Bossypants – Tina Fey

Posted 16 February, 2012 by Trish in Reading Nook, Review / 28 Comments

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Title: Bossypants

Author/Narrator: Tina Fey
Published: 2011 Pages: 277
Audio Duration: 5 hrs, 32 mins
Genre: Memoir
Rating: 4.5/5

Why I listened (aka Mindless Rambling): When Scott and I started watching The Office a few years ago, we would always see the first three minutes of 30 Rock before our DVR cut out. I loved those three minutes and every single time without fail I would tell Scott “Oooooh, I wish I watched that show.” It got to be a big joke between us but I never wanted to pick up the show without starting from the beginning.
During my first few weeks of motherhood when it felt like I was literally nursing around the clock, Scott and I splurged and bought all of the 30 Rock seasons on Apple TV. At 22 minutes a piece I could fit two episodes into each nursing session and watching the show made feeling like a zombie that much more bearable. Yes, as I imagined I would, I loved 30 Rock. And as soon as Tina Fey came out with Bossypants, I rushed out and grabbed a hardcopy of the book.
And then I let it sit on my shelf. And then I started to read how great the audiobook was. And I started to regret buying the book instead of the audio. And then I realized that the audio is only 5.5 hours long and my library has a digital copy I could borrow. So then I stopped fretting about it and requested from the library. And then I smiled. Just like I do for the entire 22 minute episode of 30 Rock (no, seriously).
Bossypants in Short: Tina Fey, comedienne extraordinaire of 30 Rock and Sarah Palin impersonation fame, revisits her awkwardness growing up and how she blossomed into…an awkward adult.
Thoughts in General: One of the reasons why I love Tina Fey (or her character Liz Lemon on 30 Rock) is because she shows that it is OK to be flawed and human. She has a self-deprecating humor that I find endearing and easy to relate to and I love laughing at her (sometimes with her) while also laughing at a piece of myself. While I am not funny, I would like to think that if I were funny that this is the kind of “I am not perfect but am totally ok with it” funny I would be. I realize that not everyone finds this humorous and I absolutely understand how some people have really enjoyed this book and others not so much. Just like I’ll say to Scott, “Oh I love this show, it makes me so happy. Do you love it, too?” He usually just chooses not to respond.
That said, I did not love all of Bossypants. I actually questioned my enjoyment several times during the first hour or so of the audio. I did not want to hear about terrible awkward teenage things like menstruating or making it to first base. I was afraid that this would be like Bedwetter by Sarah Silverman.  I wasn’t even terribly interested when Fey discussed her time at Second City though there were certainly many great laugh-out-loud moments. I really clicked with the audio when she moved onto Saturday Night Live and 30 Rock–even though I’m not a big fan of SNL. And I died when she started talking about motherhood, breastfeeding, and being a working mom.

Bottom Line: I’ve heard a lot of raving and a lot of criticism for this book. Obviously I’m leaning more towards the raving (though I think my raving is more about Tina Fey and 30 Rock thank about the book), but I can see where the criticism comes from. I definitely think this is a book more catered to women. Certainly more catered towards fans of 30 Rock or SNL. There is a bit of language and sex and other tasteless humor but I never felt offended or uncomfortable–though I wouldn’t want to listen to this while Grandma is in the car with me. So, I recommend with a bit of hesitancy. Though if you are not a woman, a fan of Tina Fey or 30 Rock, I am doubly interested in your opinion of this one!

A Note on the Audio: Fan-freaking-tastic. I do have a paper copy of the book and I would like to think that I’ll read it one day, but having listened to the audio I just can’t imagine how Tina’s humor translates to the written word. Her tone and asides and inflection are all perfect. This is definitely a laugh out loud kind of book (so take caution if you dare to listen at work).
Have you read/listened to this one? What did you think?

28 Responses to “Bossypants – Tina Fey”

  1. I wish I had listened to this one instead of reading it…I think the positives come directly from Tina Fey herself and her humor. That being said, I was one of the folks who just couldn’t appreciate this…I have never seen an episode of 30 Rock and didn’t even know who Fey was until the whole Sarah Palin thing. I think she tried to mix too much here…this could have easily been at least 2 books…one on the television industry/working mom sorta thing and one as more of a bio of sorts. I struggled to finish this one even though there were parts that I enjoyed.

