Stars - Something I’ve never considered about parenthood (because I haven’t had to) is religion. I’m sure as a member of a dominant religion I wouldn’t bat an eye at raising my child in a christian faith but what if said imaginary child had a father who was of a different faith. What would I do? So many questions that my mind starts to spin and I’ll save you the downward cycle but it’s an important responsibility. The story of her daughter’s Mundan ceremony is humorous from the outside but I’m sure traumatizing for both mama and daughter… and hair stylist. This is the kind of gem I’m happy she shared with the world. I feel like I learned something not only personal but cultural. Help Is On the Way - 4 Stars - Admitting you need help is one of the hardest things to do as an adult. We make decisions and we feel like we should be able to handle the repercussions of these decisions. We follow the example our parents gave us and think we should be able to do it too. That is why Mindy struggles so hard with the decision of hiring a baby nurse. It’s nothing her mother would have done. It is nothing she was culturally raised to do but it turned out to be one of the best experiences of her life. Searching for Coach Taylor - 4 Stars - In this essay we explore single parent pity and what it means to have a husband or partner. Mindy handles it with her trademark wit and grace but makes some other really great points about the things you give up or have to negotiate about too. Once Upon a Time in Silver Lake - 3 Stars - A short, weird tale of a night out with her best friend BJ. I’m not sure what we are supposed to derive from the story. It a good party antidote though. Big Shot - 4 Stars - Mindy shares a lesson she learned about generosity and expecting gratitude. She gives her readers endless curiosity over who “Max Davis” really is. She also shares a day in her life as a kind of bonus essay. Wow the quality of these reviews really diminish. LOL

  8. 5 out of 5

    Barbara Powell

    Funny essay about a night out with BJ Novak and a homeless person. So funny! I just love the way she tells a story!

  9. 5 out of 5

    Trianna/Treereads

    I love random "WTF THAT COULD NEVER HAPPEN STORIES" and this is just that. I love random "WTF THAT COULD NEVER HAPPEN STORIES" and this is just that.

  10. 4 out of 5

    DeAnna

    Nothing Like I Imagined is an essay collection by actress, producer, and writer Mindy Kaling that explores different aspects of her life such as being a (I think) voluntary single mom who wants to makes lots of friends, but due to social anxiety, has learned that the quality over quantity is the better life motto. Being a celebrity, there's a lot of Kaling's life that is completely unrelatable but her opinions and reactions to the various situations depicted in the essays are very relatable. Essa Nothing Like I Imagined is an essay collection by actress, producer, and writer Mindy Kaling that explores different aspects of her life such as being a (I think) voluntary single mom who wants to makes lots of friends, but due to social anxiety, has learned that the quality over quantity is the better life motto. Being a celebrity, there's a lot of Kaling's life that is completely unrelatable but her opinions and reactions to the various situations depicted in the essays are very relatable. Essay 5: Once Upon a Time in Silver Lake (3 Stars) Kaling retells that one time in Silver Lake where she and BFF BJ Novak had a near criminal run-in with a "drifter (version of) Seann William Scott" while trying to get some tasty food before melting in the unseasonal November heat. It's not a completely unrelatable scenario as anyone who owns a vehicle is a potential carjacking victim, but the outcome definitely seems like something that can only happen in certain parts of LA. Essay 1: Kind of Hindu (4 Stars) Essay 2: Please Like Me But Keep Away (4 Stars) Essay 3: Help Is On the Way (Not for Me) Essay 4: Searching for Coach Taylor (Not for Me) Essay 6: Big Shot (3 Stars)

  11. 5 out of 5

    Kireja

    Mindy's obviously a great storyteller and as I was reading, I could just picture everything that played out, almost as if I were watching a show; I could totally see how each essay could be turned into one-off episodes on YouTube. Anyways, the drifter incident was bizarre and the Mindy-B.J. duo were hilarious, but the best part was how Mindy summed up her reaction to the drifter (and all of his weirdness) with a "y tho?". Mindy's obviously a great storyteller and as I was reading, I could just picture everything that played out, almost as if I were watching a show; I could totally see how each essay could be turned into one-off episodes on YouTube. Anyways, the drifter incident was bizarre and the Mindy-B.J. duo were hilarious, but the best part was how Mindy summed up her reaction to the drifter (and all of his weirdness) with a "y tho?".

  12. 5 out of 5

    micki

    3.5 stars. I'm giving all 6 essays in this collection the same rating since it *is* a collection. Mindy is a fantastic writer but I mostly found this collection "meh". Perhaps it's because there were only 6 so I felt dissatisfied--I don't know. I just didn't feel as connected to her as I did in her previous books. I'd still recommend the collection--it's a fast and light read, and Mindy's writing voice is extremely personable. 3.5 stars. I'm giving all 6 essays in this collection the same rating since it *is* a collection. Mindy is a fantastic writer but I mostly found this collection "meh". Perhaps it's because there were only 6 so I felt dissatisfied--I don't know. I just didn't feel as connected to her as I did in her previous books. I'd still recommend the collection--it's a fast and light read, and Mindy's writing voice is extremely personable.

  13. 4 out of 5

    April

    Didn't see that coming Quick easy read. I took a break reading and came back a few days later to finish the story and got confused. I had to backtrack to make sense of it all, but you won't have that problem if you read straight through. Didn't see that coming Quick easy read. I took a break reading and came back a few days later to finish the story and got confused. I had to backtrack to make sense of it all, but you won't have that problem if you read straight through.

  14. 5 out of 5

    The Dreamcatcher

    This one is kinda eerie and hilarious.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Beverly

    My least favorite of these pieces...

  16. 5 out of 5

    Mandi

    I love Mindy’s short essays about different stories in her life.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Toni Vincett

    Yet again Smashing book again. I love to hear ab her and best friend. I love the stories she has to tell

  18. 5 out of 5

    Alan Teder

    Anti-climactic Review of the Amazon Original kindle eBook (2020) A story of a dinner outing with author Kaling and her bff B.J. a fellow writer. Not really on a level with the Once Upon a Time in Hollywood teaser hint of the title, but a fun story nevertheless. Once Upon a Time in Silver Lake is one of the six-part Nothing Like I Imagined collection of autobiographical short comedy essays by Mindy Kaling available through Amazon Originals. Anti-climactic Review of the Amazon Original kindle eBook (2020) A story of a dinner outing with author Kaling and her bff B.J. a fellow writer. Not really on a level with the Once Upon a Time in Hollywood teaser hint of the title, but a fun story nevertheless. Once Upon a Time in Silver Lake is one of the six-part Nothing Like I Imagined collection of autobiographical short comedy essays by Mindy Kaling available through Amazon Originals.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Gleniz

    LOL! I wish I could tell stories like her.

  20. 4 out of 5

    JustJessie

    Those short stories are fantastic! They are perfect to read while talking a break from intense studying. My brain loves this.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Heather

    I really did not get the point of this story and didn't find it funny. Normally I really like Mindy Kaling and the type of humor she provides with her sharp observations and witty language. This particular story felt pointless to me and I didn't understand why it was supposed to be funny. In fact, I found it kind of disturbing for a couple reasons. This is my first read in her new short story collection and I'm hoping the other stories are better. I really did not get the point of this story and didn't find it funny. Normally I really like Mindy Kaling and the type of humor she provides with her sharp observations and witty language. This particular story felt pointless to me and I didn't understand why it was supposed to be funny. In fact, I found it kind of disturbing for a couple reasons. This is my first read in her new short story collection and I'm hoping the other stories are better.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Cyndy

