[ Book Review ] Bossypants by Tina Fey

Bossypants by Tina Fey: I had to hear it to like it

What do 30-Rock, Saturday Night Live, and 63.4% of my friends have in common? Tina Fey. And, in the case of my friends, the looks they give me–part mild concern, part disbelief–when I reluctantly admit that I don’t watch either show. At least, not beyond a few youtube clips those self-same friends are moved to send my way in pity.

And this is why I can’t stress enough how glad I am that I went for an audiobook version of Tina Fey’s Bossypants (narrated by the author, herself).  Had I picked up the print version of Fey’s collection of articles,  I’d have been reading it flat, and flat wouldn’t have done anything but create an angry, sardonic atmosphere. But with Tina Fey performing her own words, there is nothing vicious in the narrator’s light, chirpy voice–and the liberal in me was content.

But wait, canary. You just called this a collection of articles. It’s a book.

Yes, Bossypants is presented as a memoir, but the book is best approached as a collection of chapters and commentary, only loosely connected by Fey’s themes from her childhood to now. In fact, that’s one of the thing I ended up enjoying immensely. Not only are the stories entertaining, but there are a lot of them. And just when I might have been tempted to let my mind wander, Fey ends a story and hits me with a pithy list–or a series of replies to comments from the internet.

TheOtherCanary informs me that this is what modern nonfiction memiors look like. Weird. 

She also reminds me that it’s customary to talk a little bit about what the book’s about in a book review. Okay, you caught me.

Thing is, I can’t really say. The stories range over Fey’s summer experience in a camp with her friends, her relationship with her father, the cruise she took before swearing off all things boats, and the days of no sleep as she worked on her career in show business. The themes are more consistent:  being a friend, being a career woman, what it means to be a woman, having a career and family…

I enjoyed the anecdotal stories immensely when I was hearing them, but looking back now, they jumble.

So here’s what I’ll say: If you’re a long time Fey fan, you’ve already read the book. If you’re like me and only know Tina Fey by way of earnest friends and fond (albeit vaguely unsettling) memories of the US Biden-Palin vice presidential debate, borrow yourself the audiobook. If you’re out of borrowing range or already have the book, grab the free sample on your local friendly amazon-like retailer for the voice imprint. Rinse and repeat as necessary.

And having listened to the book, I can now safely say that I am 14.2% more culturally competent. Take that, concerned friends!

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