Bossypants by Tina Fey

Bossypants

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 you...

Title:Bossypants
Author:
Rating:
Edition Language:English
Format Type:Kindle Edition
Number of Pages:283 pages

Bossypants Reviews

  • Gail
    Feb 01, 2011

    I honestly cannot remember the last time I laughed this hard reading anything (only a Jonathan Tropper novel or a Dave Sedaris collection comes close). I finished the other night with wet cheeks from the tears that'd escaped my eyes. The bed had been shaking I was laughing so hard!

    So what's to love about "Bossypants," besides everything? For starters, how Tina just tells it (and by "it," I mean everything from working at SNL to impersonating Sarah Palin) like it is. She's got a fierce feminist

    I honestly cannot remember the last time I laughed this hard reading anything (only a Jonathan Tropper novel or a Dave Sedaris collection comes close). I finished the other night with wet cheeks from the tears that'd escaped my eyes. The bed had been shaking I was laughing so hard!

    So what's to love about "Bossypants," besides everything? For starters, how Tina just tells it (and by "it," I mean everything from working at SNL to impersonating Sarah Palin) like it is. She's got a fierce feminist streak in her, but it's a feminism that exhibits itself in her trademark no-bullshit kind of way. It's more or less the message of, "I will be who I want to be and I do not care if you like it". Oh, and she's quick to call other women out for being catty — while, at the same time, being the first to admit she's played that card plenty of times in her own past.

    And that, perhaps, is what makes Tina Fey so gosh darn likable. She IS us, right down to admitting her faults. You have to laugh reading chapters like "Amazing, Gorgeous, Not Like That" (in which Tina breaks down what a photo shoot is REALLY like) because you think, "YES! That is exactly what I thought it'd be like!" What I loved most about this book is Tina's voice can be heard through the whole thing. That's not an easy thing for an author to do, but you feel as though Tina is reading these stories to you (fan girl I am, I still want the audio version so, you know, Tina actually CAN read these stories to me!)

    Personal highlights:

    • The chapter on her dad, "That's Don Fey" ("How can I give [my daughter] 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.")

    • Her chapters on being very very skinny and being a little bit fat— brilliant essays on women and weight shared in a way I think only she could nail.

    • She has a girl crush on Amy Poehler and a work crush on Alec Baldwin (whom she gives way too much credit for the success of 30 Rock, IMO).

    • She refuses to hire/work for jerks and she's not above using this book to get revenge on those who've criticized women's ability to be funny (on the success of the Sarah Palin-Hilary Clinton sketch she did with Amy: "That night's show was watched by 10 million people and I guess that director at The Second City who said the audience "didn't want to see a sketch with two women" can go shit in his hat.")

    • She writes lines that seriously just make you bust a gut: "Do I think Photoshop is being used excessively? Yes. I saw Madonna's Louis Vutton ad and honestly, at first glance, I thought it was Gwen Stefani's baby."

    • The chapter on her attempt to film a scene with Oprah, play Sarah Palin for the first time on SNL and plan her daughter's 3rd Peter Pan-themed birthday party ("By the way, when Oprah Winfrey is suggesting you may have overextended yourself, you need to examine your f*cking life")

    • Her thoughts on parenthood and struggling to breastfeed and why she refuses to take guilt from (her words, not mine) "Teat Nazis"

    • And finally, a chapter that struck a chord with me in those final pages, "The Mother's Prayer For Its Daughter," because, dang it all, Tina does what so few can and it's write something that can be so beautifully poetic and LOL funny at the same time. ("First, Lord: No tattoos. May neither Chinese symbol for truth nor Winnie-the-Pooh holding the FSU logo stain her tender haunches.")

    So yeah, it's brilliant. It's hilarious. JUST GO READ IT ALREADY! haha

  • Sarah
    Apr 13, 2011

    Three and a half stars. I think Tina Fey is awesome. I think this is a slight but solid book. Her authorial voice sounds exactly like her speaking in my head. It's sometimes funny, sometimes self-deprecating, sometimes empowering. It spends more time than one might expect on some things, and no time on others. I think she tried to skirt a line between memoir and humor essayist that is a difficult one to skirt. I think it's an easier thing to do if you're David Sedaris and nobody has specific sto

    Three and a half stars. I think Tina Fey is awesome. I think this is a slight but solid book. Her authorial voice sounds exactly like her speaking in my head. It's sometimes funny, sometimes self-deprecating, sometimes empowering. It spends more time than one might expect on some things, and no time on others. I think she tried to skirt a line between memoir and humor essayist that is a difficult one to skirt. I think it's an easier thing to do if you're David Sedaris and nobody has specific stories that they want to hear from you. Readers trust Sedaris to talk about the aspects of his life that he wants to illuminate. Tina Fey writes as if she is obligated to spend time on certain things: her Palin impression, her scar, etc., and then she has less time to touch on other things. Mean Girls is mentioned only in passing in a chapter that had nothing to do with it. A longer and more in depth would have talked about writing her first big movie script, or acting in a movie, or working with Lindsay Lohan. I'd love to have heard more Saturday Night Live stories. Not a tell all, but just a little more depth instead of the glances we get.

