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Spirited and whip-smart, these laugh-out-loud
autobiographical essays are "a masterpiece" from the Emmy Award-winning
actress and comedy writer known for 30 Rock, Mean Girls,
and SNL (Sunday
Telegraph
).

Before Liz
Lemon, before "Weekend Update," before "Sarah Palin," Tina Fey was just a
young girl with a dream: a recurring stress dream that she was being
chased through a local airport by her middle-school gym teacher. She
also had a dream that one day she would be a comedian on
TV.

She has seen both these dreams come
true.

At last, Tina Fey's story can be told.
From her youthful days as a vicious nerd to her tour of duty on
Saturday Night Live; from her passionately halfhearted pursuit of
physical beauty to her life as a mother eating things off the floor;
from her one-sided college romance to her nearly fatal honeymoon -- from
the beginning of this paragraph to this final
sentence.

Tina Fey reveals all, and proves what
we've always suspected: you're no one until someone calls you
bossy.

(Includes Special,
Never-Before-Solicited Opinions on Breastfeeding, Princesses, Photoshop,
the Electoral Process, and Italian Rum
Cake!
)

Average Ratings and Reviews
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4.12

779872 Ratings

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Ratings and Reviews From Market


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1

Reviews for Bossypants:

2

May 10, 2011

Tina Fey's Bossypants was a disappointment. I don't know that expecting much from a comedy writer's cash-in big-font-with-pictures essay/memoir...thing...is fair, but I've been a Tina Fey fan since 30 Rock began, ready to trust her literary aspirations, and even to me this book barely scratches onto the two star plateau.

What did I expect? Well, it's probably easier to explain what I didn't expect. I wasn't counting on a sour, muddled, defensive screed against anyone who pissed off the author in Tina Fey's Bossypants was a disappointment. I don't know that expecting much from a comedy writer's cash-in big-font-with-pictures essay/memoir...thing...is fair, but I've been a Tina Fey fan since 30 Rock began, ready to trust her literary aspirations, and even to me this book barely scratches onto the two star plateau.

What did I expect? Well, it's probably easier to explain what I didn't expect. I wasn't counting on a sour, muddled, defensive screed against anyone who pissed off the author in the last thirty years. I wasn't hoping for forced, obvious stories about the professional discrimination in Fey's history. I wasn't looking forward to insecure ramblings about the long hours she put into Saturday Night Live and 30 Rock. And I definitely wasn't expecting all of the above to be sugarcoated by a combination of weak, insecure meta-analysis and self-conscious “oh, I'm really not that great” coverups.

You know why Bossypants bugged me? Tina Fey has nothing for which to apologize. She's smart, she's funny, and she's talented. So I assume this book had some sort of cathartic impact and she needed to get this bile out of her system. Bossypants gets credit for three short, quality sections. First, Fey tackles the “what's that scar on your face?” question right up front and follows with some funny, interesting commentary on how she can gauge people by how they respond to the scar. Second, she answers a few critical emails/blog comments as a “question and answer” chapter. Third, she walks the reader through a detailed analysis of the whole “I look like Sarah Palin” era. I read this book quickly, over two nights, and while Bossypants is well-written, for the most part, the subject matter's dour nature left me cold, oh, 75% of the time.

Listen. I didn't pick this book up whispering, under my breath, “Make me laugh right NOW, Tina Fey! Dance, monkey, dance!” But I feel like Tina Fey wrote this book for 1) young women she's trying to inspire, and 2) all the people who hate her who will never read this book, anyway. Maybe 41 year old white guys weren't her target audience. I can live with that. I'll still watch 30 Rock, though, and not just because she's hot. I just hope next time Fey writes a better book. ...more
5

Mar 01, 2014

The best audiobook I've listened to in a long, long time. And that's saying something.

I ended up picking this up because when I sent up a signal flare on Twitter, it was the most recommended book by far.

Now I see why.

1. The narration was exceptionally good. (I like autobiography being read by the author, but not all authors are good narrators.)

2. It's legitimately funny.

3. It's legitimately thoughtful and insightful.

I'll also say that I read this book cold. I didn't really know who Tina The best audiobook I've listened to in a long, long time. And that's saying something.

I ended up picking this up because when I sent up a signal flare on Twitter, it was the most recommended book by far.

Now I see why.

1. The narration was exceptionally good. (I like autobiography being read by the author, but not all authors are good narrators.)

2. It's legitimately funny.

3. It's legitimately thoughtful and insightful.

I'll also say that I read this book cold. I didn't really know who Tina Fey was when I picked it up. I had a dim awareness of her being one of the SNL people, and an actress. But that's it.

I also didn't know she was in charge of 30 Rock. (A show I've seen exactly one episode of.) So I didn't come into this book as a fan. I became a fan by listening to it.

I'm probably one of the few people that's going to start watching the show because of the book, rather than the other way around.

I suspect that some of the low-to-mediocre ratings on here might come from people who were expecting her personal voice to be more like that of the character she plays. That understandable (but unreasonable) expectation probably caused them some disappointment.

Also, the book has some feminist leanings. And that's going to piss some people off, even if they don't admit it. More's the pity.

...more
5

Mar 01, 2014

I'm listening to the audiobook and it's even better than the print.
5

Feb 01, 2011

I honestly cannot remember the last time I laughed this hard reading anything (only a Jonathan Tropper novel or a Dave Sedaris collection comes close). I finished the other night with wet cheeks from the tears that'd escaped my eyes. The bed had been shaking I was laughing so hard!

So what's to love about "Bossypants," besides everything? For starters, how Tina just tells it (and by "it," I mean everything from working at SNL to impersonating Sarah Palin) like it is. She's got a fierce feminist I honestly cannot remember the last time I laughed this hard reading anything (only a Jonathan Tropper novel or a Dave Sedaris collection comes close). I finished the other night with wet cheeks from the tears that'd escaped my eyes. The bed had been shaking I was laughing so hard!

So what's to love about "Bossypants," besides everything? For starters, how Tina just tells it (and by "it," I mean everything from working at SNL to impersonating Sarah Palin) like it is. She's got a fierce feminist streak in her, but it's a feminism that exhibits itself in her trademark no-bullshit kind of way. It's more or less the message of, "I will be who I want to be and I do not care if you like it". Oh, and she's quick to call other women out for being catty — while, at the same time, being the first to admit she's played that card plenty of times in her own past.

