Sunday, October 27, 2013

Bossypants by Tina Fey

This month The Savvy Reader Book Club read Tina Fey’s book Bossypants. I chose this book after learning it was the best book Sheryl Sandberg read last year. I was a bit apprehensive about selecting it after reading several mixed reviews; some reviewers found it hilarious while others didn’t think it was funny at all.

My thoughts:

Bossypants is funny:
It’s not the funniest book I’d ever read. Bill Bryson’s book A Walk in the Woods: Rediscovering America on the Appalachian Trailstill holds that distinction, but it was funny. This book’s humor is classic Tina Fey. If you ever watched Tina’s TV show 30 Rock you will recognize the humor. I realized Liz Lemon was Tina Fey or perhaps Tina Fey was Liz Lemon.

Tina can be a bit vulgar:
When I checked Bossypants out from the library, the librarian told me her book club didn’t like it. They thought it was too vulgar. I actually didn’t find the vulgarity to be too bad. In my opinion Caitlin Moran’s book How to Be a Woman was much worse. As you may recall her book was so crass I wasn't able to finish it. I do think if you’ve never watched 30 Rock you will find the chapter that includes dialogue of the show’s characters weird.

I’m not sure what this book is:
Bossypants is not a memoir. Tina Fey doesn’t analyze her life or provide us with insight in to who Tina Fey really is. Nor is it a career or how to book. My library classifies it as stage entertainment (whatever that means).

Tina is one of us:
I did learn the reason I like Tina Fey is because she started out like many of us. She grew up in a middle class family, had a regular childhood, felt like a misfit in college and struggles with many of the same issues we do. She is tenacious, an incredibly hard worker and has difficulty balancing work and family like most women.

I usually base the value of a nonfiction book, by how many notes I take while reading the book. Unfortunately, I didn’t take a single note from this book, but I did bookmark a couple of interesting passages. Here is a sampling:

Tina’s views on Photoshop:
Give it up. Retouching is here to stay. Technology doesn’t move backward. No society has ever de-industrialized. Which is why we’ll never turn back from Photoshop. At least with Photoshop you don’t really have to alter your body. It’s better to have a computer do it to your picture than to have a doctor do it to your face? (Pg. 161)

On luxury cruises:
Luxury cruises were designed to make something unbearable-a two-week transatlantic crossing – seem bearable. There’s no need to do it now. There are planes. You wouldn’t take a vacation where you ride a stagecoach for two months but there’s all-you-can-eat shrimp. (Pg. 100)

What she tells young women who ask for career advice:
People are going to try to trick you. To make you feel you are in competition with other women. “You’re up for a promotion. If they go with 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. (Pg. 88)

Her unsolicited advice to women in the workplace:
When faced with sexism or ageism or lookism or even really aggressive Buddhism, ask yourself the following question: “Is this person in between me and what I want to do?” If the answer is no, ignore it and move on. Your energy is better used doing your work and outpacing people that way. Then when you’re in charge, don’t hire the people who were jerky to you. (Pg. 144-145)

Final thoughts:
Unlike Sheryl Sandberg, I don’t think this is the best book I’ve read this year, but I did enjoy it. I would recommend reading it if you are a fan of Tina Fey, are looking for a light read, a beach read or a palate cleanser. If you are looking for a memoir that includes an in-depth analysis of who Tina Fey is or how she became one of the funniest women in comedy you will probably be disappointed in this book.

Have you read Tina Fey’s book Bossypants? If so what were your thoughts?

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  1. I read this book and found it over-rated. Everyone was telling me it was funny and I like Tina,but this book didn't capture my attention. I didn't laugh out loud.
    But I do have a book to recommend to you that really is funny. It's in fact, hysterical. Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? (And Other Concerns), written by Mindy Kaling. I never laughed so hard as when I was reading this book. It's a MUST! Please, Savvy, I hope you'll read it soon.

  2. I read this book and loved it. I did laugh out loud. But I loved it because I found some unexpected life lessons in it. I wrote a post on it here ->

    I'm not sure why the linky did not work for me.

  3. I read the book over a year ago and I don't remember any vulgarity. I'll take your and your librarian's word on it though. Obviously the vulgarity was not an issue for me. :-)

  4. i don't dislike tina fey, but i don't LOVE her like most people do. i think she's alright. i much prefer kristen wiig.

  5. I've been wanting to read this for a while. I don't find anything on 30 rock vulgar- well, I don't really find anything at all vulgar, so I don't imagine I'd have an issue with that. I love humor and I think TIna Fey is totally awesome. I also like that she's reached more and more success as she's gotten older.

  6. I want to read this book. Tina Fey cracks me up.

  7. I would use the word "frank" instead of vulgar. She's a humorist. She uses that to attack our sexist society. I'm a 60-something man who thinks Tina is sexy. But if I used those words, it would be "boys will be boys". My book rating was 6 of 10. And Savvy, p.s., I read that Robert Redford is is consultations to do a film of Walking in the Woods.

  8. This is definitely a book I want to read at some point!

  9. I haven't read this book but what says about Photoshop made me smile, so true :)

  10. I personally loved it!
    It was funny..not Ellen or even Chelsea Handler funny....but I did enjoy it.

    Visiting from #SITSSHAREFEST

    Keep it Touched,

  11. I couldn't finish this book. it was TMI when she spent what I thought was too much time describing her period. I got bored. but i probably would have enjoyed it more as an audiobook.

  12. I really enjoyed this book. I listened to it on audio when it first came out on a long drive and I laughed the whole way!

  13. Monica,
    Thanks for the comment and the recommendation. I have heard a lot of good thinks about Mindy's book.

  14. Chasing Joy,
    Thanks for sharing your review. I enjoyed it. Also, I am interested in learning about other books you've enjoyed, so feel free to share.

    Not sure why they linky didn't work. I took it down.

    Also, I think Dennis from a few comments down is correct when he describes Tina as blunt. Blunt is more appropriate than vulgar.

  15. Catherine,
    Kristen Wiig is good too.

  16. Stefanie,
    I too like that she's achieved more success as she got older. She talks about aging in the book.

  17. Airing Dirty Laundry,
    If you do come back and let us know how you liked it.

  18. Dennis,
    Great points. Yes, frank is much better than vulgar and you are right she is using humor to attack our sexist society. And I also agree with your rating 6 out of 10. I'd love to hear any suggestions you have for future book club selections.

  19. Susannah,
    If you do, please stop back in and let us know what you thought of it.

  20. Skitch,
    Agreed. Thanks for commenting.

  21. Khloe,
    Thanks for commenting. Happy to learn you loved it.

  22. Tanya,
    You are the second person I know who couldn't make it through the period chapter. Like I said Tina isn't for everybody. Who do consider to be a funny author?

  23. I love what she is saying about cruises. I never realized that's how they came about. I think it's funny - it's like a huge floating playpen. Everything is kind of padded and sanitized for your protection, sort of like a huge adult daycare, but with alcohol and cruise directors to entertain you. Hilarious!

  24. I listened to this on a car trip from NC to FL and laughed the whole way. Something about her telling her own story in her voice made it 10x funnier. Maybe not the funniest book in the world, but pretty darn close.

  25. Adrian,
    I enjoyed her take on cruises quite a bit myself. People love them and then there are others like myself who couldn't be paid to go on one.

  26. The Book Wheel,
    Ahh, I bet this was the perfect book to listen to on a road trip.

  27. Savvy, I agree blunt is a much better description of BossyPants.

    Thanks for linking up for #FlashbackFriday. I'm pinning this post to the #FlashbackFriday Pinterest Board.