Book Review: Tina Fey’s “Bossypants”

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Popular comedic actress and writer Tina Fey seems to be capable of anything, as she can now add “author” to her long list of accomplishments. Bossy Pants, which came out mid 2011, chronicles the writer’s journey from awkward childhood into even more awkward adulthood, documenting the struggles that accompany anyone breaking into show business along the way.

Fey is sarcastic and self-deprecating as she tells her life story, but in such a way that shows she truly is a confident woman unafraid to poke fun at herself. Willing to discuss everything from acne to bowel movements, Fey manages to tell the reader about her life’s trials and tribulations while seeming normal. Models and actresses who claim to lead normal lifestyles (despite extravagant vacation time and ultra-healthy-vegan-gluten-free-no-fat-no-sugar-no-alcohol diets) are laughable in comparison to Fey’s down to earth antidotes about diaper changing and her fear of the nanny.

Fey has no problem discussing her love for fast food or acknowledging that , unlike stars who jet off to tropical islands or ski resorts for the holidays, her Christmas is spent driving long distances through the snow to visit her in-laws.

The book does not move in a precise chronological order, but the organization keeps it from seeming too much like a long-winded narrative. Fey takes breaks amidst the longer chapters by allowing herself tangents and variety in topic. Right after she discusses her honeymoon, the reader might find a short chapter in list form about an entirely different subject, such as all of the things she remembers about at one time being too skinny (eating disgusting health foods) and at another time a little too heavy (burning her ample stomach while ironing).

Fey keeps it lighthearted, even when addressing darker topics like the scar on her face. We learn about her Republican parents (who were not exactly pleased with her portrayal of 2008 vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin on SNL), her job at a Chicago YMCA as she struggled to break into the improv world, her thoughts on airbrushing magazine photos, and countless other tidbits about the comedian. Fey even dedicates a chapter to responding to some of her hate mail, which she does in a clever, wry manner.

Whether or not a fan of Fey’s past work, the book is a fantastic weekend read that entertains while also letting the reader into her world. In one chapter, she realizes that although she keeps looking forward to a time in which she will be able to be a stay-at-home mom for her daughter, her schedule will never allow for it. There is no work-free future for her, and this realization leads to a crying fit in her office. Though there are moments like this scattered around the book to let the reader know that she’s human, Fey never lets them dominate and swings back with humor so as not to let the reader forget that she is still one of the funniest women in television.

Whether drowning in textbooks or simply too busy to read much, Bossypants is a quick read anyone can find time to fit in. Laughter is good for everyone, so don’t hesitate to pick up a copy as soon as possible!

Photo by ametern via Flickr.