And that, perhaps, is what makes Tina Fey so gosh darn likable. She IS us, right down to admitting her faults. You have to laugh reading chapters like "Amazing, Gorgeous, Not Like That" (in which Tina breaks down what a photo shoot is REALLY like) because you think, "YES! That is exactly what I thought it'd be like!" What I loved most about this book is Tina's voice can be heard through the whole thing. That's not an easy thing for an author to do, but you feel as though Tina is reading these stories to you (fan girl I am, I still want the audio version so, you know, Tina actually CAN read these stories to me!)

Personal highlights:
• The chapter on her dad, "That's Don Fey" ("How can I give [my daughter] what Don Fey gave me? The gift of anxiety. The fear of getting in trouble. The knowledge that while you are loved, you are not above the law.")
• Her chapters on being very very skinny and being a little bit fat— brilliant essays on women and weight shared in a way I think only she could nail.
• She has a girl crush on Amy Poehler and a work crush on Alec Baldwin (whom she gives way too much credit for the success of 30 Rock, IMO).
• She refuses to hire/work for jerks and she's not above using this book to get revenge on those who've criticized women's ability to be funny (on the success of the Sarah Palin-Hilary Clinton sketch she did with Amy: "That night's show was watched by 10 million people and I guess that director at The Second City who said the audience "didn't want to see a sketch with two women" can go shit in his hat.")
• She writes lines that seriously just make you bust a gut: "Do I think Photoshop is being used excessively? Yes. I saw Madonna's Louis Vutton ad and honestly, at first glance, I thought it was Gwen Stefani's baby."
• The chapter on her attempt to film a scene with Oprah, play Sarah Palin for the first time on SNL and plan her daughter's 3rd Peter Pan-themed birthday party ("By the way, when Oprah Winfrey is suggesting you may have overextended yourself, you need to examine your f*cking life")
• Her thoughts on parenthood and struggling to breastfeed and why she refuses to take guilt from (her words, not mine) "Teat Nazis"
• And finally, a chapter that struck a chord with me in those final pages, "The Mother's Prayer For Its Daughter," because, dang it all, Tina does what so few can and it's write something that can be so beautifully poetic and LOL funny at the same time. ("First, Lord: No tattoos. May neither Chinese symbol for truth nor Winnie-the-Pooh holding the FSU logo stain her tender haunches.")

So yeah, it's brilliant. It's hilarious. JUST GO READ IT ALREADY! haha

...more
3

Mar 01, 2018

Tina Fey. American Icon. Some people say, “Never let them see you cry.” I say, if you’re so mad you could just cry, then cry. It terrifies everyone. I really appreciated how this memoir had a good mix of heartwarming anecdotes, comedic happenstances and career musings.

While I am not as familiar with her SNL and early career, this book was fun and easy to listen to.

As with many a memoir, we start with her childhood love of comedy and processed to her current-day adventures (or perhaps more Tina Fey. American Icon. Some people say, “Never let them see you cry.” I say, if you’re so mad you could just cry, then cry. It terrifies everyone. I really appreciated how this memoir had a good mix of heartwarming anecdotes, comedic happenstances and career musings.

While I am not as familiar with her SNL and early career, this book was fun and easy to listen to.

As with many a memoir, we start with her childhood love of comedy and processed to her current-day adventures (or perhaps more accurately: misadventures).

A running theme to this book was the importance of being yourself: Do your thing and don't care if they like it. As a young teen, Tina hung out primarily in the theater department - thus having the pleasure of getting to know all sorts of quirky characters while being a social pariah to the rest of the school.

But to her, the friendships and life lessons were invaluable to shaping her future.

So, despite what others may have said, there was no way she would have lived her life differently. After all, Gay people don’t actually try to convert people. That’s Jehovah’s Witnesses you’re thinking of. Her early career was sporadic and difficult - breaking into the comedy scene was no easy task but she made it - by being bossy and taking no sh*t from no one.

I enjoyed how she managed to inject her personal brand of humor throughout her memoir while simultaneously opening up to her real problems and issues: My ability to turn good news into anxiety is rivaled only by my ability to turn anxiety into chin acne. If you are looking for a light read with great advice - look no further!

Audiobook Comments
Tina read this one and absolutely rocked it. The comedic time was just superb. I'd definitely take listening to this book over reading it any day.

YouTube | Blog | Instagram | Twitter | Snapchat @miranda.reads

Happy Reading! ...more
3

May 20, 2011

Sure, you could read Bossypants. Provided you like all that self-deprecating "I'm Tina Fey and I am enormously successful and I am thankful for that, but at the same time I still struggle with being a working woman with a real life, because it is so weird that I am a media icon when I still really think of myself as an unpopular high school theater dweeb, and isn't life weird, like when I was seen as a major influence during the last election because I kind of look like Sarah Palin?" stuff.

Sure, you could read Bossypants. Provided you like all that self-deprecating "I'm Tina Fey and I am enormously successful and I am thankful for that, but at the same time I still struggle with being a working woman with a real life, because it is so weird that I am a media icon when I still really think of myself as an unpopular high school theater dweeb, and isn't life weird, like when I was seen as a major influence during the last election because I kind of look like Sarah Palin?" stuff.

Personally, Tina Fey is a little too successful for me. I don't like it. I want to read about the life of someone else in order to feel better about my own life, not to make me wish I lived in New York and did something cool for a living.

I'd rather read the autobiography of Liz Lemon. Tina Fey tries to pretend there's still a Liz Lemon inside of her, but there so totally isn't.

Liz Lemon, however, will never write a biography, because 1) she doesn't exist and 2) there is no "life sadness" section at Barnes & Noble (unless you count Romance, amirite guys?).

So instead, I've collected some of her wisdom here, touching on every aspect of life, as taken from the popular television series 30 Rock.

Dating & Marriage

[Man walks up to Liz at the bar]
Gentleman: Excuse me, is this seat taken?
Liz: Really, dude? I got to move my coat? There are like four empty seats over there! Can't you just be cool?
[Man leaves]
Jenna: That guy wanted to buy you a drink!
Liz: Really? But I already have a drink. Do you think he'd buy me mozzarella sticks?

Liz: I'm going to tell Drew that I'm having a little welcome to the building party for him but there is no party and then when he shows up I'll laugh and say "oh it's the wrong night" and then he'll laugh and say one glass couldn't hurt and then I will put my mouth on his mouth!