    Fey makes some good points about women in comedy, and about comedy in general, and about women in general, and a whole lot of other stuff. She's smart and funny, and wise enough to disguise some truths behind jokes, the way Jessica Seinfeld hides spinach in brownies. All in all, it's a solid book of anecdotes that could have been a little bit more.

  • RandomAnthony
    May 10, 2011

    Tina Fey's

    was a disappointment. I don't know that expecting much from a comedy writer's cash-in big-font-with-pictures essay/memoir...thing...is fair, but I've been a Tina Fey fan since

    began, ready to trust her literary aspirations, and even to me this book barely scratches onto the two star plateau.

    What did I expect? Well, it's probably easier to explain what I didn't expect. I wasn't counting on a sour, muddled, defensive screed against anyone who pissed off the author in

    Tina Fey's

    was a disappointment. I don't know that expecting much from a comedy writer's cash-in big-font-with-pictures essay/memoir...thing...is fair, but I've been a Tina Fey fan since

    began, ready to trust her literary aspirations, and even to me this book barely scratches onto the two star plateau.

    What did I expect? Well, it's probably easier to explain what I didn't expect. I wasn't counting on a sour, muddled, defensive screed against anyone who pissed off the author in the last thirty years. I wasn't hoping for forced, obvious stories about the professional discrimination in Fey's history. I wasn't looking forward to insecure ramblings about the long hours she put into

    and

    . And I definitely wasn't expecting all of the above to be sugarcoated by a combination of weak, insecure meta-analysis and self-conscious “oh, I'm really not that great” coverups.

    You know why

    bugged me? Tina Fey has nothing for which to apologize. She's smart, she's funny, and she's talented. So I assume this book had some sort of cathartic impact and she needed to get this bile out of her system.

    gets credit for three short, quality sections. First, Fey tackles the “what's that scar on your face?” question right up front and follows with some funny, interesting commentary on how she can gauge people by how they respond to the scar. Second, she answers a few critical emails/blog comments as a “question and answer” chapter. Third, she walks the reader through a detailed analysis of the whole “I look like Sarah Palin” era. I read this book quickly, over two nights, and while

    is well-written, for the most part, the subject matter's dour nature left me cold, oh, 75% of the time.

    Listen. I didn't pick this book up whispering, under my breath, “Make me laugh right NOW, Tina Fey! Dance, monkey, dance!” But I feel like Tina Fey wrote this book for 1) young women she's trying to inspire, and 2) all the people who hate her who will never read this book, anyway. Maybe 41 year old white guys weren't her target audience. I can live with that. I'll still watch

    , though, and not just because she's hot. I just hope next time Fey writes a better book.

  • Will Byrnes
    May 16, 2011

    Big Tina Fey fan here. I have always enjoyed her work on SNL and have seen almost every episode of 30 Rock. I have seen some of her movies, not all. She is very definitely funny and smart. Her Sarah Palin kills. So what might one expect from a Tina Fey book? One of two things, either a straight ahead comedic book with plenty of anecdotes, jokes and maybe a bit of behind-the-scenes info, or a personal memoir, with detail about her background. I felt that Fey committed to neither fully and wound u

    Big Tina Fey fan here. I have always enjoyed her work on SNL and have seen almost every episode of 30 Rock. I have seen some of her movies, not all. She is very definitely funny and smart. Her Sarah Palin kills. So what might one expect from a Tina Fey book? One of two things, either a straight ahead comedic book with plenty of anecdotes, jokes and maybe a bit of behind-the-scenes info, or a personal memoir, with detail about her background. I felt that Fey committed to neither fully and wound up producing half of both in a book that was inconsistent and at times very thin.

    After reading this book, do you feel that you

    Fey any better than you did before? Sure there are some details about this and that, and she does address internal conflicts around work-vs-family, but my take is that this was all very surfacy material and did not really get much, if at all, below the skin. As a memoir I found it very unrevealing. There is the matter of the scar. She tells us nothing. And tunes out those who ask. Doesn’t it make you think there is something there? A little kid is harmed so violently and she has nothing to say about it? Really? Had no effect on her growing up? Another sore point was the minimal info offered on her relationship with her father, Don Fey, who was clearly a very powerful figure in her life. Colin Quinn, having just met the guy, was impressed. “Your father doesn’t fucking play games. You would never come home with a shamrock tattoo in that house.” Yet TF offers us very little about him and virtually nothing about how his personality affected her growing up.

