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Hachette Book Group
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Bossypants Kindle Edition
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Top Customer Reviews
For me, the most enjoyable parts centered around the backstage shenanigans and politics of Saturday Night Live and 30 Rock. Hearing Tina recount her first day as a writer on SNL, when she draws the short straw and has to be the one to tell host Sylvester Stallone that he needs to "enunciate" more, was pure comedy gold, and I was at once laughing at her, as well as laughing with her.
There's nothing too deep here. Even the story of how she received the trademark scar on her cheek is glossed over with (funny) jokes and snide remarks. But did we really expect anything else from the most recognizable anchor of the Weekend Update?
If you can get the audio version, do. It's worth it to hear Fey's self-deprecating voice narrate her own words.
The book is structured more or less chronologically, which makes sense with an autobiography. However, there are several things which set it apart from the average autobiography, or even biography. Firstly, it is very, very funny. Laugh out loud funny, and that doesn't happen very often. And secondly, it was surprisingly insightful for something billed as comedy. It is obvious that Fey is very observant watcher of the human species, and is introspective enough to offer us genuine insight into what it's like to live in the world today. There were certainly insights that made me reflect on my own life, without it ever being preachy.
I read Bossypants the first time before watching 30 Rock, and there are a couple of chapters which didn't mean a lot as I didn't know the characters or the players. I still loved it, but it made more sense reading it the second time after watching 30 Rock.
What becomes clear when reading this book, is just how smart, sassy and capable Fey is. She is humble in many ways, which makes her humour so approachable. But there is a clear strength of character which allows her to follow through on projects despite difficulties or obstacles. So while this is very, very funny, and a joy to read, it is also quite inspirational. I'm giving a copy to a friend's teenage daughter who wants to be a writer. I think it will be a hit!
However, anyone with an IQ in the positive numbers who was a grown up by the time of the 2008 election knows who Tina Fey is. And, of course, that she is both funny and successful. Who doesn't love a funny and successful woman? Ok, well, some people, mostly male, rude, and creatures from a thankfully bygone era, but I digress.
So, I picked up this book (Or, rather, I picked up my Kindle, which, by the way, is not the best format for reading a few figures in this book - most notably the hand drawn chart and the several pages of script dialogue) to give me a much-needed mental break from the endless series of serious science fiction, Swedish crime procedurals, and classic literature of England and Norway I've been reading this month. My motives were purely selfish, of course.
However, in addition to being funny (about every 4 seconds) and successful (Improv? Television? Film? Writing?), Tina Fey is not only erudite but also penetrating. She slices through the Italian rum cake and stale sandwiches to remind us about big important life lessons. These lessons are not just applicable to a woman having a career in comedy and entertainment, but to all of us. Big important life lessons.
For example, she gives excellent advice on how to deal with sexism (racism, ageism, whatever-ism) in the workplace. She also gives brilliant advice on finishing a dissertation. OK, so she didn't even mention the word dissertation, but the advice is nonetheless applicable. Trust me.
But, she doles out this advice under the cover of humor. Incredible amounts of humor. You won't even notice you are being given fantastic life advice, really, because you'll be giggling and hooting and having people on the plane or train or bus or your spouse in the bed beside you looking at you like you've lost your mind. We all know you have not lost your mind, you have just regained your sanity, if only temporarily.
Read this book. Read it and laugh. Then, apply those surreptitious life lessons with gusto.
P.S. If you are avoiding this book because you think Tina Fey's political persuasion is too different from yours, you are an idiot. It's full of humor and life lessons, which are so much more important than who you voted for in a bygone election.
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