Friday, March 2, 2012

Nonfiction: Bossypants by Tina Fey

I enjoyed Tina Fey's Bossypants just as much as I thought I would, but in a way that I was not expecting. Of course the book is funny, and of course reading about Fey's journey from doing improv with Second City in Chicago to being the boss with 30Rock, but what I wasn't expecting (although really I should have) were he well-expressed points about not only women in the workplace, but women in comedy, and women on television. And by the end of the book, she has some very interesting points to make about motherhood as well.

Genre, Theme, History: The book is a memoir, and a damn good one. It is funny, but with a few serious moments, but they are appropriately serious, although there are parts that are inappropriately funny, but I still laughed...because she's just that good.

The humor found in this book is just about what you would expect if you are at all familiar with her writing for movies, television, and sketch comedy. She writes about her whole life - from her days growing up, through her beginning career in comedy, and all the way through Saturday Night Live to 30Rock - with the same consistent wit and insight. But even as the book manages to stay light-hearted, Fey makes some very real points about what it took her to end up where she is what it takes for women to make it in her industry. She talks openly and honestly about her struggles, especially when she was younger and just starting out. I think what I appreciated the most was her honesty about how competitive and cutthroat people need to be, while also pointing out the difference between real competition and what is only perceived competition, especially among women. Fey is also honest about her flaws and awkwardness, as well as her successes.

My Verdict: Five stars all the way. I think anyone who has ever enjoyed any of Fey's work would thoroughly appreciate this book. The only thing I can think of that people may not be okay with is that parts of the book, like some of her comedy, are awkward and cringe-worthy...but you still laugh.

Favorite Moment: At one point Fey decides to answer real questions or criticisms about her that have appeared on sites like with somewhat real, incredibly funny, but also very brutal and sarcastic answers. One is about the scar on her face (am I the only one who barely notices that she has a scar on her face?) and I just really appreciate her answer. Another one of my favorite parts of the book is when she talks about the start of 30Rock and how she basically attributes it being picked up and continuing as long as it has to Alec Baldwin.

Recommended Reading: Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me (And Other Concerns) by Mindy Kaling. Not as strong of a memoir in my opinion (full review here), but similar to Bossypants in that Kaling takes the reader on her journey to becoming one of the head writers for The Office

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