I’ve been a big fan of Tina Fey, from her Saturday Night Live days. I was excited to see that she wrote a memoir. One of my friends listened to the audiobook version of this book and enjoyed it as well.
Most of book is written tongue in cheek, so if you are looking for a serious memoir this book is not for you. I hadn’t realized that she grew up in the Philadelphia area. I enjoyed the photos of herself and her family. Tina is a great role model for breaking the stereotypes and boundaries within the entertainment industry. This book is a light hearted and funny read.
I’ve never watched 30 Rock, and I’m not sure I’ve ever seen a whole episode of Saturday Night Live, so I didn’t actually know much about Tina Fey before a friend sent me this audio book. Now, however, I’m pretty sure I’m a fan. She read the audio book herself, telling stories about her time on SCTV and SNL, being a poor receptionist, attending drama camps in high school, etc. She gives a feminist take on a lot of different issues, and some of the anecdotes about learning all the things that could possibly get a woman sneered at made me want to stand up and cheer, and then loan the book to every male I know and say “THIS! This is what we have to deal with!” Her matter-of-fact way of saying what happened and why it was the wrong thing to have happened make the stories even more resonant – she’s not melodramatic at all, just very “this is what happened, and this is why it would never have happened to a man.” She’s awesome.
My favorite chapters were the high school and college years, and how she got to be where (and who) she is. She’s a great storyteller. There were several chapters that didn’t quite seem to fit – randomly talking about breastfeeding, answering internet hate mail, the history of her father – but I guess maybe when you’re telling stories about your life, you can talk about whatever you want.
I will be checking out 30 Rock, and definitely passing this book on to other folks (male or female) who need a dose of girl power.
*Book 3 in my Summer Comedians Series*
I’m having a little trouble with this one. But I think I’ve figured out why. I enjoyed Bossypants, it was a fun quick read but I didn’t have many of the laugh-out loud-moments that other readers experienced while reading Tina Fey’s book. Here’s the best reason I can come up with – it just didn’t sound like her to me and that was part of the reason I was not able to fully invest in the experience.
I should admit at this point that while I like Tina Fey a lot, I don’t watch 30 Rock. This may also be part of the problem.
There are some chapters in this book to which I would pledge my undying loyalty. These are the chapters in which her comic timing and dead-pan delivery are at their best and she’s telling us something True. Yes, that capitalization was intentional. Here’s why: In several places in the book Tina tackles some universal truths about growing up and being a Gen X or Gen Y woman. Shows us how it went for her. These are the chapters I love, including All Girls Must Be Everything, Young Men’s Christian Association, Remembrances of Being Very Very Skinny, Remembrances of Being a Little Bit Fat. These chapters are all in or near the beginning of the book, generally when Fey is discussing the pre- or early SNL days.
I had trouble with the second half of the book. I think some of that is the aforementioned lack of 30 Rock watching but also the experience of being married with a kid. I am neither of those last two things, and while I do understand and have experienced the guilt that comes from a job which requires strange hours and can, at times, keep you from family and friends ; Fey’s chapters in regards to that phenomena didn’t strike a chord with me. What did strike a chord with me was when she describes knowing that an ally had arrived at work when Amy Poehler announced to Jimmy Fallon that she didn’t really care if he thought her jokes were appropriate. I have felt similar, although I don’t work with or even near comedians, when female coworkers walk in and assert themselves as a professional and demand to be treated on an equal playing field with men who will instinctively try to place them in safe boxes.
So, what am I saying here? I’m telling you I enjoyed the book, even though there were places where Fey inserted scripts/jokes from SNL and 30 Rock and that felt lazy of the writer. There’s no need to publish a 270 page book if you have to include lesser material or material that is available elsewhere. If, instead, Fey had inserted marked-up scripts that showed the editing and revising process and discussed that process I wouldn’t be complaining at all. Would I recommend this book? Yes, but would probably only to someone who is quite the Fey fan.
Another book that has been reviewed numerous times for cannonball; I’m not sure what else I can add to the discussion. I love Tina Fey and her book was a breezy and funny read.
Bossypants consists of stories from Tina chronicling her life from childhood through 30 Rock and playing Sarah Palin on SNL. While an undoubtedly awkward person, Fey doesn’t ever seem to wallow in misery and stays true to her weird and hilarious personality. The most memorable part for me has to be the moment that she realized that homosexuals are real people and not her props. It makes me wonder how many people have to grasp that little bit of reality.