    There was definitely some fun behind-the-scenes material here, most especially in her chapter on staff urination practices. I felt that her portrait of life in Second City was thin. Re 30 Rock, nothing on Alec Baldwin, really? We assume that they got to know each other when he hosted SNL, but how did it come to be that she wanted to write a sit-com that he starred in? Nada. Thin. But plenty of respect and admiration for Lorne Michaels and several of her workmates. That offered at least a hint of heft.

    Some chapters function mostly as short comedic bits. In one she responds to hostile e-mails that certainly could have been real, although one wonders. But real or written it

    rather low-hanging fruit.

    She does allow some warts to dot the portrait. Basically stealing a job from a lifer at the Y was a pretty crappy thing to do in her early years. It makes one see TF as someone who gets what she wants no matter who she hurts. And she certainly seems to have had a remarkable run of success. One wonders if there are more wounded and dying left on the field of battle. How much has luck played a part in her achievements? In terms of how she functions in the world as a competitive person I felt that we got only the very tip of the TF iceberg.

    She points out more than a few of the gender-bias barricades she and other female writers and comedians have had to hurdle. That was one of the strengths of the book, as was her conflicted feelings about parenting versus work.

    Many years ago I knew a fellow who worked at one of the main New York comedy clubs. He made it pretty clear that, as a group, comedians were “not nice people.” Tina Fey may or may not be a nice person. I did not get a strong enough sense to overcome my predisposition. She is certainly very smart, talented and funny. I would like to know more about her, but this book is not the goto source for that. My sense is that TF is not gonna let anyone too close, not show too much, other than to her best buds and family, and who knows, maybe not even them.

    In a way, I felt the book resembled SNL. In pretty much every production of the show, there are some good bits and some that fall flat. I expect there are more publications ahead for Fey. Hopefully the next one will offer a better overall product, with heftier content.

    PS - One quote I particularly enjoyed:

    I'm with you on this one, sister.

  • j
    May 20, 2011

    Sure, you could read Bossypants. Provided you like all that self-deprecating "I'm Tina Fey and I am enormously successful and I am thankful for that, but at the same time I still struggle with being a working woman with a real life, because it is so weird that I am a media icon when I still really think of myself as an unpopular high school theater dweeb, and isn't life weird, like when I was seen as a major influence during the last election because I kind of look like Sarah Palin?" stuff.

    Perso

    Sure, you could read Bossypants. Provided you like all that self-deprecating "I'm Tina Fey and I am enormously successful and I am thankful for that, but at the same time I still struggle with being a working woman with a real life, because it is so weird that I am a media icon when I still really think of myself as an unpopular high school theater dweeb, and isn't life weird, like when I was seen as a major influence during the last election because I kind of look like Sarah Palin?" stuff.

    Personally, Tina Fey is a little too successful for me. I don't like it. I want to read about the life of someone else in order to feel better about my own life, not to make me wish I lived in New York and did something cool for a living.

    I'd rather read the autobiography of Liz Lemon. Tina Fey tries to pretend there's still a Liz Lemon inside of her, but there so totally isn't.

    Liz Lemon, however, will never write a biography, because 1) she doesn't exist and 2) there is no "life sadness" section at Barnes & Noble (unless you count Romance, amirite guys?).

    So instead, I've collected some of her wisdom here, touching on every aspect of life, as taken from the

    television series

    .

    Excuse me, is this seat taken?

    Really, dude? I got to move my coat? There are like four empty seats over there! Can't you just be cool?

    That guy wanted to buy you a drink!

    Really? But I already have a drink. Do you think he'd buy me mozzarella sticks?

    I'm going to tell Drew that I'm having a little welcome to the building party for him but there is no party and then when he shows up I'll laugh and say "oh it's the wrong night" and then he'll laugh and say one glass couldn't hurt and then I will put my mouth on his mouth!

    Just embrace the fact that you are lucky enough to be a happily married man. I mean, I'm actually jealous of you. You've got stability, a great marriage, devoted kids. You know what I have? A Sims family that keeps getting murdered.

    So what's your religion, Liz Lemon?

    I pretty much just do whatever Oprah tells me to.

    Lemon, I'm impressed. You're beginning to think like a businessman.

    A businesswoman.

    I don't think that's a word.

    The world is made by those who control their own destiny. It isn't made by those who don't do, it's made by those who do do. Which is what made me the man I am, I do do.

