No Land’s Man by Aasif Mandvi
Publisher: Audible (Print edition by Chronicle Books)
Publication Date: 2014
Length: 4 hours, 23 minutes
Read by: Aasif Mandvi
Source: Copy provided by the publisher
The Short Version:
Aasif Mandvi, an actor and comedian known for his work on The Daily Show, narrates his collection of humorous essays about his life.
Why I Read It:
While I rarely watch The Daily Show (because I’m sleeping) when I was offered this book for review I thought it sounded like it would be good.
From the publisher:
If you’re an Indo-Muslim-British-American actor who has spent more time in bars than mosques over the past few decades, turns out it’s a little tough to explain who you are or where you are from. In No Land’s Man Aasif Mandvi explores this and other conundrums through stories about his family, ambition, desire, and culture that range from dealing with his brunch-obsessed father, to being a high-school-age Michael Jackson impersonator, to joining a Bible study group in order to seduce a nice Christian girl, to improbably becoming America’s favorite Muslim/Indian/Arab/Brown/Doctor correspondent on The Daily Show with Jon Stewart.
This is a book filled with passion, discovery, and humor. Mandvi hilariously and poignantly describes a journey that will resonate with anyone who has had to navigate his or her way in the murky space between lands. Or anyone who really loves brunch.
This was a thoroughly entertaining and fun audiobook with moments that really made me think in between the moments that had me laughing out loud.
Mandvi’s family left India when he was an infant. He grew up in Northern England and they moved to Florida when he was sixteen. He tells of being an immigrant in two countries and how he developed his passion for acting.
As I said there were moments that were very thought provoking such as
He was just a kid and he didn’t think much about it. It was baffling to me that he had not learned something that I had learned very early on: The world is a much easier, friendlier place when white people like you.
There are also many many moments that made me laugh.
In high school in Florida Mandvi was trying to discover where he fit and felt comfortable.
I found myself without an ally or a group that I could call my own in this new American petri dish. It was only a matter of time, therefore, before I got involved with the wrong crowd: The Actors.
When he was rehearsing his Michael Jackson lip syncing and dancing act for a school production his family didn’t quite understand.
Despite my poor display, my family was supportive. Even though my grandmother didn’t understand what it all meant, she would walk into my bedroom every day and sing “Billy Jesus, not my lawyer.
It’s a short book and the author does a pretty good job of narrating his own story. There were a few times where it felt like he was projecting as if he was on a theater stage rather than right next to a microphone but it was only in a few spots where the story he was telling was a bit frantic and tense.
All in all I really enjoyed this and if you’re looking for something fun to listen to I’d recommend this audiobook
Rating 4/5 for the book
Rating 3.5/5 for the narration