Yes, My Accent is Real and Some Other Thins I Haven't Told You by Kunal Nayyar
Rating: Very Good
Description: 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.”)
Full of heart, but never taking itself too seriously, this witty and often inspiring collection of underdog tales follows a young man as he traverses two continents in search of a dream, along the way transcending culture and language (and many, many embarrassing incidents) to somehow miraculously land the role of a lifetime.
Genre: Nonfiction - Memoir
Why I Picked This Book: I'm a huge Big Bang Theory Fan and I really wanted to learn more about the actor who plays Raj.
My Impression: I have wanted to read this book since it came out but I really wanted to listen to the audio when I found out Kunal himself was reading it. When I was offered a chance to try out an audio book for eStories this was the one I knew I wanted to listen to and I was not disappointed! It was an absolute delight.
Kunal starts out the book by stating that this really isn't a memoir because he's only 34 but more a collection of stories that explain how he got to where he is now. Some were silly, some thought provoking, some touching, but all were funny. I enjoyed listening to stories about his childhood growing up in New Delhi and I adored getting to know his family. His bond with his family really shines through and his dad sounds absolutely amazing. Normally when an entire chapter is dedicated to things a family member says I tend to skim through it because frankly their mother/grandmother/father/grandfather/aunt isn't nearly as interesting as the writer thinks they are but in this case it was one of my favorite chapters. For starters Kunal's father is just awesome. He sounds intelligent and funny but also soft spoken and caring but with a tough edge. I also really enjoyed that for each piece of advice Kunal gave an example as to how his father applied the advice to real life.
I really enjoyed his stories about how important his culture is to him as well as learning to fit in at a US university and his first entries into the acting world. The book itself was highly entertaining and I felt like I knew Kunal a lot better after reading/listening to it. My only complaints are that the beginning he jumps around several times timeline-wise and it could feel a little disjointed though I enjoyed the stories themselves and as a huge Big Bang Theory fan I wanted more behind the scenes stories!
If you enjoy memoirs about growing up in countries that aren't the US and about someone trying to make their dreams a reality I think you'd enjoy this one - even if you're not a Big Bang Theory fan.
Note about the audio - Kunal himself did the reading of this book and unsurprisingly did a fantastic job. While I think this would be good in print form the audio was an extra bit of delight.
I used the eStories app to listen to this book and found it super user friendly and was able to immediately listen without having to go through a lot of steps or figure anything out. I really liked that it showed the % complete and how much time was remaining in the book. It works on all devices and has unlimited cloud storage which makes it super flexible. 80%+ of the audiobooks are DRM free so you are free to do as you like with them once they're downloaded. At $11.95 a month it's definitely worth checking out. You can start a free 30 day trial here.
Would I Read More of this Series/Author?: Absolutely! I'll be reading anything else he writes and in the meantime I've been doing some Big Bang Theory re-watching!
Would I Recommend this Book?: I would! Even if you're not a fan of The Big Bang Theory I think it's an enjoyable read.