As I was perusing the shelves in Barnes & Noble as one does (I’m really praying they don’t go out of business, but that’s another matter), I came across Tina Fey’s Bossypants (image from a Google image search below if you wonder what my copy looks like) sitting pretty in some of the featured deals despite not finding exactly what I initially came in for. Know I knew it was on my reading list but I hadn’t fully committed to buying it and make it a priority to start reading it. I mean autobiographical accounts can easily be boring and sometimes want to be deeper than they need to be. It sometimes feels like they are trying to outdo past accounts in either how horrifying their childhood was or how they have some deep post-childhood revelation and how the events from the past have significantly altered how they currently view themselves and their success. With the revelations comes the need to say something significant and supremely deep in thought with every sentence. And quite frankly, I’m not a huge fan of these types of books. It is partly because the whole tale seems dishonest and that’s never flattering.
This is why I was pleasantly surprised with Bossypants. Tina Fey, obviously known for being part of the brains and the beauty behind series such as 30 Rock as well as her portrayal as Sarah Palin, had the perfect mix between introverted thinking as well as playfulness. In addition I enjoyed that the book had the mix of childhood memories, career moves, and parenting. Despite not being a parent yet myself, it reminded me of my own parents and their take on raising me. I mean my dad is no Don Fey, especially since he doesn’t dress like a complete boss, but he definitely has that attitude where you don’t want to mess with him.
Bossypants is completely honest with comedy quips in between and that what ultimately kept me around and made me happy to read and really relax and enjoy the reading experience. I mean Fey makes it okay to be a flat-footed nerd and shows us that it all works out okay. I’m not saying Fey didn’t have to work hard to be as successful as she is, it’s abundantly obvious that it takes hard work (getting up early to go the YMCA in Chicago to crappy long hours working, for example), but the difference is that she loves doing what she’s doing. See there is that perfect balance again. Fey is someone I can almost completely identify with aside from the age difference. It’s the feeling of a kindred spirit and the honesty that you feel when reading that makes her whole account warm and moreover, believable.
I also love the fact that with the one-liners and comedic jabs that are interjected fairly often, that left me smiling constantly, there are those deep moments. The reason why they work is that, as readers, we are not constantly bombarded with sentence upon sentence intended to have a huge effect on the way we think. There’s breaks, and when Fey throws ideas out there, we are given time to digest them and bring them into our mind. Of course it may not have a direct correlation to immediate changes in behavior, but it helps to kind of do a self-inventory of our current beliefs. There are definitely thoughts on gender equality which we see as a whole not just in how Fey experienced childhood but also full circle as she raises her own daughter. In addition, there is mention of how Fey has experienced and influenced gender in the workplace. In a particularly male-dominated field full of writers and directors, Fey and her peers especially from shows such as SNL (she mentions her loves Amy Poehler, Kristin Wiig, and Maya Rudolph as just a few examples) were part of a large movement where females had a large public following but also influence on the show’s direction. There is a spread of material throughout the book where Fey tells stories of how she and her peers were judged simply for being female. Apparently they wouldn’t be as funny compared to their male counterparts. As a female myself and entering the male-dominated business world, this is something that I particularly connected with. I feel like it is nice to know that the world is changing, despite the current adversity that many women face in the workplace.
Overall, I would give it 4.5 out of 5. Even if you are a male reading this book you’ll stay for the laughs and insights into some of the shows you love and maybe get more including how you might be treated differently that your female counterparts. Also, Tina Fey is like my new hero.
As always best wishes,