I was afraid that the book would be a little too personal but thankfully it wasn’t and it gave some interesting insights on what it is like to be a woman in comedy. I have heard that crap about women not being funny all my life but in my head it was just curmudgeonly old men who were angry at their increasing irrelevance. But Fey being told that there could only be so many women in a sketch put a whole new perspective for me on the industry.
Anyways, this book was hilarious and I am glad that I avoided reviews for it beforehand so that I didn’t have unrealistic expectations. While not my favorite autobiography, I will certainly be reading this again and am looking forward to the last season of 30 Rock. Hopefully she will get a new project soon after that wraps.
Writer/director Nora Ephron reflects on her past and aging in this book. It is amusing at times, such as the first chapter entitled “I Feel Bad About My Neck,” noting the havoc that age wreaks upon the body. As she lunches with friends her own age (60-something), she notes that increasingly, they all wear turtlenecks, scarves or mandarin collars to hide the wattle of old age. The second chapter, “I Hate My Purse,” is for women who “understand that their purses are reflections of negligent housekeeping, hopeless disorganization….” The next few chapters move along in a relatively harmless and sometimes funny way, not funny laughing-out-loud like you would at Tina Fey’s book, but enough to put a grin on your face as Ephron writes in her self-deprecating way about food, family, her apartments and her career.
My favorite chapter is called “On Rapture.” In it, Ephron writes about the rapture of discovering a great book, one that you can’t put down and that you read over and over. Some of the books that have given her rapture are Puzo’s “The Godfather,” “The Golden Notebook” by Doris Lessing, “The Woman in White” by Wilkie Collins and “The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay” by Chabon. I always enjoy reading about the books that writers like to read and getting ideas for something to pick up next, and reading is a topic that Ephron warms to. She does point out, though, that because she is getting older, the pleasures of reading are threatened by her increasingly poor vision and the need to wear reading glasses (which she constantly misplaces).
About two thirds of the way through the book, however, Ephron’s reflections become a bit more serious, even a little depressing in my opinion. In “Me and Bill: The End of Love,” Ephron writes about her disappointment with Bill Clinton for not supporting gays in the military early in his administration and then for his responsibility for the war. Because Bill screwed around with Monica, Al lost the election and thousands have died in a war that Bill has not denounced even as he leads conferences devoted to ending global poverty and preventing needless deaths. “Considering the Alternative,” the final essay, is about death — the death of Ephron’s best friend, her grief at the loss and the inevitability of one’s own death. For Ephron, “… it’s sad to be over sixty. The long shadows are everywhere — friends dying and battling illness.” When a magazine editor, a 60-something woman, approaches her to write about aging and complains that women their age use expressions like “in our day” as if all is past for them, Ephron says, “But it is not our day. It’s their day. We’re just hanging on.” This comment surprised me, given Ephron’s successes, but then I reread what I wrote in my first paragraph of this review, comparing her to Tina Fey, and I sort of get it. In 15-20 years, our comedic “It Girl” Fey will probably feel as Ephron does now, and some new writer will get her turn.
Overall an okay book.
Not that I liked him all that much to begin with, but Jerry Lewis’ famous comment (paraphrased), “Women aren’t funny.”, has forever linked him in my mind with the word, “fuckwit”. Not only CAN women be funny, in my mind they are usually funnier than men. I can name a dozen hilarious women off the top of my head, I’m having a hard time getting above 6 right now of funny men and all of those men are on NBC sitcoms. My number one criteria for dating has always been personality and with personality I mean sense of humor. This is a round about way of saying that I found Tina Fey’s Bossypants to be very, very funny and well worth taking the 3 hours it requires to read it.
Starting with her childhood and moving all the way up to 30 Rock, Fey writes about her life to this point by focusing on the high points and formative events. Her days spent in a summer theater group, her tenure at Second City and, of course, her experiences writing for Saturday Night Live and creating 30 Rock. Interspersed throughout the book are managerial lessons she has learned that are pretty good. I was surprised, not that she had advice, but that at times the book was more than funny and actually not a bad “how to succeed in business” book.
