“Do your thing and don’t care if they like it.” ~~ Tina Fey, Bossy Pants
From Lauren’s Perspective:
I read Tina Fey’s biography about a month ago and wasn’t going to write a review on it because, well, it’s a biography. I find those very hard to review (see: Let’s Pretend this Never Happened review). Reviews on biographies apparently result in me rambling on about how I do or do not relate to the person I’m reading about because I can’t critique the characters, there is no plot to like or dislike, and the writing is much different then that of a fiction book. Really, what it comes down to, I just feel weird about critiquing somebody’s life.
However, here we are again, as me and Krista have decided to review another biography for no other reason then that we both enjoyed it immenslely. Tina Fey is hilarious, witty, well-spoken, and the sort of female role-model a pseudo-feminist like myself is always looking for.
Bossypants takes us through Tina Fey’s life from birth to present (or 2010 as that’s when the book was released), and focuses on her time at Saturday Night Live and 30 Rock. It shows us a small town girl who made her way to fame and, more importantly, a position of power; and how she has handled all the responsibility. Fey writes hilarious anecdotes about her life that are coupled with words of wisdom to women everywhere.
Here are a few of my favourite quotes, to give you a taste of her writing style:
- “If you retain nothing else, always remember the most important rule of beauty, which is: who cares?”
- “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.”
- “Gay people don’t actually try to convert people. That’s Jehovah’s Witnesses you’re thinking of.”
- “You could put a blond wig on a hot-water heater and some dude would try to fuck it.”
- “My ability to turn good news into anxiety is rivaled only by my ability to turn anxiety into chin acne.”
- “I feel about Photoshop the way some people feel about abortion. It is appalling and a tragic reflection on the moral decay of our society…unless I need it, in which case, everybody be cool.”
- “You can’t be that kid standing at the top of the waterslide, overthinking it. You have to go down the chute.”
As you can see, she mixes real life wisdom with her trademark humour. She’s funny yes, but on top of that she is clearly intelligent, and that makes her book definitely one worth reading.
And while this book is more directed towards women and their struggle to get ahead in a male dominated world, I think men should pick up this book as well. They can learn just as much about being in a position of power, about being a boss, and take away some hilarious woman related but man friendly humour as well.
Overall, I recommend this book wholeheartedly. Although I don’t always read a lot of biographies, usually preferring fiction, I find that when I do take the time to read a biography, I’m not usually disappointed. And Tina Fey will not disappoint.
Overall Rating: 17/20
From Krista’s Perspective:
Oh, should I say more than that? I thought a one-word description would cover the hilarity of this book, but I will go on. Bossypants was not only hilarious and actually laugh-out-loud worthy but it provided me with an entirely new “reading” experience. I say “reading” because this was my first audio book experience and it was pretty different. My fiance’s brother lent me his copy of the audio book and I truly enjoyed turning it on and listening during my long two-hour drive to and from Valdosta when I go to their place on the weekends. I have never particularly been interested in an audio book because I prefer to have the words in front of me to focus on, but because this was hilarious snippets of her life in biography form it was an easy and enjoyable listen compared to attempting to listen to entire novel.
Tina Fey is a perfect role model for women everywhere. We are in a time where weak pitiful female characters like Bella from Twilight and Ana from Fifty Shades of Grey are celebrated. But once in awhile a strong character like Katniss from Hunger Games and Tina Fey come marching on the scene and show us that women do not need to be meek pushovers. Tina Fey uses her great sense of humor to bring hilarity to the mundane, the pains of growing up, and the reality of working in a man’s world. She pokes fun at herself when she sarcastically describes how looking good is of the utmost importance to her and mockingly points out the “necessary” physical traits women must have to be beautiful. She shares stories from her childhood, her college years where a fanny pack was her coolest posession, then moves on to her marriage and her career with Saturday Night Live and the transition to 30 Rock. She also uses this book to share her “wisdom” with her readers of how to maintain a beauty regimen, how to raise a child, and how to become the boss. Tina Fey covers this broad spectrum of topics with ease and in a relaxed, comfortable,sarcastic, and hilarious way. I promise you won’t be able to help laughing out loud and making drivers around you stare at you like a crazy person; I speak from personal experience.
It is hard to choose which part of the book I liked the best, but the description of her disastrous honeymoon complete with the almost sinking of their cruiseship, the story of her first period (sorry men!) and her confusion over why it wasn’t blue liquid like all the commericals promised it would be, and the way she gracefully ruined parties as a teenager when her curfew was fast approaching are among the top three. I also really enjoyed how she explained the reality of working in the entertainment industry by saying things like: “The show doesn’t go on because it’s ready; it goes on because it’s 11:30” and “You have to remember that actors are human beings. Which is hard sometimes because they look so much better than human beings.” No matter the topic, whether serious or trivial, whether it be how to survive as the boss or how to deal with body hair, Tina Fey discusses it with a casually hilarious ease.
The greatest thing about the book, which a lot of women will relate to, is the reoccuring topic of women’s bodies, health, and beauty. Tina Fey shares many hilarious antecdotes about how bad she dresses, how little she likes makeup, her terrible haircuts, and the photoshop debate, but most important is her focus on body image. She talks about her confusion of big or small hips by saying: “I didn’t know hips could be a problem. I thought there was just fat or skinny. This was how I found out that there are an infinite number of things that can be “incorrect” on a woman’s body.” She never fully comes out and confronts the issue of body dismorphia being severely influenced by the media, but she does try to inspire women to be content with the bodies they have.
Whether you pick up a copy of her book or download the audio book, prepare to laugh. As Lauren mentioned, we don’t read a ton of biographies but we ironically both happened to get our hands on this book without a word to each other. And I am glad we did. I highly recommend it to anyone looking for a laugh, for advice, or just to see how the mundane activities of life can become hilarious. I’ll close with this quote because I think it accurately describes how the majority of women feel who can’t seem to keep up with the constantly changing definition of beauty. Tina Fey has succesfully put into words the frustration all women feel!
“And from that day forward, women embraced their diversity and realized that all shapes and sizes are beautiful. Ah haha. No. I’m totally messing with you. All Beyonce and JLo have done is add to the laundry list of attributes women must have to qualify as beautiful. Now every girl is expected to have: caucasian blue eyes, full Spanish lips, a classic button nose, hairless Asian skin with a California tan, a Jamaican dance hall ass, long Swedish legs, small Japanese feet, the abs of a lesbian gym owner, the hips of a nine-year-old boy, the arms of Michelle Obama, and doll tits.
The person closest to actually achieving this look is Kim Kardashian, who, as we know, was made by Russian scientists to sabotage our athletes.”
Overall Rating: 18/20