    Yeah, you do.

    Grow up, Lemon.

    So what are you gonna do with your money? Put it into a 401(k)?

    Yeah, I gotta get one of those.

    What?! Where do you invest your money, Lemon?

    I've got like twelve grand in checking.

    Are you an immigrant?

    Hey, nerds! Who's got two thumbs, speaks limited French, and hasn't cried once today? This moi.

    Oh, Miss Lemon. You have several messages. Aw, let's see, that company running the bike tour in South Carolina says no singles. Uh, your credit card called they want to make sure you're the one buying cream soda in bulk.

    I sure am.

    And your landlord called and he says it's not the toilet, it's you.

    That's his opinion.

    I did Big Sister in college. That little girl taught me how to use tampons.

    Working on my night cheese.

    Uhh, Jack! Do you know what time it is? I was sound asleep.

    No, Jack. You were just talking about how you miss office hookups. That is a double standard.

    Calm down.

    I won't calm down. Women are allowed to get angrier than men about double standards.

    Maybe I'm a little old-fashioned. I'm sorry I'm a real woman and not some over-sexed New York nympho like those sluts on Everybody Loves Raymond.

    For instance, Jack taught me not to wear tan slacks with a tan turtleneck. I thought it looked nice, but he, rightly, pointed out that it made me look like a giant condom.

    If I can't poop in the street, why should my tax dollars pay for someone else to?

  • Kristen
    Mar 01, 2012

    First, I must preface this two star rating by saying that since Goodreads does not allow zero stars I'm forced to reserve my one star ratings only for very special pieces of shit. Secondly, at no time while reading this did my blood alcohol content drop below twice the legal limit and even that hardly made this book tolerable.

    I wasn't expecting much, obviously, but this "book" fails to live up to even the exceeding low standards of airport bookstores. I liked Tina Fey before I read this book.

    First, I must preface this two star rating by saying that since Goodreads does not allow zero stars I'm forced to reserve my one star ratings only for very special pieces of shit. Secondly, at no time while reading this did my blood alcohol content drop below twice the legal limit and even that hardly made this book tolerable.

    I wasn't expecting much, obviously, but this "book" fails to live up to even the exceeding low standards of airport bookstores. I liked Tina Fey before I read this book. I like her far less now.

    Here's some helpful hints for your next "book":

    If we are reading your book then it's a safe bet we have seen your show and reproducing large chunks from your show in your book is superfluous at best and a cheap ploy to fill pages at worst.

    If you only have 100 pages of material then write a 100 page book, there is no shame in that, or perhaps you can just up the font size to 20 points because the 16 you used isn't quite large enough to be read from space.

    And the story of how your dad is such a fucking badass in your eyes because he once walked within ten feet of some black people in a parking lot was just painful, so painful, I'm embarrassed for both of us, you for writing that and me for reading it. (It's also my opinion that liberals who repeatedly uses the term 'African American' are probably closet racists. Actually that's less my opinion then it is a hard fact.)

  • Patrick
    Mar 01, 2014

    The best audiobook I've listened to in a long, long time. And that's saying something.

    I ended up picking this up because when I sent up a signal flare on Twitter, it was the most recommended book by far.

    Now I see why.

    1. The narration was exceptionally good. (I like autobiography being read by the author, but not all authors are good narrators.)

    2. It's legitimately funny.

    3. It's legitimately thoughtful and insightful.

    I'll also say that I read this book cold. I didn't really know who Tina Fe

    The best audiobook I've listened to in a long, long time. And that's saying something.

    I ended up picking this up because when I sent up a signal flare on Twitter, it was the most recommended book by far.

    Now I see why.

    1. The narration was exceptionally good. (I like autobiography being read by the author, but not all authors are good narrators.)

    2. It's legitimately funny.

    3. It's legitimately thoughtful and insightful.

    I'll also say that I read this book cold. I didn't really know who Tina Fey was when I picked it up. I had a dim awareness of her being one of the SNL people, and an actress. But that's it.

    I also didn't know she was in charge of 30 Rock. (A show I've seen exactly one episode of.) So I didn't come into this book as a fan. I became a fan by listening to it.

    I'm probably one of the few people that's going to start watching the show because of the book, rather than the other way around.

    I suspect that some of the low-to-mediocre ratings on here might come from people who were expecting her personal voice to be more like that of the character she plays. That understandable (but unreasonable) expectation probably caused them some disappointment.

    Also, the book has some feminist leanings. And that's going to piss some people off, even if they don't admit it. More's the pity.

  • Catriona (LittleBookOwl)
    Jan 14, 2015

    Thoroughly enjoyed listening to this!


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