I recently picked up Tina Fey’s autobiography Bossypants excited to finally read the story of one of my favorite females in her own words. I can happily say it was not a disappointment! Fey was able to accomplish a light funny dialogue with her readers without sounding overly campy, annoying or preachy. Plus, the jokes. All of them.
Published in 2011 I am almost upset with myself that it took me 4 years to read this book. Tina Fey is in my opinion is one of the smartest and funniest women in the business. Fey has a way of being both unbelievably adorable while telling you that she thinks you are an ignorant ass hat, something that I desperately wish I had the ability to pull off. Fey is sarcastic, straight forward and hilarious in her telling of her life and I would recommend this book to anyone with eyes.
Fey starts off like many people who discuss their life, at the beginning. She talks about her childhood and her parents, who seem like a hoot. I was instantly impressed when she talks about what I’m sure was a traumatic experience of being slashed by some random guy when she was very young which resulted in a scar on her face. Fey talks about how she can tell a lot about a person by how and when they ask her about her scar. This was only in the introduction, and I was almost taken aback by it, the fact that she would offer up something most people would find hard to discuss even with a close friend in the very first pages of her autobiography. I think it just showed her willingness to open up to her readers which I’ve always found essential to writing a great autobiography. If you aren’t willing to offer up some part of yourself, why write it at all? Fey seemed to have that attitude and I thank her for it.
I loved reading about Fey’s early career as an improv performer and writer in Chicago. The pages during these chapters had almost a nostalgic sepia glow as you read about her touring around the country with a small improv group with Amy Poehler in a small van for almost no money. I always find these years in a person’s life the most interesting to read about. I think this is because that’s the phase I am currently navigating through myself and I find it satisfying when I discover insanely successful people also had no idea what they were doing, and probably still don’t. Fey pokes fun at her fashion decisions and even dedicates a chapter to her “beauty regimen” where she gives a funny anecdote about giving Monica Lewinski skin care tips. I felt like I knew her, like she was one of my friends sitting across the couch from me. While reading about her early adulthood I felt like I was getting to know someone at a coffee shop.
Fey of course discusses her success at Saturday Night Live and her show 30 Rock. This section of the book was really different than any other I’ve read in an entertainer’s autobiography. There was of course the typical this is what I learned and I felt so honored to be a part of that but she also wrote this section as if she were stepping back and looking at her life and going “how the hell did that happen?” She still seems just as in awe of her success as she was her first day at SNL. There was a humbleness to all the self-deprecating jokes. She understands she is lucky and that there are plenty of other talented women out there working just as hard as she is to get half the success she has had. She appreciates that fact and I think that’s what I love about her the most. Tina is still real to me, she looks real, talks real and acts real. Fey has thoughts and opinions and isn’t afraid to stick them out there for people to criticize. I find that brave.
This book is the perfect pick me up if you are having a bad week. I finished this book in about two days; I couldn’t put it down. The mixture of laughs and real life advice leaves the reader feeling satisfied and like they just made a new friend. This would make a great book to any woman, young or old, who feels like she is a woman in a man’s world. That would be all of us. Fey doesn’t scream out feminist slogans, but the message of girl power is evident throughout the whole book. I think Fey wants us to understand that women are perfectly imperfect creatures who don’t sit around in heels 24/7 and it’s time the world understands we like to get our hands dirty too. Thank you, Tina Fey, for a great escape.
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