Tina Fey: Writer. Actress. Comic. TV show creator. Film writer and star. Impersonator of failed vice presidential candidates who could see Russia from their house. Former reigning AfterEllen.com Hot 100 No. 1. And, now, critically acclaimed author.
The 30 Rock mastermind and
My Fake TV Wife all-around funny lady Fey’s first book Bossypants came out today to almost universally glowing reviews. The book is less of a memoir and more of, as the New York Times puts it, “a spiky blend of humor, introspection, critical thinking and Nora Ephron-isms for a new generation.” Even it’s cover art (Man hands! Man hands!), title (look out, boys, she wears them) and fake blurbs (“Totally worth it.” – Trees) speak to a different and delightful experience waiting within its pages. Before it was even published it had not one, but two excerpts printed in The New Yorker.
But, don’t take my word for it. Listen to these people.
[Bossypants is] her dagger-sharp, extremely funny new book for which even the blurbs are clever.
In this genially jumbled memoir-esque collection of riffs, essays, laundry lists, true stories, fantasy scenarios, SNL script excerpts, and embarrassing photos from the wilderness years before she received the gift of a flattering haircut, the great Miz Fey puts on the literary equivalent of a satisfying night of sketch comedy.
In a flourish of her own fierce brand of feminism, Fey has decided to claim that dismissive, girly label (“bossypants”) before anyone else gives it to her. She knows firsthand that women have had limited opportunities in comedy, but her fondness for the men she works with remains intact. She bucks the system, not the opposite sex itself, paying forward what she’s gained through her own talent to other talented women.
Fey’s strategy for dealing with everything from entrenched discrimination to garden-variety chauvinism is to write a joke, a better joke than the other people in the room. You see, some of us have forgotten this basic point: Responding to a situation with humor, as opposed to, say, dead-serious self-righteousness, is a rhetorically effective way to get a political point across.
NPR by Janeane Garofalo:
Bossypants is not so much a memoir as it is a sort of here’s-what-happened-and-why-I think-this kind of book. It’s honest and intimate, without any maudlin tales of childhood sorrow, no extraneous snark or hit-and-run tell-all gossip. It’s just a great read from a mature thinker.
People will buy [Bossypants] in hopes that it is funny, and that it is, my friends, that it is. Amazingly, absurdly, deliriously funny. Everything you would hope for from this book — it’s impossible to put down, you will laugh until you cry, you will wish it were longer, you can’t wait to hand it to every friend you have — is true.
In fact, the only negative, or more accurately disappointed, review of the book I could scrounge up was from Newsweek who tapped Jezebel founder/former editor Anna Holmes for its review. It should be noted, as it is in the review, that 30 Rock poked gentle fun at Jezebel in a recent episode, parodying the feminist site as JoanOfSnark.com. Anna wrote: “Edging up to difficult truths and skipping away may make for sophisticated sitcoms, but it doesn’t make for satisfying memoir writing.”
So, are you sold? Ready to get your own Bossypants on, man hands and all?