Liz: Just embrace the fact that you are lucky enough to be a happily married man. I mean, I'm actually jealous of you. You've got stability, a great marriage, devoted kids. You know what I have? A Sims family that keeps getting murdered.

Religion

Tracy: So what's your religion, Liz Lemon?
Liz: I pretty much just do whatever Oprah tells me to.

Business

Jack: Lemon, I'm impressed. You're beginning to think like a businessman.
Liz: A businesswoman.
Jack: I don't think that's a word.

Jack: The world is made by those who control their own destiny. It isn't made by those who don't do, it's made by those who do do. Which is what made me the man I am, I do do.
Liz: Yeah, you do.
Jack: Grow up, Lemon.

Finance

Jack: So what are you gonna do with your money? Put it into a 401(k)?
Liz: Yeah, I gotta get one of those.
Jack: What?! Where do you invest your money, Lemon?
Liz: I've got like twelve grand in checking.
Jack: Are you an immigrant?

Dealing with Stress

Liz: Hey, nerds! Who's got two thumbs, speaks limited French, and hasn't cried once today? This moi.

Managing Your Personal Life

Kenneth: Oh, Miss Lemon. You have several messages. Aw, let's see, that company running the bike tour in South Carolina says no singles. Uh, your credit card called they want to make sure you're the one buying cream soda in bulk.
Liz: I sure am.
Kenneth: And your landlord called and he says it's not the toilet, it's you.
Liz: That's his opinion.

Liz: I did Big Sister in college. That little girl taught me how to use tampons.

Dieting

Liz: [Singing while eating cheese] Working on my night cheese. [knock at the door] Uhh, Jack! Do you know what time it is? I was sound asleep.

Sexual Politics

Liz: No, Jack. You were just talking about how you miss office hookups. That is a double standard.
Jack: Calm down.
Liz: I won't calm down. Women are allowed to get angrier than men about double standards.

Feminism

Liz: Maybe I'm a little old-fashioned. I'm sorry I'm a real woman and not some over-sexed New York nympho like those sluts on Everybody Loves Raymond.

Fashion

Liz: For instance, Jack taught me not to wear tan slacks with a tan turtleneck. I thought it looked nice, but he, rightly, pointed out that it made me look like a giant condom.

Politics

Liz: If I can't poop in the street, why should my tax dollars pay for someone else to?

...more
2

Mar 01, 2012

First, I must preface this two star rating by saying that since Goodreads does not allow zero stars I'm forced to reserve my one star ratings only for very special pieces of shit. Secondly, at no time while reading this did my blood alcohol content drop below twice the legal limit and even that hardly made this book tolerable.

I wasn't expecting much, obviously, but this "book" fails to live up to even the exceeding low standards of airport bookstores. I liked Tina Fey before I read this book. First, I must preface this two star rating by saying that since Goodreads does not allow zero stars I'm forced to reserve my one star ratings only for very special pieces of shit. Secondly, at no time while reading this did my blood alcohol content drop below twice the legal limit and even that hardly made this book tolerable.

I wasn't expecting much, obviously, but this "book" fails to live up to even the exceeding low standards of airport bookstores. I liked Tina Fey before I read this book. I like her far less now.

Here's some helpful hints for your next "book":

If we are reading your book then it's a safe bet we have seen your show and reproducing large chunks from your show in your book is superfluous at best and a cheap ploy to fill pages at worst.

If you only have 100 pages of material then write a 100 page book, there is no shame in that, or perhaps you can just up the font size to 20 points because the 16 you used isn't quite large enough to be read from space.

And the story of how your dad is such a fucking badass in your eyes because he once walked within ten feet of some black people in a parking lot was just painful, so painful, I'm embarrassed for both of us, you for writing that and me for reading it. (It's also my opinion that liberals who repeatedly uses the term 'African American' are probably closet racists. Actually that's less my opinion then it is a hard fact.) ...more
3

Dec 08, 2016

Meager...! The degree of insight here is microscopic at most. Anecdotes--those that matter to us, TV/film buffs of the world--are soooo ridiculously scant! Its akin to ridiculing a very unique life with a distanced neverwarm life story. It's unfair; all of it farcical with no pathos at all. The chuckles themselves fail to achieve the expected Cheshire Cat grin madness usually achieved by the brilliant "Weekend Update" host. This was unexpectedly underwhelming to me. Impersonal, cutesy, with a Meager...! The degree of insight here is microscopic at most. Anecdotes--those that matter to us, TV/film buffs of the world--are soooo ridiculously scant! Its akin to ridiculing a very unique life with a distanced neverwarm life story. It's unfair; all of it farcical with no pathos at all. The chuckles themselves fail to achieve the expected Cheshire Cat grin madness usually achieved by the brilliant "Weekend Update" host. This was unexpectedly underwhelming to me. Impersonal, cutesy, with a sinful-zero amount of compelling stories of life in the comedic fast lane. This autobio is vv (very vanilla)--which, you know, took me by surprise.

Its interesting to note just how much more personal, more giving (into their brilliant minds, their methods and techniques, their own sides of the tabloid tale...etc.) other comedic autobiographies are then Fey's (Pohlers, Dratchs, Silverman's...). They came later, way after Bossypants blew up, & they are for the most part better than this one. Still, Fey is obviously (obviously!) a pioneer*.

*& its probably my fault I got almost nothing out of "Bossy..." ...more
3

Apr 13, 2011

Three and a half stars. I think Tina Fey is awesome. I think this is a slight but solid book. Her authorial voice sounds exactly like her speaking in my head. It's sometimes funny, sometimes self-deprecating, sometimes empowering. It spends more time than one might expect on some things, and no time on others. I think she tried to skirt a line between memoir and humor essayist that is a difficult one to skirt. I think it's an easier thing to do if you're David Sedaris and nobody has specific Three and a half stars. I think Tina Fey is awesome. I think this is a slight but solid book. Her authorial voice sounds exactly like her speaking in my head. It's sometimes funny, sometimes self-deprecating, sometimes empowering. It spends more time than one might expect on some things, and no time on others. I think she tried to skirt a line between memoir and humor essayist that is a difficult one to skirt. I think it's an easier thing to do if you're David Sedaris and nobody has specific stories that they want to hear from you. Readers trust Sedaris to talk about the aspects of his life that he wants to illuminate. Tina Fey writes as if she is obligated to spend time on certain things: her Palin impression, her scar, etc., and then she has less time to touch on other things. Mean Girls is mentioned only in passing in a chapter that had nothing to do with it. A longer and more in depth would have talked about writing her first big movie script, or acting in a movie, or working with Lindsay Lohan. I'd love to have heard more Saturday Night Live stories. Not a tell all, but just a little more depth instead of the glances we get.

