4.5/5 Bear Claws
If Tina Fey is your hero — and if you’re between the ages of 18 and 28, she probably is—you need to read her new book, Bossypants.
You know how on an episode of 30 Rock, Liz Lemon tells Rosemary Howard (Carrie Fisher) that she is her lady hero? That’s how you’ll feel about Tina Fey once you finish this book. She is our generation’s lady hero.
Bossypants is Fey talking about her life and how she grew up to be who she is now. It’s not an autobiography, per se, but more a combination of memories told very clearly in Fey’s voice. There is no ghostwriter here — it’s all Tina Fey. Filled with memories recapped with crude language, Bossypants is a book you need to buy. Today. Now.
This book is hilarious; you’ll be laughing out loud from the introduction to the end. Fey shares pictures from her youth and talks about her really cool dad. Oh, and her disaster of a honeymoon — there is fire involved.
Fey carefully picks what memories she wants to share and makes the choice not tell her face-slashing story with her audience (which is a respectable choice). But she narrates several accounts in her life that are so painfully awkward and hilarious that they make you realize that no matter how amazing someone is, puberty is always difficult. Fey tells stories about disappointing boyfriends, poor fashion choices and extremely awkward stories from both high school and college. It’s not arranged chronologically and jumps between defining moments in Fey’s life.
Fey also says this book is a parenting guide to raising a drug-free, smart and virgin-well-into-her-twenties daughter.
Fey shares stories about her time before Saturday Night Live when she was living in Chicago, working at the YMCA to pay for improv classes at Second City. She doesn’t just go into what she’s well known for — she talks about what it was like trying to find her place in show business.
When she does talk about Saturday Night Live, it is fairly brief. Fey mentions the difficulties of being head writer, but she delves into how it can be difficult to be a woman in comedy and what it means to male producers to have a woman they aren’t attracted to starring in a show. Some great Amy Poehler memories are told as well, including one where Poehler snaps at Jimmy Fallon when he didn’t like something she was doing, saying she didn’t care what he thought and that it didn’t matter whether or not he thought it was cute.
Fey also discusses the famous Sarah Palin skits and how much she did not want to do it originally (Seth Meyers wrote the skit anyway, as he should have). A copy of the final script with notes is in the book. She addresses some of the negative feedback she received while portraying Palin and she talks about actually meeting Palin. It’s not political or mean. She doesn’t say a harsh thing about Palin despite what Palin said about her. (Fey does admit that if she ever were to respond about Palin’s accusation of SNL exploiting her for ratings, she would probably just say, “Nice reality show.”)
Fey shares information about the development of 30 Rock, the constant fear of it being canceled in the middle of the first season. She talks about the writers, telling her favorite jokes they wrote. (Yes, Donald Glover is featured.)
Fey also talks about what it means to be a mother in show business and the negative feedback she receives. It’s an interesting look into a microcosm of the working mother and all the assumptions people make about a working mom. Naturally, she handles it with humor but there is a note of sadness to it. Her stories about her daughter Alice are sweet and hilarious. Alice is one funny kid (who originally said several of the lines on 30 Rock, including “I want to go to there”).
This book, unsurprisingly, is awesome. It isn’t a story about how successful Fey is, but instead it’s a confused letter to the world saying that she doesn’t understand why she is so successful. Self-deprecating, wonderful and relatable, Bossypants is a necessary read for anyone who enjoys the entertainment industry, humor or anything good.