Saturday, April 30, 2011

Book Review: Bossypants

In another undisguised attempt at avoiding finishing A Tale of Two Cities (it's not really my fault.  The library  keeps giving me all these goodies), I read Tina Fey's new book Bossypants.

Let's be real here.  I had no idea who Tina Fey was until the last presidential election.  I had been happily disengaged for the majority of the campaign, and when Hillary was out of the running I wasn't interested anymore.  I'm not a fan of Hillary, but once she was out though I felt like the drama was over and I didn't care who won.  To me---a woman who considers herself fiscally conservative but socially liberal (i.e. there's no party for me)---the difference between Barack and John was, well, very small.  Then, Sarah Palin came along.  I was excited about the campaign again.  It had nothing to do with the fact that she was a woman or a governor no one had ever heard of or that I had any hope that she could make a real difference.  I was excited because things FINALLY got interesting again.  Sarah Palin was saying crazy stuff...and Tina Fey and Amy Poehler were making it even funnier!  

Obviously, Fey devotes time in the book to her parody of Sarah Palin and how it effected her career, but there's a lot more here too.  She follows a fairly chronological path in the memoir.  Fey discusses the large scar on her face that she got as a victim of a random slashing in the alley behind her house at age 5.  She discusses her relationship with her parents and her time growing up as a theatre geek in high school.  And as you would expect, she writes about her time with Second City, Saturday Night Live, and 30 Rock.  Most of the book, however, is devoted to random rants about various topics...which, quite frankly, makes it laugh out loud hilarious.  

We don't get to hear anything (and I mean ANYTHING) about how she met her husband or their wedding or really much about their relationship at all.  We DO get to hear about a horrible cruise they went on that resulted in them nearly sinking and evacuating the boat and the time she climbed a mountain with a boy she liked (not her husband) in the middle of the night with his pissed off roommate only to find out he liked another girl named Gretchen.  We don't get to hear much about her daughter Alice.  We DO experience her reflections about having a nanny that cuts the kid's finger nails too short.  That train of thought leads into a passage about how breastfeeding and working seem to be the most divisive topics that you can bring up in a group of moms.  There are a couple of chapters about being too skinny and being too fat and a whole chapter of letters she'd like to mail to people who made negative comments about her on the Internet.  

I admit it.  It sounds like a big mushy potluck of topics.  And it is.  But when it's over, you've laughed, you've reminisced (in my case, I looked back fondly at my high school and college days of working on school plays), and you have a sense of who Tina Fey really is when she's at home hanging out with her family.

In the end, she talks about how she would like to have another child so her daughter has a sibling, but she's not sure if it's in the cards.  I really liked a quote from that chapter:

It's now or never.  This decision cannot be delayed.  And what's so great about work anyway?  Work won't visit you when you're old.  Work won't drive you to get a mammogram and take you out after for soup.  It's too much pressure on my one kid to expect her to shoulder all those duties alone.  Also, what if she turns on me?  I am pretty hard to like.  I need a back up.  And who will be my daughter's family when my husband and I are dead from stress-induced cankers?  She must have a sibling.  Hollywood be damned.  I'll just be unemployable and labeled crazy in five years anyway.
(Bossypants, page 270)

Just last month, she revealed that she's expecting her second child---so yay for Tina!  My bottom line review on this book is this.  If you like Tina Fey and you're looking for a fun light read with no earth shattering expectations, you will enjoy this book and you will root for Tina.  You'll do this because despite her stardom, she's just another mom trying to do her best for her family and still achieve her dreams.  And you'll laugh out loud all the way to the end of the book.


Faith said...

I don't have a party either. It's hard being homeless!

This book sounds great. Tina Fey is funny! Thanks for the review.

herdingcats said...

Thank you. I look forward to reading this book.