Fey makes some good points about women in comedy, and about comedy in general, and about women in general, and a whole lot of other stuff. She's smart and funny, and wise enough to disguise some truths behind jokes, the way Jessica Seinfeld hides spinach in brownies. All in all, it's a solid book of anecdotes that could have been a little bit more. ...more
3

May 16, 2011

Big Tina Fey fan here. I have always enjoyed her work on SNL and have seen almost every episode of 30 Rock. I have seen some of her movies, not all. She is very definitely funny and smart. Her Sarah Palin kills. So what might one expect from a Tina Fey book? One of two things, either a straight ahead comedic book with plenty of anecdotes, jokes and maybe a bit of behind-the-scenes info, or a personal memoir, with detail about her background. I felt that Fey committed to neither fully and wound Big Tina Fey fan here. I have always enjoyed her work on SNL and have seen almost every episode of 30 Rock. I have seen some of her movies, not all. She is very definitely funny and smart. Her Sarah Palin kills. So what might one expect from a Tina Fey book? One of two things, either a straight ahead comedic book with plenty of anecdotes, jokes and maybe a bit of behind-the-scenes info, or a personal memoir, with detail about her background. I felt that Fey committed to neither fully and wound up producing half of both in a book that was inconsistent and at times very thin.

After reading this book, do you feel that you know Fey any better than you did before? Sure there are some details about this and that, and she does address internal conflicts around work-vs-family, but my take is that this was all very surfacy material and did not really get much, if at all, below the skin. As a memoir I found it very unrevealing. There is the matter of the scar. She tells us nothing. And tunes out those who ask. Doesn’t it make you think there is something there? A little kid is harmed so violently and she has nothing to say about it? Really? Had no effect on her growing up? Another sore point was the minimal info offered on her relationship with her father, Don Fey, who was clearly a very powerful figure in her life. Colin Quinn, having just met the guy, was impressed. “Your father doesn’t fucking play games. You would never come home with a shamrock tattoo in that house.” Yet TF offers us very little about him and virtually nothing about how his personality affected her growing up.

There was definitely some fun behind-the-scenes material here, most especially in her chapter on staff urination practices. I felt that her portrait of life in Second City was thin. Re 30 Rock, nothing on Alec Baldwin, really? We assume that they got to know each other when he hosted SNL, but how did it come to be that she wanted to write a sit-com that he starred in? Nada. Thin. But plenty of respect and admiration for Lorne Michaels and several of her workmates. That offered at least a hint of heft.

Some chapters function mostly as short comedic bits. In one she responds to hostile e-mails that certainly could have been real, although one wonders. But real or written it was rather low-hanging fruit.

She does allow some warts to dot the portrait. Basically stealing a job from a lifer at the Y was a pretty crappy thing to do in her early years. It makes one see TF as someone who gets what she wants no matter who she hurts. And she certainly seems to have had a remarkable run of success. One wonders if there are more wounded and dying left on the field of battle. How much has luck played a part in her achievements? In terms of how she functions in the world as a competitive person I felt that we got only the very tip of the TF iceberg.

She points out more than a few of the gender-bias barricades she and other female writers and comedians have had to hurdle. That was one of the strengths of the book, as was her conflicted feelings about parenting versus work.

Many years ago I knew a fellow who worked at one of the main New York comedy clubs. He made it pretty clear that, as a group, comedians were “not nice people.” Tina Fey may or may not be a nice person. I did not get a strong enough sense to overcome my predisposition. She is certainly very smart, talented and funny. I would like to know more about her, but this book is not the goto source for that. My sense is that TF is not gonna let anyone too close, not show too much, other than to her best buds and family, and who knows, maybe not even them.

In a way, I felt the book resembled SNL. In pretty much every production of the show, there are some good bits and some that fall flat. I expect there are more publications ahead for Fey. Hopefully the next one will offer a better overall product, with heftier content.


PS - One quote I particularly enjoyed:When I was a kid there was a TV interstitial during Saturday morning cartoons with a song that went like this: “The most important person in the whole wide world is you, and you hardly even know you." You’re the most important person! Is this not the absolute worst thing you could instill in a child? They’re the most important person? In the world? That’s what they already think. You need to teach them the opposite. They need to be a little afraid of what will happen.I'm with you on this one, sister. ...more
4

May 13, 2011

There’s a chapter in this book where Tina Fey is describing the hectic week that culminated with her filming scenes of 30 Rock with Oprah Winfrey, then rushing to get to the Saturday Night Live studio for her debut performance as Sarah Palin all while she was still making last minute arrangements for her daughter’s birthday party. In between takes, Tina was watching You Tube clips of Palin to work on the voice while holding her daughter and Oprah was asking with genuine concern if she’d have There’s a chapter in this book where Tina Fey is describing the hectic week that culminated with her filming scenes of 30 Rock with Oprah Winfrey, then rushing to get to the Saturday Night Live studio for her debut performance as Sarah Palin all while she was still making last minute arrangements for her daughter’s birthday party. In between takes, Tina was watching You Tube clips of Palin to work on the voice while holding her daughter and Oprah was asking with genuine concern if she’d have time to get to SNL and rehearse. As Tina puts it:

“By the way, when Oprah Winfrey is suggesting you may have overextended yourself, you need to examine your fucking life.”

What makes that line extra funny is that while Fey writes about the long hours and stress of doing her TV show and movies, that she went ahead and wrote a book, too. (I think that while she may have had some help that Tina did the heavy lifting here without ghost writers because it’s such a personal story with her style of humor all over it.) The book is called Bossypants because it’s mainly a tongue-in-cheek account of how she became a success and her feelings about her career.

As you’d expect, it’s extremely funny with several laugh out loud lines and stories. My favorite chapter was the description of what it’s really like to be the subject of a professional photo shoot for a magazine and how being pampered by hair and make-up professionals while everyone tells you how great you are makes it a bit disconcerting to go home and cook macaroni for your kid.

