Genre: Memoir, Non-fiction, Humor

Notes: I want to grow up and be Tina Fey.  WARNING: Reading this book in public will result in weird looks from strangers.  I read this on the bus back from Philly and the guy sitting next to me kept staring at me because I was cracking up.

Review: Tina Fey, I love you.

Bossypants is hilarious.  Laughter will ensue.  I feel Tina Fey is, first and foremost, a writer.  And a good one at that.  This book has comedic timing, interesting comparisons, and didn’t slow down.  I finished in about three hours.

While “Bossypants” probably started as a critical look at women in a male-dominated field like comedy, there was less feminist text and more “this is really Tina Fey’s life” chapters.  It is amazing one person can do so much – and have kids.  Sheesh.  If you do want to read a serious book and wish Tina Fey would stop being Liz Lemon for five seconds, don’t bother reading this book.  It is full of references to bad outfit choices and food – pure Lemon style.

“Bossypants” won’t teach aspiring writers or actors how to “make it.”  It won’t tell you how to edit your own work, how to get a job (although it will tell you not to ever finish a sentence for Lorne Michaels), or how to achieve work-life balance.  But it will show you that a good personality and  the ability to make fun of yourself will take you far.  Pretty might get you to the door, but personality and humor will help you kick it in.

Speaking of pretty, one of her best chapters (after talking about weird body image, her un-pretty days, and how she looked different from all of the blonde girls at UVA) is a remarkable defense of the use of Photoshop.  Yeah, defense.  Fey acknowledges that sometimes she wonders if it leads to negative body image for young girls, but also maintains that only people over 70 are actually fooled by Photoshop.   The rest of us know that model has tons of makeup on and Photoshop erased her armpit stubble as well as the bits of fat poking out of her swim suit.  We don’t think she looks that perfect.  Because everyone knows about the wonders and evils of Photoshop.  I know if one day I ever make it on to a magazine or book cover, I will advocate the use of Photoshop.  Like Fey says, I want the camera to look like it caught me on my best day.  I don’t want to look different, I just want to look put together.

Fey’s book pays homage to her roots in Second City, SNL, and 30 Rock.  She discusses the double standard that women in comedy still face, but feels the big women in comedy (Amy Poehler, Kristen Wiig, Maya Rudolph) constantly work to level the playing field.

One of the best chapters probed the dynamics of Fey impersonating Palin and Poehler impersonating Clinton on SNL during the election season.   Many men (and women) felt the sketches were needlessly negative of Palin and Fey wasn’t being “ladylike.”  But no one felt that SNL’s impersonations of past presidents (Clinton and Bush) were needlessly negative. Was it because men were impersonating men?  Fey addressed the outrage very succinctly.  “I am not mean and Sarah Palin is not fragile.  To imply otherwise is a disservice to us both.” To read Fey’s point of view and how she perceived the sexism is fascinating.

Bottom Line: If you like Fey, read this book.  Her snark shines through the pages and makes you laugh.  And it includes pictures!

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