Bossypants is the first ever book I heard instead of read. It introduced me to the phenomena that is audio-books, and I am totally addicted now!
It helped that this book was pretty darn awesome, but I had found a way to “read” when I normally couldn’t (while cooking/cleaning/driving) and I was overjoyed about the possibilities!
Coming to the book – Bossypants is a deftly calibrated mixture of Fey’s signature self-effacing humour and her knack for intelligent story-telling, that transforms an otherwise tiresome and self-important account of a celebrity’s rise to fame and success, into something that is hilarious and inspiring at the same time.
Before I get into the nitty gritty – I must mention that I believe that my enjoyment of this book was heavily influenced by the format. I am sure I would have liked to read it too, but I LOVED listening to Tina Fey telling her own story, in her own voice (well duh..but you get what I mean).
Which is why, I highly recommend this book in the audio format (even if you are new to it). In-fact, this is a great starter book if you are new to the format.
*I have planned a mini-series all about audio-books for people new to the format – I will try and get it up as soon as I can.*
A disclaimer before I begin – I like Tina Fey – a lot. So I did not go into this blind (far from it!). I knew who she was, and I had seen (and enjoyed) 30 Rock. It is with this background that I dived into her memoir.
Typically, I start with what I loved about a book, but not today. I am going to mention the one gripe I have with the book. Mostly because, it’s related to the #1 question people ask me about this book.
Can I read this book if I have never seen any of Tina Fey’s work? Will I still enjoy it?
The answer – Yes, you can. And yes, it’s still enjoyable (in my partially biased opinion) 😛
Though I must say that there are many references to her work – to Saturday Night Live (SNL) (which I haven’t seen) and 30 rock (which I have), and these can be hard to follow for the uninitiated. There were parts of the SNL thing that I just did not understand, and I felt like a complete outsider.
I don’t even know where to begin with this, because there is SO much I love about the book. And there are so many reasons I connect with the person behind the book.
But most importantly – Tina Fey’s words and form of expression resonate with my deepest thoughts (the profound and silly ones, alike) –
My ability to turn good news into anxiety is rivaled only by my ability to turn anxiety into chin acne.
Some people say – never let them see you cry. I say – if you are so mad you could just cry,
then cry.. it terrifies everyone.
This is what I tell young women who ask me for career advice. People are going to try to trick you. To make you feel that you are in competition with one another. “You’re up for a promotion. If they go for a woman, it’ll be between you and Barbara.” Don’t be fooled. You’re not in competition with other women. You’re in competition with everyone.
It’s a great lesson about not being too precious about your writing. You have to try your hardest to be at the top of your game and improve every joke you can until the last possible second, and then you have to let it go. You can’t be that kid standing at the top of the waterslide, overthinking it…You have to let people see what you wrote.
The show doesn’t go on because it’s ready; it goes on because it’s 11:30.
If you retain nothing else, always remember the most important rule of beauty, which is: who cares?
And then there was her response, when people asked her why this book was named Bossypants…
Ever since I became the executive producer of 30 rock, people have asked me – is it hard for you being the boss? Is it uncomfortable for you to be the person in charge?
You know – in the 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.
But these life altering (?!) quotes are only part of the reason this book earned the glorious 5 shining stars.
The section that touched my heart, and won me over – totally and completely – was the penultimate segment of the book- The Mother’s Prayer For Its Daughter (not a typo).
I am sharing a small snippet here –
First, Lord: No tattoos. May neither Chinese symbol for truth nor Winnie-the-Pooh holding the FSU logo, stain her tender haunches.
May she be Beautiful but not Damaged, for it’s the Damage that draws the creepy soccer coach’s eye, not the Beauty.
Lead her away from Acting, but not all the way to Finance. Something where she can make her own hours but still feel intellectually fulfilled and get outside sometimes. And not have to wear high heels.
What would that be, Lord? Architecture? Midwifery? Golf course design? I’m asking You, because if I knew, I’d be doing it, Dammit.
And when she one day turns on me and calls me a Bitch in front of Hollister – Give me the strength, Lord, to yank her directly into a cab in front of her friends – For I will not have that Shit. I will not have it.
And should she choose to be a Mother one day, be my eyes, Lord, that I may see her, lying on a blanket on the floor at 4:50 A.M., all-at-once exhausted, bored, and in love with the little creature whose poop is leaking up its back.
My mother did this for me once, she will realize as she cleans feces off her baby’s neck. My mother did this for me. And the delayed gratitude will wash over her as it does each generation and she will make a Mental Note to call me. And she will forget. But I’ll know, because I peeped it with Your God eyes.
This. It left me speechless (hence the direct quotes that I rarely do). This is the reason why Tina Fey has my adoration. She (seemingly effortlessly) does what so few can, which is write something that is so beautifully poetic and LOL funny at the same time.
Overall: It began well and ended well. In the middle, there were references that I did not get. But I can hardly hold that against her, because, I am sure that Tina Fey can read the dictionary, and I will still find it interesting enough to listen.
Rating: 5 stars
Have you guys read the book? Or rather heard it? Have you tried audio-books at all? How did you get into the format? I would love to hear from you guys! Do share!
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