Fey has a lot of fun pointing out her own contradictions. She’s a working woman who is irritated by the double standard of being asked about a being a successful boss and mother when no one thinks twice about successful fathers, but she still feels guilty at the time she’s spent working instead of with her daughter. She’s mocks her own appearance relentlessly but is willing to put herself on magazine covers in tight dresses. She considers herself a poor actor yet stars in a TV show. She’s often insecure and shy, but refuses to be pushed around by anyone. It’s all of these elements and her willingness to mine them for laughs that make this such a funny memoir.
...more
5

Apr 09, 2011

Who said women aren't funny? A lot of people, apparently, most of them men. One of these was Christopher Hitchens, the controversial journalist who published an essay in Vanity Fair titled, quite plainly, Why Women Aren't Funny . To this and to the dozen other polemics written about the perceived humor gap between men and women, Tina Fey, in her new book called Bossypants, says, "We don't fucking care if you like it." She adds,
Unless one of these men is my boss, which none of them is, it's Who said women aren't funny? A lot of people, apparently, most of them men. One of these was Christopher Hitchens, the controversial journalist who published an essay in Vanity Fair titled, quite plainly, Why Women Aren't Funny . To this and to the dozen other polemics written about the perceived humor gap between men and women, Tina Fey, in her new book called Bossypants, says, "We don't fucking care if you like it." She adds,
Unless one of these men is my boss, which none of them is, it's irrelevant. My hat goes off to them. It is an impressively arrogant move to conclude that just because you don't like something, it is empirically not good. I don't like Chinese food, but I don't write articles trying to prove it doesn't exist.
Man, this Tina Fey person sure is funny. And she's a woman. And she's sexy. And she's her own boss. She's the creator of 30 Rock, one of the most acclaimed comedy series on television today.

30 Rock is inspired by Fey's experiences working on another comedy show, Saturday Night Live. In Bossypants, Fey relates how she went from being an awkward but intelligent girl in her hometown in Pennsylvania to writing sketches for the aforementioned comedy institution to portraying an awkward but intelligent woman in 30 Rockefeller Center.

Bossypants sustains a deftly calibrated mixture of Fey's signature self-effacing humor and her knack for intelligent storytelling that buoys an otherwise tiresome and self-important account of a celebrity's rise to fame and success. Whether she's recalling the circumstances of her first menstrual discharge ("In the spring of 1981 I achieved menarche while singing Neil Diamond’s 'Song Sung Blue' at a districtwide chorus concert."), narrating the nearly disastrous outcome of her honeymoon aboard a cruise ship (In a nod to the late David Foster Wallace, her fellow New York Times bestselling author, the section detailing the "very Poseidon Adventure" trip with her husband is called My Honeymoon, or A Supposedly Fun Thing I’ll Never Do Again Either.), or sharing tips on how to pose for magazine covers ("When you look into the lens, imagine you are looking at a dear friend, but not a friend who would laugh at you for jutting out your chin while arching your back against a fake wall."), Fey is apt to infuse her writing with adorable wit and a strong sense of understanding.
There are some wonderful Filipinos [in the cruise ship] who fold your towels in the shape of a different animal every night. It might be an elephant wearing your sunglasses, or a duck wearing your sunglasses. It's just fun. Don't overthink it.
Fey hails from a municipality in Delaware County called Upper Darby, where she grew up with her German father, Greek mother, and fellow part-German, part-Greek older brother. There she had her first brush with reality when in kindergarten a boy classmate rudely tore one of her drawings apart. "I didn’t have the language to express my feelings then," the now 40-year old Tina writes, "but my thoughts were something like 'Oh, it’s like that, motherfucker? Got it.'" Fey has since been funneling this incipient plucky attitude into every day of her life.

After studying in University of Virginia (and, among other crazy things, climbing Old Rag Mountain to impress a boy), Fey became part of The Second City, the improvisation and sketch comedy troupe in Chicago whose accomplished alumni include her close friends and SNL co-stars Amy Poehler and Rachel Dratch. The divide between men, who are funny, and women, who are supposedly less funny (if at all, as Hitchens and company would reiterate), was then made only too clear to Fey. The show-runners, she recalls, were hesitant to produce a show with an unprecedented gender-equal cast for fear that "the women wouldn't have any ideas," but in the end they moved forward with the plan. Fey was one of the three funny women in that cast.
My dream for the future is that sketch comedy shows become a gender-blind meritocracy of whoever is really the funniest. You might see four women and two men. You might see five men and a YouTube video of a kitten sneezing. Once we know we're really open to all the options, we can proceed with Whatever's the Funniest… which will probably involve farts.
As with many other luminaries from The Second City, Fey went on to work at SNL, progressively as a writer, a head writer (the first female to hold the position), and a cast member. In 2006 she left the show to develop and run her own, the highly praised but, Fey admits, low-rating 30 Rock. Aside from being its creator she is also one of the show's main actors, playing a considerably fictionalized version of herself. On top of that she is an executive producer of the show, carrying the unofficial title of "boss." Giving credit where credit is due, Fey is not one to pass up any available space between words in her book to point out that much of 30 Rock's relative success is ascribable to her co-star Alec Baldwin and her cadre of comic writers, one of whom came up with this classic line by the character Tracy Jordan, who is of course played by the actor Tracy Morgan: "Stop eating people’s old french fries, little pigeon. Have some self-respect. Don’t you know you can fly?"

Bossypants suggests that at a young age Fey already knew she could fly. It was just a matter of knowing what she wanted, persevering to get it, and maintaining her purchase on it, even as she's being belittled by chauvinistic men and beaten in the ratings game by Two and a Half Men. Fey's most demanding challenge, though, came in the person of Alice, her daughter, to whom the book's unexpectedly emotional antepenultimate section is dedicated. Its title: The Mother's Prayer for Its Daughter.

Fey ends her consistently hilarious, laugh-out-loud (really, it is) memoiristic book pondering the possibility of a second child.
Science shows that fertility and movie offers drop off steeply for women after forty.

I have one top-notch baby with whom I am in love. It's a head-over-heels "first love" kind of thing, because I pay for everything and all we do is hold hands.

When she says, "I wish I had a baby sister," I am stricken with guilt and panic. When she says, "Mommy, I need Aqua Sand," or "I only want to eat gum!" or "Wipe my butt!" I am less affected.
Fey is now five months pregnant.


