I intended to read Tina Fey's memoir/personal essay collection Bossypants
eventually. However, I read quite a few solid reviews of the audio version (read by the author), several of which suggested that audio was the ideal format for the book, and paid attention.
This is definitely not a "tell-all" - there are some things that Tina Fey does not intend to talk about in this book, and she states that up front. However, she doesn't mince words when it comes to the things she DOES want to talk about.
Tina Fey's autobiography isn't terribly remarkable. She had a middle-class upbringing in the Philadelphia suburbs as the younger child and only daughter of parents who are still married to each other; college; a move to Chicago to work, study improvisational theatre, and eventually join the Second City comedy troupe, which led to another move - this time to New York and a job as a writer for Saturday Night Live
; creation of and a starring role in a critically-acclaimed, Emmy-winning sitcom inspired by her experience on SNL...and marriage and a family. Okay, some parts of her autobiography ARE pretty remarkable.
Fey's recollections of career and life milestones are mixed with observations about life, society, and the challenges of being a woman who loves both her work and her child in the early 21st century. Bossypants
may strike some readers as being a little short on personal insight and reflection, but Fey's commentary on the bigger picture is a worthwhile trade. Its not entirely clear to me whether she self-identifies as a feminist, but her worldview is clearly informed by feminism. As befits the title of the book, Fey does spend much of the second half discussing work, and repeatedly expresses a preference for the collaborative management style that tends to be more associated with women; she IS a boss, as creator of 30 Rock
, and is fully aware of the perks, the stress, and the responsibility that go with providing jobs to 200 people.
But it's not all serious gender politics - in fact, MOST of it's not serious gender politics. Tina Feys experience is in writing and performing comedy, and this makes Bossypants
, as read by its author, ideally suited to audio. If you're a Tina Fey fan, which I am, youd probably hear her voice in your head while reading the book anyway, so why not just hear it for real? She mines her own story for the funny, mixes it with smart observations and self-deprecating reflections, and comes across as pretty down-to-earth and genuine. My stepdaughter was in a six-week teenage theatre workshop last summer, and I want her to hear Tina's stories of her two high-school years in "Summer Showtime." I particularly liked her work stories and the tale of her ill-fated honeymoon cruise. And I appreciated the way her appreciation of certain people in her life - particularly her parents, her mentor Lorne Michaels, and her SNL
colleague Amy Poehler - came across so clearly.
I should also mention one feature of the Bossypants
audiobook thats not part of the print version: it includes the full audio of her first Sarah Palin sketch for Saturday Night Live
. While that's not the only reason to read this on audio, its definitely something to consider if youre torn between this and the print version.