  2. Tina Fey probably belongs in my “listen, don’t read” category. David Sedaris is at the top of that list. Nora Ephron is on it too.

  3. I am a man, and I loved it. Also I don’t think you have to be a fan of 30 Rock or SNL to enjoy this book. I do love 30 Rock, but not recent SNL. As with Steve Martin’s book, Born Standing Up (who discussed SNL too), I preferred her musings on things unrelated to 30 Rock/SNL, although I loved the part where she discussed portraying Sarah Palin. I do think the first half or maybe two-thirds of the book were the strongest, with the weakest parts being toward the end after she “made” it. When you’re talking about losing $100,000 an episode, it’s hard to feel sympathy for that.

  4. Rae

    I didn’t realize until the end of this review that Tina did the narration herself! I bet it was great! Read the book, loved it. Found myself chuckling out loud on the subway. Love 30 Rock. One of the best comedies on tv.

  5. Rae

    PS Since you’ve seen all the shows, and have heard my talk/read about my boss so much, this will make more sense. Jack and Liz’s relationship? EXACTLY like mine was with John. It’s interesting, because I don’t particularly think Liz and I are similar, or Jack and John are similar, but the relationship they have with each other. I find myself chuckling all the time and thinking, “This was so us” including the episode where they go to therapy to find out if they are too close. I was dying laughing.

  6. I am so glad that your balance this review with the good and maybe not so good. because it is an audio, I keep forgetting I should be listening to it – I thnk I have less than an hour. I might give it a 3 or 4 star. But I thnk I have a hard time with audios if not perfect perfect listening conditions.

  7. I agree this is probably more for fans of SNL and 30 Rock, at least because the humor is the same (duh). I read the paper one but I feel like I NEED to listen to the audio too!! My library has it that I can get through overdrive so I will definitely have to do that!!

  8. I’ve heard good things about this one but have yet to read it myself. I’ve heard that the audio is the better way to go so when I do read it, I think I’ll pick up the audio version :)

  9. *Peppermint – I definitely think that Bossypants is a book best listened to rather than read if you don’t have very much exposure to Fey, and I agree that there was so much going on in this little book. I would have preferred to have a book about the TV industry/working mom rather than the bio but I think that mostly comes from my enjoyment of her humor rather in any interest I have in knowing her better?

    *JoAnn – Yup–I think that some are just better in auditory format! I haven’t listened to anything by Ephron–need to check her out! I’ve also heard that Rob Lowe’s memoir is a great one to listen to.

    * – Yay! I’m so glad to see your opinion! I’ve been very curious to hear a man’s perspective on this book. Though I think I had the opposite reaction–liked the second half of the book better than the first. Maybe because of the working mom connection? I’m not a fan of SNL either but love 30 Rock!

    *Rae – Oh yes! You need to see if your library has the digital copy of this one to listen to–think you’ll get a big kick out of it. And too funny about your boss! Yes, definitely makes sense. ;) I do love the dynamics between Liz and Jack–sometimes I seriously smile throughout the entire episode!

    *Vivienne – Fey was a writer for Saturday Night Live (comedy sketches) and was the Weekend Update hostess for a long time. she has been on a handful of movies but I don’t think any other TV shows.

    *Care – There were parts I really loved about this and parts that I was disappointed by. Audio takes a lot of time to get used to–don’t get discouraged yet! But agreed–perfect listening conditions do sometimes make all the difference!

    *Jenny – Honestly I dont think I could get interested in this one if not a fan of Tina Fey already. Maybe not but because so much of the book is about her TV career it seems that some knowledge of her and her humor definitely help. And yes! Listen! I heart Tina.

    *bermudaonion – This is one where I’d definitely recommend the audio over paper.

    *Melissa – I really enjoyed Fey’s discussion about motherhood and her sentiments towards her daughter. I’ll admit that I have a serious girl crush on Fey! Ha. Do you watch 30 Rock?

    *Samantha – Yes, definitely listen to Bossypants on audio! Though make sure to grab a copy of the book as there are some hilarious pictures included in the book. It will make for easy work commuting!