Originally posted on Fully Booked .Me. ...more
2

Oct 08, 2015

After 5 and half hours listening to this book i'm not even smiling ! i mean YES there was some funny scenes but mostly just some boring and long stories... Meh :3

i LOVE Tina fey, i loved her movies, she's talented woman i just couldn't enjoy her book as much as I hoped I would. it had some funny scenes, but nothing was "laugh out loud funny"



5

Aug 03, 2016

I know it's a total cliché to read a book and say you want to be friends with the author, but I want to be friends with Tina Fey (and I really think it could happen!) The tale of a suburban girl finding her voice and making her way in the still entirely too male world of comedy felt so specific and true...and her stories about her husband and her daughters are total #relationshipgoals.
4

Mar 16, 2014

I listened to this on audiobook, and I'm so glad I did! I can't imagine how much less fun this would have been without Tina's actual voice. (I'm not saying the book was boring, Tina is just perfect and makes everything better always.)
3

Oct 09, 2019

My kids recently read and watched Mean Girls and were laughing throughout. It is a busy time for me so apologies for this abbreviated review. I needed light reading to help me get through this busy month and celebrity memoirs fit the bill nicely. Tina Fey is funny. I knew this from Mean Girls, SNL, and other movie appearances that she’s been in. Her humor is front and center in this memoir. I didn’t get this for depth, I got it for laughs, and laugh I did, something I need to help me through My kids recently read and watched Mean Girls and were laughing throughout. It is a busy time for me so apologies for this abbreviated review. I needed light reading to help me get through this busy month and celebrity memoirs fit the bill nicely. Tina Fey is funny. I knew this from Mean Girls, SNL, and other movie appearances that she’s been in. Her humor is front and center in this memoir. I didn’t get this for depth, I got it for laughs, and laugh I did, something I need to help me through this month. I’ve read enough memoirs across the spectrum to know that they are hit or miss. This one was a hit because it was exactly what I needed right now, and secretly everyone could use some more laughter.

3 stars ...more
4

Apr 07, 2011

Hilarious autobio that touches upon the highs and lows of Tina Fey's life and career.

If you're a fan of her humor, as seen on 30 Rock and SNL, you'll be a fan of Bossypants. It's not an in depth, gut-wrenching tell-all memoir. For instance, she only glosses over the incident when she got the facial scar. But if you're familiar with Fey's brand of humor then the lightheartedness of it shouldn't surprise you. She's the sort of average, nice person that has her own strong opinions, but doesn't Hilarious autobio that touches upon the highs and lows of Tina Fey's life and career.

If you're a fan of her humor, as seen on 30 Rock and SNL, you'll be a fan of Bossypants. It's not an in depth, gut-wrenching tell-all memoir. For instance, she only glosses over the incident when she got the facial scar. But if you're familiar with Fey's brand of humor then the lightheartedness of it shouldn't surprise you. She's the sort of average, nice person that has her own strong opinions, but doesn't think that they always have to be heard at the expense of others. She's more apt to poke fun at herself, dissecting her own issues with razor-sharp wit.

She's very good about never bludgeoning the reader with microscopic analysis. She highlights key life moments, considering them briefly while avoiding ponderous reflections. Some might say the book stays too surface-level. I say going any deeper would not be the point of Bossypants.

Edition Note: I'm reviewing the audiobook and I can't see why anyone would want to enjoy this book any other way. Fey is a great writer, but she's also a really good performer. And here, you get her performing her own material, literally her own life. Her cadence and inflection adds such an important element to Bossypants. If you think you can do better justice to this work with your own reading interpretation, then by all means go for it....Just realize you are wrong. WRONG!!! Stop being a conceited dickhole. ...more
2

Dec 23, 2016

I've said it before and I'll say it again: Bryan Cranston and Shonda Rhimes have the best celebrity memoirs out there. They're the exception.
'Bossypants'- not my cup of tea. Oh, and parts of it were flat out racist.
I'm beginning to think two stars is a tad generous.
Maybe celebrity memoirs just aren't for me. I don't find them appealing, entertaining or really funny (as some claim to be).

Up next: Aziz Ansari's 'Modern Romance.'
(What?! I didn't say I was gonna stop reading celebrity books)
3

Aug 10, 2011

So yeah, I was a Tina Fey virgin. Her name meant nothing to me until this book came out. [Insert gasp of incredulity.] People say, "You know, Saturday Night Live?" To which I say, "You know, no telly in my domicile?"
No, I don't really live under a rock. I just tune out nonessential information.
Anyway, I like Tina because she's funny in the way I would be funny if I were actually capable of being funny on a regular basis.

I listened to the audio book, which is really the only way to go with this So yeah, I was a Tina Fey virgin. Her name meant nothing to me until this book came out. [Insert gasp of incredulity.] People say, "You know, Saturday Night Live?" To which I say, "You know, no telly in my domicile?"
No, I don't really live under a rock. I just tune out nonessential information.
Anyway, I like Tina because she's funny in the way I would be funny if I were actually capable of being funny on a regular basis.

I listened to the audio book, which is really the only way to go with this one, because face it, delivery is everything. Had I attempted the print version, I probably would have dropped it early on.
I didn't love it. Parts of it are just so-so. But I did enjoy some parts an awful lot, to the point of hysterical belly laughs.

There's a line from a song in A Chorus Line that says, "Those stage and movie people got there because they're special." If Tina Fey and her pals are any measure, those stage and movie people got there because they're NUCKING FUTZ!

Oh, and also? Tina Fey is the only person I know of who has used the words "cavernous vagina" in a sentence. Wish I'd thought of that one first.
[Let the foregoing example serve as fair warning to sensitive readers. Fey is not suitable for the easily offended.]