    I read the Nothing Like I Imagined series. I haven’t read anything else by M. Kaling and I didn’t watch The Office. I do like humorous essays and while these weren’t LOL hilarious, there were moments that were funny as hell, personally revealing, touchingly tender, educational, and even creepy. In Kind of Hindu, Mindy reveals that having a daughter made her think about her religion and how she wanted to raise her daughter. I learned about mandala ceremonies. In Please Like Me (But Keep Away) M. I read the Nothing Like I Imagined series. I haven’t read anything else by M. Kaling and I didn’t watch The Office. I do like humorous essays and while these weren’t LOL hilarious, there were moments that were funny as hell, personally revealing, touchingly tender, educational, and even creepy. In Kind of Hindu, Mindy reveals that having a daughter made her think about her religion and how she wanted to raise her daughter. I learned about mandala ceremonies. In Please Like Me (But Keep Away) M. Kaling talks about turning 50 and how when her best friend turned 50, she was one upped by someone else at the party. In Help is on the Way, which I loved, M. Kaling is planning for help with a new baby. As I started reading Something for Coach Taylor I was thinking who the heck is Coach Taylor? M. Kaling explained “Then, in my twenties, I watched Friday Night Lights and was introduced to Coach Taylor, played by national treasure Kyle Chandler.” This short in the series explains when she wishes she had a husband and when she's glad she doesn't have one! In Once Upon a Time in Silver Lake, M. Kaling and her best friend are heading for dinner out and discussing a blog about Charles Manson. They park on the street and are met by a fan that they chat with for a little bit. They walk a few blocks to the restaurant, which was closed. The creepy part comes next and I won’t spoil it, even though it may not be creepy to some. It was creepy to me because they had been discussing Charles Manson. In Big Shot, M. Kaling discusses wanting to be a Big Shot. She also talks about giving and being generous. There’s an extra little treat in this short, in which I found this telling point “...writing essays is just me getting to do all the talking, which is my dream.”

  23. 4 out of 5

    Shikha Katare

    Pointless!!! “Once Upon a Time in Silver Lake" is one of the six-part Nothing Like I Imagined collection of autobiographical short comedy essays by Mindy Kaling available through Amazon Originals. This one didn’t hit the spot as much for me, but it’s… a story. A short, weird tale of a night out with her best friend BJ. I’m not sure what we are supposed to derive from the story. It a good party antidote though. I decided to give two stars instead of one because she did warn at the beginning that ther Pointless!!! “Once Upon a Time in Silver Lake" is one of the six-part Nothing Like I Imagined collection of autobiographical short comedy essays by Mindy Kaling available through Amazon Originals. This one didn’t hit the spot as much for me, but it’s… a story. A short, weird tale of a night out with her best friend BJ. I’m not sure what we are supposed to derive from the story. It a good party antidote though. I decided to give two stars instead of one because she did warn at the beginning that there was no lesson to take from the story. While the story was a weird story, I didn’t find it very entertaining or comedic, so none of my expectations were met for this short essay. Try and decide.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Veronica

    Rating: 2.5 stars I don't understand why they don't just put all these essays into one collection. I wouldn't call this a book in a series because it's just like one extended monologue. It reads like the transcription of a stand-up bit. I read this while I was lying in bed trying to"greet the day," and finished it in 10 minutes. I don't know a ton about Mindy Kaling fan or anything, but her voice is distinct and clearly comes across the page. (I didn't listen to the audio.) This is a humorous and Rating: 2.5 stars I don't understand why they don't just put all these essays into one collection. I wouldn't call this a book in a series because it's just like one extended monologue. It reads like the transcription of a stand-up bit. I read this while I was lying in bed trying to"greet the day," and finished it in 10 minutes. I don't know a ton about Mindy Kaling fan or anything, but her voice is distinct and clearly comes across the page. (I didn't listen to the audio.) This is a humorous and quick read if you're looking for that...or if you're a hardcore Kaling fan. Otherwise, I don't think you'll be missing much.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Shammah

