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Bossypants by Tina Fey

08 May

BossypantsI was looking forward to this book like a person looks forward to things they look forward to. And there were parts of it that totally piqued my interest and made me “LOL” in the literal sense (and then explain myself to whoever was in the room). But for the most part this book was only mildly entertaining. I know! Sacrilegious.

The vague premise of the book is Miss Tina Fey teaching you how to rear your child to grow up like her: a confident, witty, feminist geek who doesn’t march to the beat of her own drummer only because she decided to play the triangle instead. And let’s be honest with ourselves: who wouldn’t want to be Tina right now? She writes great shows and movies, gets to star in said great shows and movies, has a great family, supportive parents, and counts Amy Poehler as one of her friends. Sign me up!

But the way she goes about teaching you is kind of an organized mess of anecdotes that show how Tina or someone she loves/admires responds to a given life experience. Which, okay, I guess you are the sum of your actions. But hearing about her honeymoon cruise debacle, how she discovered she liked white guys, and her inability to decide whether or not to have another kid is stuff that is interesting only to close friends. And although I’d like to consider myself and the great T.Fey besties, my lack of interest in such anecdotes proves that I’m not.

Here’s how I see it:

The thing that makes Tina Fey’s comedy the absolute gourmet mixture of smart, low-brow, physical and liz-yourself funny is how relatable it is. Think female sabotage in “Mean Girls,” having the bathroom door in your apartment fly open while you are relieving yourself during your date with Jon Hamm (30 Rock), or enduring the most disgusting character traits of an acquaintance because you need something from them (Baby Mama). There is this common experience that she builds her laughs on. That base is missing through most of Bossypants.

That is not to say that there weren’t parts that were built on that base. When she discusses what went on behind the scenes of her 6-week Sarah Palin impersonation, I couldn’t put the book down. It was exhilarating to see what Tina was thinking, how Lorne convinced her to play the part, and how she felt during those three seconds she shared the stage with the Sarah Palin.

The same goes for the prayer Tina writes to God about the hopes and fears she has for her daughter. When she prays to protect her daughter from tramp stamps, biblical knowledge of a drummer, and to give her a preference for beer over meth, we all laugh along because we know what she means. None of us wants any of the girls that we know to end up on a “Girls Gone Wild” video.

Oh Tina! Why couldn’t your whole book be like this? (On a side note, the references to Evanston, Rogers Park and Second City made me giddy with recognition.)

Overall, I’d give this three cups of coffee out of five. But if you are on the fence about reading this book, I’d say do it. The pictures alone are enough to make it worth it.

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Posted by on May 8, 2011 in Book Reviews, Humor, Memoir / Biography

 

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