Book review: ‘Bossypants’ by Tina Fey

What’s more awesome than Tina Fey? Having Tina Fey ride around with you while you run errands. Listening to the writer, actress and comedian’s memoir of life in and out of the spotlight was a delightful experience, especially for a reader who channels Fey’s “30 Rock” character Liz Lemon on a daily basis. Unintentionally, of course.

“Before Liz Lemon, before ‘Weekend Update,’ before Sarah Palin, Tina Fey was just a young girl with a dream: a recurring stress dream that she was being chased through a local airport by her middle-school gym teacher. She also had a dream that one day she would be a comedian on TV.

She has seen both these dreams come true.

At last, Tina Fey’s story can be told. From her youthful days as a vicious nerd to her tour of duty on Saturday Night Live; from her passionately halfhearted pursuit of physical beauty to her life as a mother eating things off the floor; from her one-sided college romance to her nearly fatal honeymoon — from the beginning of this paragraph to this final sentence.

Tina Fey reveals all, and proves what we’ve all suspected: you’re no one until someone calls you bossy.” (Goodreads)


It’s hard not to love Tina Fey, and Bossypants was exactly what I expected: an entertaining, mostly light-hearted look at Fey’s childhood, formative years and ascension to the superstar-level popularity she enjoys today. The title should have been a giveaway, I suppose, but I wasn’t expecting quite as much on how what it’s like to be a woman in power. The media peppers her with questions like, “Is it hard to be the boss?” — and Fey, with her trademark wit, speaks honestly. I liked her answers, but it was just . . . different.

Though I was completely immersed in the memoir, parts were more interesting to me than others. Not going to hate on my girl, but I didn’t find her details surrounding her stint on “Saturday Night Live” to be nearly as compelling as her tales of a fateful childhood with a bad-ass father and teacher mother. I might be alone in that, but I was hoping for more anecdotal over-shares from her youth. A “late in life” baby, Fey had a short-lived rebellious streak as a kid — and her teen years played out as an exercise in geekiness. I totally got that — as well as her uncanny ability to fall in love with unavailable (read: gay) young men. All right up my alley.

Part of me wishes we’d just stayed in childhood, though. I laughed the hardest as she described her dad’s charisma and cool factor, and as she detailed her nerdy exploits as a teen. That’s not to say I wasn’t still thick in the narrative as we got into adulthood, but for me? Much of Fey’s appeal is her bumbly championing of the Everywoman. She’s funny without really trying to be funny, and that’s my kind of humor. (And maybe yours, too.) Those stories shine best as she describes her awkward years, though I rooted for her as she entered the “SNL” fray and delivered her iconic Sarah Palin impression.

Bossypants will be especially intriguing to those who enjoy behind-the-scenes peeks at life in show business — and Fey delivers. Here’s the thing: if you like Fey, you’ve probably already read this book or have serious plans to obtain it. I listened to it on audio, a genius move on my part — because really. Tina Fey. Telling you hilarious stories while you drive to Target. Doesn’t get much better than that. And if you don’t like/care about Tina Fey, I’m probably not going to convince you Bossypants is up your alley . . . because it may not be. If you think Fey is hilarious, read it (it’s quick). If not, you may want to pass.


4 out of 5!

ISBN: 0316056871 ♥ GoodreadsLibraryThingAmazon
Audio copy borrowed from my local library


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