And by the way, when I first saw the cover of this book, I thought it was called BossyPARTS. Left me wondering which of Tina's parts were the bossy ones. ...more
4

May 14, 2011

I figured I would feel exactly about this book as I do about Tina Fey. 90% of the time, I think she's hilarious and smart and I want to be friends with her and I wish I'd thought to say what she said. The other 10% I'd like to tell her (because I'm friends with her) that something she just said was beneath her and I wish she hadn't said it. I was right - that's exactly how this book was. I loved it and I loved her, and I marked something about every other page that I wanted to quote or refer to. I figured I would feel exactly about this book as I do about Tina Fey. 90% of the time, I think she's hilarious and smart and I want to be friends with her and I wish I'd thought to say what she said. The other 10% I'd like to tell her (because I'm friends with her) that something she just said was beneath her and I wish she hadn't said it. I was right - that's exactly how this book was. I loved it and I loved her, and I marked something about every other page that I wanted to quote or refer to. Now I have to figure out which I'll use for my review :)

You know the expression "the most serious things are said in jest"? Well, even in her introduction I found what I believe to be a Truth. She's saying who the book is for and what the reader will find in it: "Perhaps you're a parent and you bought this book to learn how to raise an achievement-oriented, drug-free, adult virgin. You'll find that, too. The essential ingredients, I can tell you up front, are a strong father figure, bad skin, and a child-sized colonial-lady outfit."

She's not so far off. A strong father figure is a big deal.

There are several things in this book that make me think Tina and I are soul sisters. Or at least, that we think the exact same things. After describing how her mother handled talking to her about reproduction and menstruation (about the same way as my mom; she didn't), she says about a pamphlet, "The explanatory text was followed by a lot of drawings of the human reproductive system that my brain refused to memorize. (To this day, all I know is there are between two and four openings down there and that the setup inside looks vaguely like the Texas Longhorns logo.)"

Her descriptions of women -- blonde and otherwise -- are brilliant. After an updated list of How Women Should Be (based on Beyonce and JLo), she says, "The person closest to actually achieving this look is Kim Kardashian, who, as we know, was made by Russian scientists to sabotage our athletes. Everyone else is struggling."

As someone who spends a lot of time with gay people (hello, she's in show business), her gay-related stories are sprinkled throughout the book, and ... I like them. One of her best though is close to the beginning of the book: "I guess I should also state that Karen and Sharon never hit on me in the slightest and it was never weird between any of us. Gay people don't actually try to convert people. That's Jehovah's Witnesses you're thinking of. ... If you could turn gay from being around gay people, wouldn't Kathy Griffin be Rosie O'Donnell by now?" Seriously, I wish some of my ultra-conservative friends could grasp that part. *sigh*

And in her description of her favorite "summer camp", she makes a (perhaps unintentionally) poignant statement: "With his dream of a theater program for young people, Larry Wentzler had inadvertently done an amazing thing for all these squirrels. They had a place where they belonged, and, even if it was because he didn't want to deal with their being different, he didn't treat them any differently. Which I think is a pretty successful implementation of Christianity." *another sigh*

And then I like the fact that her dad is very similar to my dad. I not only like some of her descriptions of "Don Fey", but the point she makes about him when others meet him:My dad has visited me at work over the years, and I've noticed that powerful men react to him in a weird way. They "stand down." The first time Lorne Michaels met my dad, he said afterward, "Your father is ... impressive." They meet Don Fey and it rearranges something in their brain about me. Alec Baldwin took a long look at him and gave him a firm handshake. "This is your dad, huh?" What are they realizing? I wonder. That they'd better never mess with me, or Don Fey will yell at them? That I have high expectations for the men in my life because I have a strong father figure? [me: THAT!]

Only Colin Quinn was direct about it. "Your father doesn't fucking play games. You would never come home with a shamrock tattoo in that house."

That's Don Fey.

I have tons more things marked -- tons, including this: "You have to remember that actors are human beings. Which is hard sometimes because they look so much better than human beings."

... but I don't have time to quote anything else because this book is due at the library today and there are holds on it so I can't renew it. You'll just have to read it yourself. Really, you should. ...more
4

Apr 25, 2011

Listening to Tina Fey perform this book was much more enjoyable than reading it in print. I first read this back in 2011, and I liked it OK, but after hearing a friend rave about how much fun the audio was, I decided to give the CD a chance.

It was hilarious! Some mornings I was laughing so hard while driving to work that other drivers would stare at me. Tina Fey performs different voices and really sells the stories. One of my favorite chapters was about her father, Don Fey: "He's just a badass. Listening to Tina Fey perform this book was much more enjoyable than reading it in print. I first read this back in 2011, and I liked it OK, but after hearing a friend rave about how much fun the audio was, I decided to give the CD a chance.

It was hilarious! Some mornings I was laughing so hard while driving to work that other drivers would stare at me. Tina Fey performs different voices and really sells the stories. One of my favorite chapters was about her father, Don Fey: "He's just a badass. He was a code breaker in Korea. He was a fireman in Philadelphia. He's a skilled watercolorist. He's written two mystery novels. He taught himself Greek so well that when he went to buy tickets to the Acropolis once, the docent told him, 'It's free for Greek citizens.'"

The story that had me guffawing to the point of being noticed by other motorists was about a weekend when Don Fey decided to rent a rug shampooer, but the machine seemed to be defective: "'Defective' was a big word in our house. Many things were labeled 'defective' only to miraculously turn functional once the directions had been read more thoroughly. If I had to name the two words I most associate with my dad between 1970 and 1990, they would be 'defective' and 'inexcusable.' Leaving your baseball glove in a neighbor's car? Inexcusable. Not knowing that 'a lot' was two words? Inexcusable. The seltzer machine that we were going to use to make homemade soda? Defective. The misspelled sign at the Beach Boys Fourth of July concert that read 'From Sea to Shinning Sea'? Inexcusable. Richie Ashburn not being in the baseball hall of fame yet? Bullshit. (Don Fey had a large rubber stamp that said 'bullshit,' which was and is awesome)."

The stories about her dad were part of Tina's larger narrative about how to raise an "achievement-oriented, obedient, drug-free, virgin adult." She lists Calamity, Praise, Local Theater, flat fleet, and Strong Father Figure/Fear Thereof. Tina also had great stories about her youthful adventures in a summer theater program, her experience with the Second City improv group in Chicago, and how she got her start on Saturday Night Live.

Tina is good at making fun of herself and her accidental celebrity status. There is an interesting chapter about the 2008 presidential election, when she famously portrayed Sarah Palin on several SNL sketches. Meanwhile, she was busy working on her show 30 Rock, and there was one particularly hectic week that Oprah Winfrey was going to appear on 30 Rock, which was the same day of Tina's first Palin skit.

