Tuesday, April 26, 2011

"Bossypants" by Tina Fey

Summary: Fey's humorous look at her career and reflections on life.

Musings: I'm a big fan of 30 Rock and was eager to read Fey's new book.  In some ways I think I expected Fey to be much like her 30 Rock fictional character Liz Lemon: talented but neurotic and self-deprecating; kind of a mess.  And though Fey would probably claim to be neurotic at times, the image I got of her from Bossypants is undeniably one of someone skilled, accomplished, and self-assured.  I'd thought she'd be someone I'd want to buddy-up to, but truthfully, I don't think we'd be friends (and that's no criticism to her at all).  She seems like someone who respects skill and work but doesn't take crap.  I just can't imagine her shooting the shit.

Bossypants is also more toned down that the absurdity of 30 Rock, which I think is what makes her seem real and truthful.  She's candid (but only about what she wants to be) and she throws in silly lines, but she's also very sincere about her work and beliefs.

My favorite parts of the book were about her work on SNL and 30 Rock, though I think her reflections on motherhood and judgments that come along with it were spot on.  As Fey points out, only in comedy does a white girl from the suburbs count as diversity, and because of her success as a woman she has to face tons of stupid questions of "what it's like?" and "how does she do it?"  In these moments I loved her feminist attitude--she's smart but not tee-totaling, and her main concern is doing what she wants to do.  Here's from the opening of the book:
Ever since I became an executive producer of 30 Rock, people have asked me, "Is it hard for you, being the boss?" and "Is it uncomfortable for you to be the person in charge?" You know, in that same way they say, "Gosh, Mr. Trump, is it awkward for you to be the boss of all these people?" I can't answer for Mr. Trump, but in my case it is not. I've learned a lot over the past ten years about what is means to be the boss of people. In most cases being a good boss means hiring talented people and then getting out of their way. (5)
Bossypants ended up being exactly what I wanted--something funny, witty, and smart.

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