    This short essay is just a strange story that happened to Mindy and her best friend BJ one night while going out to dinner. It’s interesting but I’m left a little confused as to why this was published as a stand-alone. Her other essays have a “lesson learned” or some point to them. This story, while interesting (and I suppose she did learn something from it) didn’t resonate with me like her other essays did. It’s just a funny-strange story that someone would tell at a party. Not one that warrant This short essay is just a strange story that happened to Mindy and her best friend BJ one night while going out to dinner. It’s interesting but I’m left a little confused as to why this was published as a stand-alone. Her other essays have a “lesson learned” or some point to them. This story, while interesting (and I suppose she did learn something from it) didn’t resonate with me like her other essays did. It’s just a funny-strange story that someone would tell at a party. Not one that warrants being published. 4 stars for being clean.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Mythili

    The general review: a series of essays that don't quite add up to the length of her two prior outings, each bite is nevertheless a nice look into Mindy Kaling's life and thoughts. She's been more or less a part of the pop culture landscape since The Office, which is a long time, and her works are worth reading. This...seemed out of place. Less an essay, more of an interesting podcast story in and of itself (ooh...how meta). The note about how Mindy never wants to listen to podcasts but wants to h The general review: a series of essays that don't quite add up to the length of her two prior outings, each bite is nevertheless a nice look into Mindy Kaling's life and thoughts. She's been more or less a part of the pop culture landscape since The Office, which is a long time, and her works are worth reading. This...seemed out of place. Less an essay, more of an interesting podcast story in and of itself (ooh...how meta). The note about how Mindy never wants to listen to podcasts but wants to hear dramatic retellings? I felt SEEN, I tell you, SEEN.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Diane Ramsey

    Valuable Lesson Mindy says she wasn’t sure there was a lesson to be learned from this story (implied for herself). Well, one of the lessons I personally learned was don’t relying on the auto-locking feature of your or your friend’s vehicle and just walk away without making sure it’s secure. I kept reading it because of Mindy’s comment of not being sure there was a lesson in this story. I wanted to see if that was true. There are a few practical lessons. It’s an entertaining story.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Janani Kalpathi

    Drifter Chronicles! My 5th short story read from Mindy on her super wierd yet super funny encounter with a homeless/drifter man and her friend,  B. J.. I can literally visualize how Mindy and B. J. from 'The Office' would have enacted such a scene. The nice part about Mindy's writing is she shares simple stories about her life, ties it back to some lesson she learned or an observation about the larger truth of the world. This coupled with her writing makes it relatable and hence it works! Drifter Chronicles! My 5th short story read from Mindy on her super wierd yet super funny encounter with a homeless/drifter man and her friend,  B. J.. I can literally visualize how Mindy and B. J. from 'The Office' would have enacted such a scene. The nice part about Mindy's writing is she shares simple stories about her life, ties it back to some lesson she learned or an observation about the larger truth of the world. This coupled with her writing makes it relatable and hence it works!

  29. 4 out of 5

    Ellis

    3.5 stars This felt like a bizarre inclusion, especially when this entire part is dedicated to this one story. It's kind of unnerving, instead of funny. And I really wasn't sure what to think once I'd read it. It was nice to find out a bit more about Mindy and B.J.'s friendship. But this felt like it was more of an anecdote that could have been told on a talk show, for example, instead of something that an entire part of Nothing Like I Imagined should have been about. 3.5 stars This felt like a bizarre inclusion, especially when this entire part is dedicated to this one story. It's kind of unnerving, instead of funny. And I really wasn't sure what to think once I'd read it. It was nice to find out a bit more about Mindy and B.J.'s friendship. But this felt like it was more of an anecdote that could have been told on a talk show, for example, instead of something that an entire part of Nothing Like I Imagined should have been about.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Terry

    Is it weird to think we’ve all had this experience? For me this was the most relatable essay in this whole collection. I think a great majority of people have had weird, or scary, even harmless interactions with folks who are trying to steal something from you. Your left there like what just happened. So Mindy’s encounter with a drifter was very relatable, and retold in a witty fashion.

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