"Saturday, September 13, I got up at 6 a.m. and filmed my scenes with Oprah at Silvercup Studios in Queens. She was great. She really does smell nice. And I got to hug her a lot in the scenes ... Between setups I sat with my daughter on my lap and watched Governor Palin on YouTube and tried to improve my accent. Oprah seemed genuinely concerned for me. 'How much rehearsal time are you going to get?' 'Do you have tapes of her to listen to?' 'You're going there right after this?!' (By the way, when Oprah Winfrey is suggesting you may have overextended yourself, you need to examine your fucking life.)"

Another favorite section of the book is when Tina shares her theory that the Rules of Improvisation can change your life. Put simply, the rules are that you should agree with your partner, and then build on it. This is known as YES, AND. "In real life you're not always going to agree with everything everyone says. But the Rule of Agreement reminds you to 'respect what your partner has created' and to at least start from an open-minded place. Start with a YES and see where that takes you... To me, YES, AND means don't be afraid to contribute. It's your responsibility to contribute. Always make sure you're adding something to the discussion."

Speaking of good discussions, I liked how Tina addressed the issue of women in comedy, and how she has dealt with various forms of sexism and ignorance in her career. She talked about how much things have changed since she first started at Second City and SNL, in that more women are getting roles on comedy shows.

One chapter that dragged was about her sitcom 30 Rock. Tina talks about her favorite jokes and episodes, and I think it would be boring for a reader who has never seen the show. The chapter was even boring for me, and I watched several seasons of 30 Rock.

But overall, this was a very enjoyable book to listen to. It is rare for me to recommend listening to a book rather than reading it, but in this case, I think the performance is better than the print.


First read April 2011
Second read May 2014 ...more
5

Oct 18, 2018

4.5 stars

I know I am seven years late to this party, but damn was this funny and on point. Ah the things Tina didn't know when she wrote this and yet she still brought up - the #MeToo movement that hadn't arrived yet, Hilary Clinton running for President again, hell there's even a Trump reference in this book! But ignoring all of those yet-to-happen things that she still somehow managed to allude to like some kind of weird comedic prophet, this book was downright funny and relatable. Well, as 4.5 stars

I know I am seven years late to this party, but damn was this funny and on point. Ah the things Tina didn't know when she wrote this and yet she still brought up - the #MeToo movement that hadn't arrived yet, Hilary Clinton running for President again, hell there's even a Trump reference in this book! But ignoring all of those yet-to-happen things that she still somehow managed to allude to like some kind of weird comedic prophet, this book was downright funny and relatable. Well, as relatable as someone who is on tv can be anyways. If you haven't listened to this (and YES you should definitely LISTEN to it), you are missing out. So get on this boat, it still hasn't left yet - it very much is still applicable to today, and is still quite fun. ...more
3

Feb 07, 2011

I love Tina Fey. But I loved her more before I read this book. Now I know she's human and capable of disappointing me. This moment was inevitable. But still a little sad.

That said, there were portions of this book that killed me. Her "Origin Story" was hilarious, especially the talk about her scar and people’s reactions to it. Also, she is a genius when it comes to discussing everyday gender fuckery. I loved her whole take on menstruation and how she thought period blood would be blue because of I love Tina Fey. But I loved her more before I read this book. Now I know she's human and capable of disappointing me. This moment was inevitable. But still a little sad.

That said, there were portions of this book that killed me. Her "Origin Story" was hilarious, especially the talk about her scar and people’s reactions to it. Also, she is a genius when it comes to discussing everyday gender fuckery. I loved her whole take on menstruation and how she thought period blood would be blue because of how it's depicted in commercials. I loved her use of the term “car creepery," which refers to guys who sexually harass girls on the sidewalk from the safety of their cars. I love that she yelled “Suck my dick!” to some random car creeper when she was thirteen. Tina Fey, you are my hero. In so many ways.

I loved the list of things that can be "wrong" with a woman’s body (fupa, cankles, muffin top, crotch biscuits), her "Remembrances of Being Very Very Skinny," and "Remembrances of Being a Little Bit Fat." I almost wish she had written an entire book about her feministy thoughts. She nails that stuff, like when she insists on calling blonde hair “yellow” when reading stories to her daughter because why should yellow hair get a special term when brown hair doesn't?

Here’s what I didn’t like - too many of her stories were boring or told from a boring angle or felt like they were included for obligatory reasons (at best) or just to take up space (at worst). The Sarah Palin discussion seemed to go on forever and didn't really tell me anything new. Most of the 30 Rock stuff was pretty dull (aside from the MVP jokes). She probably just needed a better editor. With several big chops and some precision cutting, this could have been a masterpiece.
...more
3

May 16, 2012

I was expecting more funny.

Having read a small portion of this book online (A Mother's Prayer) and having found that very entertaining, I had high hopes for this book. And I should say, it's not a bad read. It's just not that funny. I laughed out loud maybe once, and smiled a few times more. Most of the jokes fell under the category of fairly amusing. Maybe as a script, it'd be great.

Note: The rest of this review has been withdrawn due to the recent changes in Goodreads policy and enforcement. I was expecting more funny.

Having read a small portion of this book online (A Mother's Prayer) and having found that very entertaining, I had high hopes for this book. And I should say, it's not a bad read. It's just not that funny. I laughed out loud maybe once, and smiled a few times more. Most of the jokes fell under the category of fairly amusing. Maybe as a script, it'd be great.

Note: The rest of this review has been withdrawn due to the recent changes in Goodreads policy and enforcement. You can read why I came to this decision here.

In the meantime, you can read the entire review at Smorgasbook ...more
5

Jan 13, 2019

I wish that Tina Fey was my best friend. By the first paragraph I was laughing and in tears the next. She has her own way of bringing to light so many issues that women face daily, and her hard ass approach to deal with them was a breath of fresh air. As a career minded woman, I appreciated so much of what she had to say, and her comical writing made it even better. As a writer, I enjoyed her description and loved that she read her own audiobook. Thanks Tina for the advice and knowledge for all I wish that Tina Fey was my best friend. By the first paragraph I was laughing and in tears the next. She has her own way of bringing to light so many issues that women face daily, and her hard ass approach to deal with them was a breath of fresh air. As a career minded woman, I appreciated so much of what she had to say, and her comical writing made it even better. As a writer, I enjoyed her description and loved that she read her own audiobook. Thanks Tina for the advice and knowledge for all us working mothers! ...more

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