Thursday, December 1, 2011

Bossypants - Book Review

Bossypants by Tina Fey

Little Brown and Company, 2011
Why? A co-worker talked me into it...I also had read about it and heard it was funny, and I'm always game for lighthearted funny :)
What Now? will donate this one to the library or give it away

Golden Lines

I've never understood why every character being "hot" was necessary for enjoying a TV show.  It's the same reason I don't get Hooters.  Why do we need to enjoy chicken wings and boobies at the same time?  Yes, they are a natural and beautiful part  of the human experience.  And so are boobies.  By why at the same time?

On September 3, 2008, then governor Palin accepted the vice presidential nomination.   Around this same time, Oprah formally agreed to be on 30 Rock, and it was determined that my daughter's third-birthday party would have a Peter Pan theme.  Each of these events was equally important in my life.

Of course the final ingredient for a perfect Christmas vacation is a good Buffer.  A Buffer is a neutral party who keeps the conversation light.  Everyone needs a Buffer.  You don't think Mary and Joseph were psyched to see the Little Drummer Boy?

Of course I'm not supposed to admit that there is triannual torrential sobbing in my office, because it's bad for the feminine cause.  It makes it harder for women to be taken seriously in the workplace.  It makes it harder for other working moms to justify their choice.  But I have friends who stay home with their kids and they also have a triannual sob, so I think we should call it even.  I think we should be kind to one another about it.  I think we should agree to blame the children.

The Mother's Prayer for Its Daughter...
...And when she one day turns on me and calls me a Bitch in front of Hollister, 
Give me the strength, Lord, to yank her directly into a cab in front of her friends,
For I will not have that Shit.  I will not have it.


What the heck is this book about?
Bossypants is about Tina Fey, the real person (woman), and her navigation of a sometimes not so real career in show business.  Fey begins with her childhood, adolescence, and her family but quickly shifts to her early days in community theatre, "Saturday Night Live," producing, directing, writing and improv, "30 Rock" and then her return to SNL due to her remarkable resemblance to VP candidate Sarah Palin.  
What Fey talks mostly about though is how she chooses to live her life as a working mother in the land of glamorous people and still somehow remain sane and most importantly true to herself.
The best way she does just that is to call the shots how they are...there's no hem-hawing around with Fey.

What I Liked 

The Humor.
Even though this book won't go down on my list of lifetime favorites (heck, I'm not even going to keep the book), there were times when I laughed out loud.  Fey is funny; there is no doubt about that.  She's hardheaded, she's bossy, she has an opinion and she's not afraid to use it, and she's just as conflicted as every other mother/working mother in the world, 

The feminist tone - I actually think this is why my co-worker suggested the book for me.  Fey definitely fights the good fight in a male dominated workplace...sure, a lot of actors are women, but successful producers and writers, not so much.  And, even when women do find a seat at the roundtable, they are still pressured to look good and give up their careers to have babies...because hey, isn't that what a woman's life is really all about?

Discussion of family - Fey's parents, her husband and of course her daughter are obviously important to her.  In today's Hollywood, we don't always get to see that and even when we think we're finally getting to see a real person in Hollywood, they implode and we smack ourselves on the head, "Doh! Duped again!!"
Heck, I'm so naive I thought Demi and Ashton would stay together forever :p
Fey seems solid...and that's refreshing.

What I Didn't Like

Ok, I'm not a prude...but there was a little bit of language that made me cringe...comments like somebody "sucking a bag of *&%$#"
There were definitely times when colorful language was called when producers complained about a certain show because "there was nobody on that show they wanted to f&%$."
Fey promises us that producers really do say those kinds of things so we'll see exactly the kind of people she sometimes has to deal with and the same ole perception of women as sex objects more than anything else.
But, even I was caught off guard more than a few times.

I felt left out of much of the conversation about SNL and "30 Rock," and this was the deal breaker for me.  It's probably THE reason I won't keep the book.   I was a SNL fan up until about 1987. My friends and I used to come in from Saturday night outings in time to watch SNL at someone's house...that's how much we liked it...but I had long since quit watching the show by the time Tina Fey and Amy Poehler became regulars, and Tina Fey only showed up on my radar during the Sarah Palin years.  Heck, by the time she and Amy Poehler were in "Baby Mama," I had no idea who either of them were.  I never watched "30 Rock," and don't know one thing at all about it...except from the discussions in this book.  At times I felt like I was in an Anatomy &; Physiology class before I had finished Bio I.  I needed a foundation to enjoy these parts of the book...a foundation I'm unsure I could ever really gain after the fact.

My Overall Response

I "liked" this book, and I'm glad I read it.  I did have to push myself in the end because I just wanted it done, but mostly because the feeling left out of the SNL/30 Rock conversation began to get a little old.    If Fey writes anything else in the future...especially about life in general, I'll read it in a heartbeat...besides her obvious Hollywood connections, I think she really has  a lot to say about life, parenting, the people we interact with everyday, leadership, women's issues, etc. 


If you are a fan of "Saturday Night Live," especially the Tina Fey era or a fan of "30 Rock," I can't even imagine how you would NOT like this book.  However, I actually am not sure I would recommend Bossypants  if you've not watched these shows in the past though and/or are not a Tina Fey fan already.  There's just too much detailed information her about the cast, jokes, skits, actors, and even actual scripts.


  1. I liked the audio, but after a while I felt it all got to be a bit much.

  2. I have it on audio but I am not anxious to get to it. Actually, I added it because another blogger said the audio was pretty good. I like her enough, but I wouldn't call myself a fan. Oh, and I really hate that cover!! It bothers me so much!

  3. I am a 30 Rock fan so I really enjoyed this. I also listened to this on audio, which is the way to go with it I think. I'm sure it comes across better as Tina says it than reading it in print.