In today’s world coming across visible female role models can be quite challenging. Young women gaze at countless types of screens (and some even pick up a magazine every now and again) searching for the face they want to emulate. And what do they see? Bleached blondes with miniature animals crammed into handbags that cost more than their parent’s combined yearly salaries. Snookie with her poofed up hair, cancerous orange skin, and whose goal in life seems to be taking shots and getting into hot tubs.
Then came Tina Fey, not with a bang but with a few self-deprecating jokes and a hilarious resemblance to Sarah Palin. First she was a writer for Saturday Night Live, then she crossed stage lines to be in front of the camera for their popular “Weekend Update” sketch, and then hit it big with her show 30 Rock. Now, she has written a book about her life, or at least a few bits of it.
Bossypants is a collection of anecdotes and commentary by Fey that covers things like her scar, her dad, her early days in improv, what Photoshop means for women these days, and many other topics. It’s a quick, light read (except for the bits about how she was attacked by a stranger and slashed across the face as a child) and has quite a few chuckle-worthy moments.
As a self-described Fey Follower, I was excited to read her book. I wanted it to be funny and interesting and eye-opening. I was a little disappointed. This memoir, I should mention, was written very clearly for a 35-50 female audience. She talks, at length, about child rearing and marriage and other family related topics. As a 25-year-old woman who has yet never been married nor given birth, these topics bored me. In addition, many of her jokes used celebrity references from before my time, and therefore were completely lost on me. Obviously this isn’t due to the book being bad, just that the age gap was hard to get around at times.
Fey also wrote a chapter called “Dear Internet” in which some negative posts that have been made about Fey on the internet (I assume, she easily could have made them up for the sake of this chapter) are re-printed and Fey responds. I’m not entirely sure why this chapter made me uncomfortable, perhaps it’s because I think that Fey generally receives far more positive feedback than negative (but how could I know?) and this nit-picking chapter just felt lame. I wanted to yell, “Tina! You’re awesome and everyone knows it! Why are you wasting time trying to make funny retorts to insults you shouldn’t think twice about!” At least it wasn’t a very long chapter.
One of her last chapters, “A Mother’s Prayer for Its Daughter” was both funny, sweet, and a little surprising. A few of my favorite lines are:
May she be Beautiful but not Damaged, for it’s the Damage that draws the creepy soccer coach’s eye, not the Beauty.
May she play the Drums to the fiery rhythm of her Own Heart with the sinewy strength of her Own Arms, so she need Not Lie With Drummers.
And when she one day turns on me and calls me a Bitch in front of Hollister, Give me the strength, Lord, to yank her directly into a cab in front of her friends, For I will not have that Shit. I will not have it.
It’s too bad I read that chapter after already sending out my Mother’s Day card to my mom. I think she might have had a laugh at a photocopy of this chapter.
I enjoyed this book, and I still love Tina Fey, and I will buy her next book if she chooses to write one, but I hope the next one is less about babies and more about her other life experiences. While I well understand the perils of putting people on pedestals (say that five times fast!) it was a little disappointing reading about how boringly normal Tina Fey and her life is. I wanted to read about crazy writer antics (she did talk about the men on her show peeing in cups and keeping them around the office) and the rejections she must have received before her rise to stardom. I wanted to read about the future of 30 Rock, will she write any more movies, and what was it like working Lindsay Lohan on Mean Girls?
Oh well. Thank you Tina Fey for the chapters about Lorne Michaels, writing, and your long time friendship with Amy Poehler. Now write more about that stuff and leave child rearing talk to What to Expect When You’re Expecting and BabyGap.