Bossypants by Tina Fey

I really don’t read many biography/memoir type novels.  Most often I prefer getting lost in a fictional story than reading about some stranger’s life and opinions – no matter how famous they are.  When I saw that Tina Fey had written her own version of these types of books, I decided to give it a read – or rather, listen.  So I downloaded Bossypants from Audible.com a couple of weeks ago and spent a few evenings getting through the audio book.

Most of you, I’m sure, are familiar with Tina Fey.  She’s a comedic writer, improv artist, and actress.  She toured with Second City in Chicago, wrote and acted on Saturday Night Live, and has had her biggest success with her show 30 Rock which has won one million awards.

If you want to truly experience Bossypants, I highly recommend the audio version as read by Tina Fey.  Comedy is so often about delivery and intonation that hearing her read her own words the way she meant them to be read is invaluable – totally the icing on the cake.  Plus, she includes a pdf with all the pictorial evidence she included in the book, so you won’t miss anything!

Bossypants is by no means a literary masterpiece or the gritty story of some poor lost soul overcoming all the odds to become the most successful person in the world ever.  Instead, Tina’s story is about a young, middle class, ugly duckling, smart, funny girl growing up and going after her dreams of being somebody in the world of comedy.  She shares vignettes from her life that have remained with her and left a lasting impression.  Sometimes these little slices of her life can make the novel feel a bit disjointed or lacking a certain narrative flow – but for Tina Fey, a comedy sketch writer, this style makes total sense.

I found myself smiling a lot and laughing out loud a few times – so it wasn’t quite as funny as I had imagined.  Her fears of being too old to be a mom or not even necessarily wanting another child were great to read as well as the insight into her Sarah Palin impersonations.  You’ll hear her discuss what being a woman amongst men has been like for her and the lessons these experiences have taught her – as well as what it’s like to be a normal, geeky girl in a world of ultra-feminine glamour Hollywood types.

To sum up, Bossypants succeeds as an easy, entertaining listen (very short at 5.5 hours) as long as you don’t expect too much.  A very pleasant way to settle down in the evenings after a stressful day and if you’ve never watched 30 Rock, you’ll probably find yourself Netflixing the first season before the audio book is over (totally did this).  I think reading this book before you’ve watched the show adds to the watching experience as you notice just how much Tina Fey has modeled Liz Lemon after herself (which the tv execs told her to do!).

I’m really enjoying my audio book journey (Bossypants was only my second audio EVER).  Sometimes I still find myself falling asleep to the soothing sounds and cadences of the narrator’s voice, but overall I’m excited to continue exploring.  I’m currently listening to Clockwork Angel by Cassandra Clare as read by Jennifer Ehle and loving it!