BOOK REVIEW: Yes, My Accent is Real by Kunal Nayyar
Simon & Schuster
Reviewed by Steph O’Connell
This is not a memoir. I’m not a president, or an astronaut, or a Kardashian. This is a collection of stories from my life.
You guys, it’s Raj from The Big Bang Theory!
This book gives wonderful insight into Raj, that is to say the man behind Raj… That is to say Kunal Nayyar… Did you know that Raj was originally written as David Koothrappali?
Aaaaanyway. As Kunal informs us from the outset; this is not a memoir. He’s not old enough for it to be a true memoir, but he has led a very interesting life, and we are offered entertaining snippets of misadventures, discoveries, and friendships he has made along the way.
We’re privy to tales of boyhood:
And what happens when girls aren’t around? Boys begin to act like maniacal hooligans. We were so full of pent-up sexual aggression that we took it out on each other by playing a game called “India and Pakistan,” which, I suppose, is sort of like “Cowboys and Indians,” except instead of make-believe whooping and yelling, we threw actual stones at each other. My face was hit by many rocks.
Awkward situations involving the opposite sex:
After a silence as long as my penis, and almost as hard, I decided to leave.
Trying to fit in:
The truth is I wasn’t great at understanding sarcasm, which seemed to be the root of all their jokes, so I just ended up laughing constantly at things I had no idea about. And because I was not standing directly in front of them or in the circle of people surrounding them, I now realize I just looked like the guy who enjoyed laughing at walls.
His relationship with his dad, who sounds like a really wonderful guy:
Looking back at it now, I wonder if perhaps when my dad was a boy, he saw his dad standing up to some injustice and wondered about his own ability to do the same. Over time he grew into a man and stepped into that role, teaching his children right from wrong.
As well as some fantastic insight when it comes to the big decisions:
After she left, I went to eat a bacon cheeseburger. It was a really good burger and it made me think about my own religious beliefs. About religion versus desire. Was it right to eat beef when doing so was so completely against everything I was taught as a child? Did that make me a sinner? And if so, should I too be as morally conflicted as Allison? And then it hit me. I just really liked beef. Allison just really liked women. And if God really gave a damn he would have struck us both down with lightning for our sins. You see, in my opinion, God didn’t care if I ate beef, or if Allison ate… was a lesbian. He only cared that I tipped the waiter who brought me my burger and that Allison lived a life that made her happy and let her find love.
And taking risks in love:
It would have been easy to play it safe and say that she was Out of My League, that we lived in different worlds and had too much ocean between us.
But you can’t find love if you’re not willing to lose it. You can’t find happiness if you’re not willing to risk being sad. And you can’t find the love of your life without risking breaking your heart.
Anyone who has ever had an awkward childhood or teenage moment will be able to relate to the situations Kunal went through, and this is one of those rare not-a-memoirs which is honest, and shows the author’s own flaws. Rather than asking “why me”, Kunal owns his mistakes and learns from them, which is rather refreshing.
Told with a strong, self-deprecating sense of humour, this collection will let you in on the events that brought about the guy who would become Raj.
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About the Author: