Author: Tina Fey
Year of publication: 2011
your brain on books rating: 4
Often when people chronicle their own lives, they hand-select the trials and tribulations that will best illustrate the awe-inspiring journeys they have undertaken in order to win the hearts of the reading and based-on-a-true-story watching public. Tina Fey is not one of those people, because the test audiences for the biopic based on her bestselling book would be laughing too hard, and Lifetime would surrender their rights* to her story for fear that the film would be too…off-brand. From awkward adolescent child to awkward Hollywood celebrity, Fey uses the pages of her memoir to give readers a guided tour of her life thus far with the brand of honest, unapologetic humor for which she is so well known.
Tina Fey: a comedian, a writer, an actress on a television show about a television show in which she portrays a comedic writer, a wife, a mother, a bossypants. It turns out women really can have it all.
For readers who are familiar with Fey’s work on Saturday Night Live or 30 Rock, the sense of humor she brings to this recounting of her life won’t disappoint. Fey lays it all on the table – for all of her successes, she doesn’t forget to include a failure or otherwise embarrassing moment. No shame between friends, right, readers? And even if there were, Fey’s audience is more likely to burst out in good-natured laughter at her witty prose than to pass judgment for the times in her life where her efforts fell short. As such, Fey’s ability to keep a fairly even balance between the highs and the lows when telling readers about her life makes this book a hard one to put down.
However, as much as Fey keeps the good times rolling throughout most of her book, she forgets (or – perhaps in a more intriguing twist – chooses not) to keep it light at the end. As readers can imagine, being a working mother is challenging, but being a 70-hour-a-week working mother upon whom many other people’s jobs depend can at times be a nightmare. It’s a tough topic to joke about, and if Fey has even made an attempt, she has failed to do so successfully. The placement of this particular discussion in the final chapters ends the memoir on a low note. It might be more realistic, but it is not what most readers will expect they are getting themselves into; they went to Oz to see the wizard, but behind the curtain they will find a normal, human (wo)man.
All jokes aside, Bossypants is a must for Fey fans.
*Lifetime does not, to this writer’s knowledge, own the rights to Tina Fey’s life story.