Tina Fey’s autobiography Bossypants is a very self-deprecating extremely funny book. What sets Bossypants apart from other autobiographies is the humour and what sets it apart from other comic autobiographies is the writing. Bossypants isn’t just full of comedy it’s also very well written.
If you don’t know her….
Tina Fey is an American writer who worked on Saturday Night Live becoming the first female head writer in the late 90s. She wrote the screenplay for Mean Girls and played Math teacher Ms Norbury in the movie. Two years later she created the award winning show 30 Rock starring herself and Alec Baldwin and appeared alongside Steve Carell as one half of an ordinary, and somewhat bored, married couple in the hit comedy Date Night.
Bossypants begins with Fey’s childhood, growing up in Pennsylvania during the 70s when a “white denim suit” was deemed “kickass” and Prell shampoo was yesterday’s Herbal Essence, “everybody knew Prell was the best shampoo because you could also use it to clean a frying pan.”
Fey addresses the downs of life but always with an upbeat voice. She doesn’t allow emotive situations, like teenage rejection and breaking up with her first boyfriend, to sink the writing into pathos or self-pity. Instead she makes fun of these situations, including herself.
Sometimes the level of self-deprecation in the book surprises you, but never bores you. In Bossypants modesty is an understatement. Fey, with all her accomplishments: a successful TV show (30 Rock) and her earned acceptance in the comedy world, is herself the butt of the joke in an autobiography full of sarcastic lines and funny observations. Fey undersells herself so much you almost feel bad for laughing, but after you have laughed with her about her “shark eyes” or “oversized T-shirts, bike shorts, and wrestling shoes” she hits you with a concluding “who cares?” It’s clear her self-esteem doesn’t suffer at the expense of humour – it revels in it– it grows from it.
Bossypants is a positive book and the type of book you could reread and still laugh freshly at, in fact, college, career and everyday life have never seemed funnier!