Books are the twice-removed, forgotten step child of the media elite. We all anticipate the newest music, movies, video games and TV shows but it’s only every couple of months we shake the pennies out of our wallets or respective purses to go and buy that book we’ve waited for forever. 2-3 years ago it was announced Tina Fey was given a book deal and was going to be coming out with her own book of short essays. I shit myself upon reading the news. Tina Fey, for me, joins the likes of Robin Williams, Billy Crystal, Jim Carrey and Whoopi Goldberg as my comedy icons (I am in no way involved with comedy, and my friends constantly tell me i’m not funny so that’s just a heads up) and my level of respect for her and everything she has done is very large.
Bossypants finally was released and I read this book like I eat cheesecake, in a short-time span but in big pieces. Bossypants is indeed a collection of short essays written entirely by Tina Fey. Tina Fey is an actual writer, unlike Kate Gosselin or Tori Spelling and her fucked up tits. She wrote for SNL prior to her acting on SNL so this book is the real deal. She owns the copyright, it’s all her.
Words are sometimes forgotten as a means to make people laugh. Movies and TV shows, stand up comics and routines always make us laugh but there is something in the way that words can be read that cause me to get the “church laughs” well into the middle of the night. The book begins with the introduction but right before that there is a picture of Fey dressed up for Halloween as a kid, as this really awful looking witch. The perplexed and unamused look on her face had me laughing already. This was foreshadowing to come.
We have the introduction which is typical Tina all the way and then the first chapter entitled, “Origin Story” (which is a genius title). The chapter surrounds Fey in kindergarden and it’s brief but so funny. Then we get right into the book with the second chapter called “Growing Up And Liking it”. In this chapter Tina talks about the time her mother gave her a period box which inside included “helpful-not-helpful tips” on dealing with your period. At one point she refers to it as “Aunt Blood” and I lost myself for a good 10 minutes. This is the most memorable and, in terms of laughs, funniest chapter of the book. It sticks with you in the back of your head, like a strong opening to SNL.
The book is filled with great sayings or quotes like that:
“When Oprah Winfrey is telling you that you are maybe overextending yourself, you need to readjust your fucking life”
“I was just hoping that if we were going to die on this boat that we would die like the old couple in Titanic; being covered in ice cold water while deep into a nap”
I’m too busy to go through the entire book again and this is just a reminder I should be into highlighting things more, but those are JUST a taste of the fun. The chapters go on to relive moments like her time with the gays and lesbians at Summer Camp. Her experience on a boat cruise which is hysterical. Her tips on how to go through a photo shoot. Her “responding to correspondence” chapter where she responds to remarks about her on the internet. An open love letter to her best friend Amy Phoeler. So on and such with…
Outside of simple chapters like that, Tina goes in depth sharing her life. My favorite chapter of the entire book is of course the one she dedicated to SNL. She talks about the beginning, the middle, the Palin, and the end of it and then the beginning of 30 rock. It has stuff i’ve heard before and stuff I never knew and it’s so well written, so insightful and just so readable which is what the purpose should be. There is a chapter dedicated to her father Don Fey which is really just an open love letter to him which is not funny but immensely sweet. In relation to that chapter, she also writes an open “prayer” for her Daughter which just the idea to me makes me role my eyes but Tina being exceptionally skilled in saying the right thing all the time, handles it so well that it makes you “get it”.
Tina’s writing is Tina Fey through and through. Read it with her voice in your head and it sounds like her. It drips with film, music, social media, pop culture and television references. It’s also fried in sarcasm which of course is typical Tina. The book can be summed up by it’s two attributes, and they are the reason why I admire her quite a bit. She includes so many pictures of her as a child. Be forewarned: they are not glamor shots. Much like the cover and everything else she strives for in her career, they go for the funny. Tina does not care about selling this book based on her beauty. It’s not #1 on Amazon and it has not been well received by all critics because the cover is overly photoshopped or she’s showing her tits. The second thing is the back of the book which is filled with praise for the book. She could have gone the route of putting a quote or two of the book being raved but why? Why do that when she can quote this:
“You’d be really pretty if you lost weight” – College Boyfriend, 1998
“TIna fey is an ugly, pear shaped, overrated troll.” – The Internet
“Totally worth it” – Trees.
THAT is why I love her. She is the thesis of self-deprecating and the antithesis of everything that is wrong with the world. There are a lot of feminist and Liberal stances she takes in the book but they are never too obvious or overbearing. Tina Fey wrote a hysterical, timeless, sweet and honest book about everything. This book has been described as a GREAT episode of SNL. One or two skits that aren’t hysterical but everything else is right on pitch and a classic. I have it beside me for reference and I am trying to resist not re-reading the chapter about the period box. Read this book.