  10. I totally never do audiobooks but this is one that if I ever have a reason to need an audiobook, this is what I’ll choose. Oh wait! I’m going to be on a plane in a couple of weeks. Hmm … I’ll probably read but it never hurts to have something to block out an annoying seatmate if necessary. :)

    –> heading over to the library site

  11. I am on disc two of the audio and ready to quit. I am taking a break to listen to the Litagators by John Grisham. I have never watched her shows either. The first disc just seemed like a hodgepodge and did not make me lol the way I expected. :)

  12. I do want to read this because I am a fan of 30 Rock and Tina Fey in general. I love her newscasting with Amy Pohler. Now I know I should get the audio from the library and skip any parts that are boring though. Thanks for a great review.

  13. This was a lot of fun to read. I kind of wish I had listened to it, but one day I will reread it and then I can enjoy the audio. :)

  14. Ooh I’ve been meaning to get this, as I love 30 Rock, but now I’m glad I didn’t because it sounds like the audio would be so much better. I’m especially looking forward to the motherhood part!

  15. Les

    I’ve never seen an episode of 30 Rock, but decided to add it to my Netflix queue and see how I like it. I’m not a fan of SNL (I’ve never watched an entire show, just a clip here and there) and like Peppermint, Ph.D., didn’t know who Fey was until the whole Sarah Palin thing went viral. I’m curious about this book, but will definitely wait until I can get the audio from my library. I’m listening to The Homecoming of Samuel Lake and don’t want it to end, it’s so goo!

  16. I want to listen to this, but then I’m afraid I’ll be disappointed. I think Tina Fey is hilarious, at least the bits I’ve seen, but I’m not much of an SNL fan and I think I’ve only seen a couple of episodes of 30 Rock.

  17. *Kristen M. – With being only 5.5 hours long this would be perfect for the plane trip and maybe if you’re up early due to the time change and need to burn some time. I do hope that you like it!!

    *Brittanie – I’m sorry you’re not enjoying the book. But I definitely started to like the book better around halfway through and certainly begins to be a little less hodgepodge (until she talks about motherhood and then it kind of feels random again).

    *Peaceful Reader – I’d definitely recommend the audiobook for this one. But it’s only 5 hours so the “boring” parts will move quickly. I’m not even sure it was boring as much as there were bits I wasn’t interested in. As some of the others commented, the book feels a bit random at times and without a cohesive timeline. Enjoy!

    *Kailana – The audio is so short that it definitely wouldn’t eat much time–maybe it would make shoveling that snow a little bit more bearable? Ha!

    *joanna – Being a fan of 30 Rock I think you’ll appreciate this book. Especially the part about being a working mom. I so appreciate her honesty and could definitely relate to a lot of things she discussed. But yes, listen!!

    *Les – I do think that Bossypants has received some mixed reviews for a reason but I’ll definitely be curious on what you think. But definitely opt for the audio version if you can! And then browse through the book while you’re stocking so you can see the pictures Fey refers to. I do hope you enjoy it. And 30 Rock took me a few episodes to get into–kind of a dry and awkward type of humor!

    *Carol – I think as long as you have a working understanding of 30 Rock and SNL that will be enough. It’s very “Tina Fey” type of humor so I think if you think she’s funny then you’ll enjoy this one! :)

  18. I picked up the hardcover version of the book, but never got around to it. I may just see if my library has the audio instead.

  19. Even though I grinned, chuckled and laughed out loud, I don’t think this book lived up to my expectations (3.5/5). Maybe if it were longer, it would have gotten there. I’m so glad it hit the spot for you, though.

  20. I love this review. I have had my eye on this since its release. I am now wondering if I should get the audio, but I am sure I would prob love the book as well. I love me some Tina Fey.

  21. *Melissa – I really hope you enjoy this one!!

    *Thoughts of Joy – If I remember correctly you said that you weren’t really a fan of Tina Fey or didn’t know who she was until the Palin skits? I do remember you saying you liked some parts but not all.

    *Michelle – The best part about the audio is hearing Tina Fey’s inflections and tones and asides. She’s just so funny–but knowing her you might be able to “read” those things in the book. Plus there’s pictures!

  22. I wasn’t all that intersted in the Second city part either. LOVED the SNL & 30 Rock parts. And listening to her and Amy Pehler do the Hilary and Sarah sketch again had me laughing out loud. Again.