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Book Cover Image: Bossypants by Tina FeyTitle: Bossypants

Author: Tina Fey

Narrator: Tina Fey

Audiobook Length: 5 hours, 35 minutes

Synopsis (Courtesy of Powell’s Books):

“She’s a comic genius, every woman’s imaginary best friend, and the thinking man’s sex symbol. Tina Fey didn’t get this far without pulling on her bossypants.

Before there was Liz Lemon, before there was “Sarah Palin,” before there was Weekend Update — there was a woman with a dream. A dream that one day she would write a book about how she got here. But she had to get there first.

On her way to becoming an award-winning superstar, Tina Fey struggled through some questionable haircuts, some after-school jobs, the rise of nachos as a cultural phenomenon, a normal childhood, a happy marriage and joyful motherhood. Her story must be told! Fey’s pursuit of the perfect beauty routine may actually give you laugh lines, and her depiction of her whirlwind tour of duty as the Other Sarah Palin on Saturday Night Live takes you behind the scenes of a comedy event that transfixed the nation. Now, Fey can reflect on what she’s learned: You’re no one until someone calls you bossy.”

Thoughts: Bossypants is generating buzz for good reason. Tina Fey rocks. Her ability to laugh at herself while making a point about the state of society or our current culture is as refreshing as it is hilarious. Expecting nothing more than a few good stories and some great jokes, I was surprised to find Ms. Fey sharing advice on being a leader, managing others, and being a working mother in today’s cutthroat society. While a majority of the readers will not be able to relate to some of Ms. Fey’s stories about dealing with actors or working on television shows, her advice crosses all areas of business, making it a welcome addition to an already excellent story.

In Bossypants, Ms. Fey debunks myths of working mothers and the trappings of stardom. She takes great pains to point out how she is just like everyone else, with the same insecurities, skin and weight problems, and family issues that we all have. Granted, she is also more successful, funnier, and wealthier than I will ever be, but that’s besides the point. The fact is that even though she is successful and supremely funny, she also has a point to make about being a woman and the traps into which women tend to fall thanks to societal pressure or custom. Much in the same way Ms. Fey was able to draw attention to the idea of sexism in the previous presidential race through an absolutely hilarious skit, she uses her humor to draw attention to female sabotage, pressure to fit a cultural norm, and other timely topics. In spite of all the jokes, Ms. Fey’s ultimate point is timely and much-needed.

There should be a disclaimer on this novel. One should not listen to Bossypants when in a meeting or in situations where distractions are a bad idea. Case in point, I was listening to it while working and had to choke back the audible laughter for fear of scaring my co-workers or causing them to think I had finally had a mental breakdown. Instead, I suffered in silence, laughing inaudibly so hard I had tears streaming down my face. (If any co-workers happened to walk past when this occurred, then they still probably thought I had that mental breakdown but because I wasn’t making a huge, noisy scene, they let me go.) The best part was that I laughed, a lot. Whether it was over a joke, a scene, or even one little sentence, Ms. Fey’s success as a comedic writer definitely shines as she turns the pen towards herself.

As a narrator, Ms. Fey is one of the best I’ve yet enjoyed hearing. I felt like I was sitting across from her as she was sharing her story with me. While listeners do not have the visual cues to mark asides or sarcasm, she speaks in such a way that the listener has no doubts as to when Ms. Fey’s sarcastic side has made an appearance. She also incorporates audio of some of her more famous SNL sketches, as well as her own interpretation of her co-workers’ voices, which only enhances the audio experience. Any time I can get the opportunity to listen to or re-watch my favorite SNL skit ever, the first time she ever debuted her Sarah Palin impersonation, it is a good day.

For those who doubted it, Bossypants truly is deserving of the hype. It is not glitzy or glamorous. Ms. Fey does not spill dark secrets about her fellow cast mates or Hollywood friends. Rather, she shares herself with her audience – an honest portrait of a supremely talented woman who worked hard to achieve her success in spite of all the odds stacked against her. The fact that she makes her audience laugh while doing so is just an added bonus.

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