Everyone’s a little awkward, but Tina Fey is the best kind of awkward: the kind that can laugh at herself and let us laugh with her too. I’ve always looked up to Tina Fey as an idol of dorky glory, and this book only solidifies her as the queen of nerds.
In Bossypants, Fey tells stories about growing up, working her way through improv school, breaking into the comedy world, and becoming the creator of her very own network television show. She takes us through her life—beginning with her adolescent awkwardness, her college dating experiences, her happy (and unhappy) experiences in show business, and ending with her thoughts on turning forty—always exhibiting the sharp wit and biting humor we known her for. Even when tackling the tough issues, like thriving in the comedy world despite its blatant sexism and its “boys club” aura, Fey cracks ironic and sarcastic jokes that make reading about her experiences pleasurable while still highlighting important aspects of being a woman on the comedy scene.
But her book isn’t all about doom and gloom and staying funny while facing adversity. There are genuinely comical moments, like
- When Fey and her husband survive a honeymoon from hell… Well, I guess this story is actually kind of about laughing at adversity. And near-death experiences.
- When she has her first interview with SNL producer Lorne Michaels, and it goes exactly how you think it would.
- When she confronts mean Internet commenters… Okay, this one is almost certainly about laughing in the face of adversity.
- When she gets 30 Rock off the ground and running, and even manages to get Oprah on an episode! Achievement unlocked: Oprah. See? No adversity here.
So… her book is often about cracking jokes at misfortune, but that’s part of the book’s charm; no matter what Fey goes through, she keeps her head held high and finds a way to laugh about it.
What I love most about this book is Fey’s relatability. She’s an actual, real person who works (incredibly, super-duper) hard to ensure a good career and happy life for herself and her family. Throughout the book she deals with the internal tension that comes from being a total dork who strives to fit in with the glamorous crowd, but eventually comes to accept and even embrace her imperfection and flaws. My favorite part of Bossypants is when Fey advises us to treat life like an improve show. Rather than negate everything and everyone all the time, approach situations with a “yes, and…” attitude that leaves us open to all the good (and yes, sometimes bad) life has to give us.
Bossypants is really just a wonderfully hilarious read, in part because Tina Fey is just a wonderfully hilarious person. If you’ve enjoyed her other comedy and television work (improv with Second City, Saturday Night Live, Mean Girls, various Sarah Palin impressions, 30 Rock), and if you’re looking forward to her next project (The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, starting on Netflix in March this year; I know I’m excited!), then you have found your next book.
Erika is a PhD candidate in English and Composition Teaching Intern, and will soon begin dissertating on how community identities are formed through social media. When she isn’t perusing tomes on rhetorical theory, she enjoys reading all kinds of things, fiction and nonfiction alike, but especially poetry, science fiction, fantasy, and biographies.