Saturday Night Live is one of my obsessions. I have read numerous books on the subject, including the amazing Live from New York by Tom Shales and Andrew Miller (seriously, it is fantastic) so it should be no surprise that the section Fey devotes to SNL, and especially the insanity of the Palin days, was my favorite. Many people in my family are Republican and I have had more than one occasion where I brought up 30 Rock only to be told “We don’t watch Tina Fey.” This anti-Fey attitude is solely because of her impression of Sarah Palin on numerous SNL skits. Then my family members would talk about how much their love Two and A Half Men (no joke) which filled me with GLEE (not the show) when Sheen had his drug fueled melt down. Where’s your wholesome Republican entertainer now, huh?! But I digress.
I bring that up because as Fey goes in to detail of the Palin hysteria and the fever pitch it reached culminating in an appearance of Palin on SNL. How that appearance came about, and the consternation that Fey and SNL producer Lorne Michaels felt trying to figure out how to make it work, is a great bit of “inside baseball” that really shines a light on that watershed moment in pop culture.
Many people have reviewed this book so I’m going to keep this short. I read the book because I like Fey anyway. The book is very funny, and the writing sounds exactly like Liz Lemon is telling the story. In essence, it is exactly what you think a funny memoir by Tina Fey would read like. Funny, self deprecating, honest, and open.
Take that, Jerry.
I got on the waiting list at my library for this book in November. I was number 136 on the list. I thought it would never come. But it finally did, and I was pretty excited. I loved it a lot, but not as much as I wanted to? I think I feel the way about this book that some people may have felt about Mindy Kaling’s book. I may just be a little outside the target demographic, and a little closer to Mindy Kaling’s. I liked it a lot, and I love Tina Fey, her sense of humor, and 30 Rock, but parts of the book didn’t resonate as much with me- I just haven’t gotten to those parts of my life (being the boss, having kids, a husband, and so on). Nonetheless, I really really enjoyed reading Bossypants, I laughed out loud while reading it, and if Tina Fey ever writes another book, I will absolutely read it.
Check out the rest of my review here.
The problem with waiting weeks and weeks to write a review after you’ve finished the book is that you’ve forgotten a lot of your impressions. I got this book for Christmas and finished it soon there after, and well, now, I don’t remember a lot of what I thought about it, so, I’m guessing that this review is going to be on the short side.
I first started hearing about Bossypants last May when Cannonballers from CBR-III started reviewing it. I was very excited to read it, but resisted the urge to run right out and buy it (there was no chance it’d be available at the library–I’m sure the waiting list was dozens of people long) for a very practical reason. I had surgery at the beginning of May, the kind where it takes four weeks to recover and things like laughing and coughing are painful. Given what I was hearing about the book, that it was literally laugh-out-loud funny, I had to resign myself to the fact that it would be unwise to try and read it in my current condition. So I held off.
I don’t know if my expectations for the book were too high, or what, but although I enjoyed it–I tore through it pretty quickly–I didn’t love it. I think I expected to be laughing pretty continuously and while there were plenty of laugh-out-loud moments (you probably don’t want to be reading this in public, if you’re the sort of person who would be embarrassed if people stared at you for guffawing out of the blue), it wasn’t exactly the laugh riot I was hoping for.
Tina Fey, as you would expect, is a very entertaining writer. I think in the snippets she shares of her life, you get an strong sense of who she was and is as a person. Since she and I were born in the same year, the references in her book rang especially true for me. Yes, in the mid-80s, making nachos at home really was a big deal. Hell, nachos anywhere were a big deal.
I loved her stories about her dad, her first trip to Planned Parenthood, her disastrous honeymoon cruise (and yes, I got the title reference, which means I’m a member of the cultural elite–yippee!), joining Second City, joining SNL, etc. Honestly, I don’t think there’s a story in the book that I didn’t like. It was great to get insight into the beginnings of 30 Rock. And fascinating to learn about how photo shoots work. So clearly, my expectations going into this book were too high.
I definitely recommend the book, but don’t expect it to last long. And you can read it in public, if you don’t mind people staring at you during the times you will be laughing loudly.
I had really been looking forward to reading Bossypants. I have loved Tina Fey for many years, and she has been on my husband’s laminated list for years, so I though it was about time to size up the competition. That being said, my husband was a bit creeped out by the cover – apparently lovely Tina Fey with giant hairy man arms might have crimped the fantasy sexytimes, so she may now be off the list.