Author: Kunal Nayyar
Release Date: September 15, 2015
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
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. (Goodreads)
Sometimes people ask me, “Why are you writing a memoir? You’re only thirty-three.”
This is not a memoir. I’m not a president, or an astronaut, or a Kardashian.
**I received this book for review from the publisher. This does not affect my opinion or review.**
I love The Big Bang Theory. All the characters are great but I definitely have a soft spot for Raj. Imagine my excitement when I found out that the actor who plays him was coming out with a book!! I haven’t read very many memoirs or other books along the lines of this one but I hope all the ones I do read in the future are as enjoyable as this! Nayyar is, along with being an incredible actor, an amazing storyteller.
It took me no time at all to become completely engrossed in the story he wants to share. Now, it’s a collection of essays but they ultimately add up to the collective story of Kunal. I knew him as Raj and that was about it. Yes, My Accent is Real gives a look at the man behind the astrophysicist. Let me tell you, this man is JUST as funny as his character and the show he’s on. His style is self-deprecating, hilarious, and real. I felt like Kunal could be having a conversation with just me, telling me the stories over a cup of coffee or something. I mean, I’m even inclined to just refer to him Kunal now because he did it so often in the book! (Clearly this means we’re friends now 😀 )
Aside from getting a new BFF, this book also made me think. A lot of the struggles he shares with us, the lessons weaved into the essays, and how relatable the book was got my brain working. I had a few very self-reflective moments, thought about where I’m headed and what I need to do to get where I want to be. It’s also great to know that someone in such an incredible position had things go so off-track from what they had planned as well. Sometimes I feel like I’m struggling proportionately more than I should in certain aspects of life and it’s good to know I’m not alone! Thanks for the motivation, Kunal!
Another aspect I absolutely adored in this collection was the cultural exploration. I didn’t know much about India or their culture but there are so many interesting details included in the essays. I loved reading about the various holidays, traditions, events, and daily-life tidbits of somewhere so different from Canada. What made it even better was the real-life commentary added in by Kunal. Yes, he tells us what the different festivites are all about, what they entail, and such but the pieces about how they fit into his daily experience (like how a Rakhi can put you firmly in the friendzone…and for the record, I’d totally buy an album from 19 Rakhiz) are the truly special parts. His experience of life in the United States and how his Indian heritage shapes his life is so interesting and genuine. You can tell his culture is something he is proud of and would love for us to all know more about it.
There are so many hilarious moments in this collection of essays. I have a bunch of sticky notes in my ARC and I can only imagine there will be more when I get to do another read-through. I loved everything about Yes, My Accent is Real. To put it in perspective, I need (not want…NEED) to buy a hardcover and audiobook copy of this book once it comes out. It’s one of those things that you’ll always find new joy in, new entertainment and funny moments.
Pick this book up. Read it. Read it again. Also, don’t work your abs in the gym while reading it. You’ll laugh enough to cover that muscle group.