“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.”*
Before I go on to my review, let me insert a little disclaimer: I don’t know much about Tina Fey. I am serious. Her name is familiar, I know her face, she looks like she has a funny bone, but I haven’t really watched anything of hers. I haven’t seen an episode of 30 Rock or Saturday Night Live, or watched her movie Date Night, so I was initially just content to let it sit quietly in my iTunes as an audio book, forgotten. The only thing I know about her is in a .gif file uploaded by someone in Tumblr where she was waving a plastic bag, saying she will put other plastic bags in it so that it is committing cannibalism, or something. I forget these important quotes. Even in that 10 second gif loop, I found her funny, so when I saw that audiobook, I decided to just listen. Heck, why stop yourself from reading a book anyway?
Not once during those 5 and a half hours did I regret this decision. Turns out you don’t need to have background information on Tina Fey after all – this book talks about the most important moments of her life. Bossypants also includes a tour through her mind, with various essays on her opinions of Photoshop, Sarah Palin, office hygiene, and several other things. All throughout the book, I could not stop laughing at her witty and sarcastic remarks. If you know Tina Fey (more than the little I know of her, anyway) and love her type of humor, you will definitely enjoy this book.
I expected this to be a sort of autobiographical tell-all, but it is not. Well, she does talk about various points in her life (like her college romances, less than normal honeymoon cruise, working in SNL and 30 Rock), but she also raises points on topics like sexism and ideal beauty that could serve as food for thought if you let it. For example, she highlights people’s perception of beautiful as something based on a “laundry list” of features women must have to be considered one:
Caucasian blue eyes, full Spanish lips, a classic button nose, hairless Asian skin with a California tan, …, the arms of Michelle Obama, and doll tits.
That part was really spot on for me. And just before you think it’s beginning to sound serious, Tina ends the list with the punch line: “The person closest to actually achieving this look is Kim Kardashian, who, as we know, was made by Russian scientists to sabotage our athletes.” So there you go.
In addition to that, she also makes a good job of teaching how to be a good boss. I really listened for that because the book must be called Bossypants for a reason. True enough, there are stories of her working with other people in the business, with her trying her best to excel in her field despite the discriminating idea that “Women aren’t funny!”. I find it admirable how she has handled it well, and seeing where she is now, I think she deserves it.
My absolute favorite part of the book was when she read aloud a prayer she made for her baby daughter. It’s almost as long as this blog post, but the subliminal message is so heartwarming and touching despite the jokes. It almost drove me to tears. Mother’s prayers do that to me sometimes.
It helps that Tina Fey herself narrated the audio book. As I am new to this audio book listening thing, I very much appreciated listening to the book in the author’s voice – feelings are much easily interpreted, and there’s nothing quite like hearing something from the original source herself. If I had read Bossypants instead of listened to it, I doubt I would have enjoyed it as much. There’s something about listening to Tina saying her own jokes and narrating her life that makes listening to audio books a wholly different experience.
I recommend this book for anyone who loves a hilarious book with meat in it. And, of course, people who love Tina Fey. I am now very much intrigued about her shows and want to watch them. I suspect this was part of the plan, but who cares?!
In a nutshell…
Author/Narrator: Tina Fey
Original Language: English
Published: 5 April 2011 by Hachette Audio
Genre: Autobiographical > Memoir, Nonfiction, Humor