Friday, August 9, 2013


Bossypants by Tina Fey
Hachette Book Group, 2011
Kindle eBook, 283 pages


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

My Thoughts:

Bossypants by Tina Fey is part memoir, advice column, personal reflection,  and cultural essays,  but every part of this nonfiction narrative is humorous. Fey's writing style is comfortable and pleasant but at the same time she is side-splittingly funny. Fey does briefly cover growing up in Upper Darby, PA and she shares some unexpected but hilarious advice about how to keep your teenage daughter a virgin.

There is actually some good advice on being a boss:

"In most cases being a good boss means hiring talented people and then getting out of their way." (Page 5) 
"This is what I tell young women who ask me for career advice. People are going to try to trick you. To make you feel that you are in competition with one another. “You’re up for a promotion. If they go with a woman, it’ll be between you and Barbara.” Don’t be fooled. You’re not in competition with other women. You’re in competition with everyone. Also, I encourage them to always wear a bra. Even if you don’t think you need it, just… you know what? You’re never going to regret it." (Page 88)
"But there is not one management course in the world where they recommend Self-Righteousness as a tool." (Page 128)
There is a touching chapter about her father.
"How can I give her what Don Fey gave me? The gift of anxiety. The fear of getting in trouble. The knowledge that while you are loved, you are not above the law. The Worldwide Parental Anxiety System is failing if this many of us have made sex tapes. "(Page 54)
There are stories about her time with Second City, Saturday Night Live, and 30 Rock, as well as a chapter on a glamor photo shoot, and some stories about being a woman.
"However, of all the places I’ve worked that were supposedly boys’ clubs, The Second City was the only one where I experienced institutionalized gender nonsense. For example, a director of one of the main companies once justified cutting a scene by saying, 'The audience doesn’t want to see a scene between two women.' Whaaa? More on that later." (Page 87)
"In 1997 I flew to New York from Chicago to interview for a writing position at Saturday Night Live. It seemed promising because I’d heard the show was looking to diversify. Only in comedy, by the way, does an obedient white girl from the suburbs count as diversity." Page 119
I connected with so many of her stories, but some of the stories that deal with things only a woman would understand were priceless like the strident pro-breast-feeding moms  (Fey's name for them in her book is better - I would argue that it's not only breast feeding, but these dilettantes have moved into areas of food police, sports experts, and activity booking agents for their children) and the male producers not understanding why the Classics Kotex pads commercial for SNL was funny.

Here are two more quotes for women:

"I had noticed something was weird earlier in the day, but I knew from commercials that one’s menstrual period was a blue liquid that you poured like laundry detergent onto maxi pads to test their absorbency. This wasn’t blue, so… I ignored it for a few hours." (Page 14)
"My mother knew the importance of getting the right fit for a bra, so she took me to JCPenney and tried one on over my clothes. She tried a bra on me over my clothes in the middle of JCPenney. I thank her for this. This early breast-related humiliation prevented me from ever needing to participate in “Girls Gone Wild” in my twenties." (Page 104)
Admittedly, Fey didn't delve in deep to her personal life of her deepest thoughts, but that's okay. She shared the information and stories she was comfortable sharing. While I did see Fey on SNL, I'll have to admit I don't watch 30 Rock. (Hey, I don't watch much TV - not enough time in the day to do it all.)  This didn't stop me from appreciating this very entertaining book and I'll look forward to another book from Tina Fey someday.

very highly recommended

"There is no one of-woman-born who does not like Red Lobster cheddar biscuits. Anyone who claims otherwise is a liar and a Socialist." (Page 252)
True, so true...



raidergirl3 said...

Yep, I loved it too. WHile you wait for another Tina Fey book, try the Mindy Kaling Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me?. Similar, not quite as good, but still enjoyable.

Lori L said...

Thanks raidergirl! I'll look into it!