Author: Tina Fey
Publisher: Reagan Arthur Books (2011)
Genres: Humor, Nonfiction, Memoir
Sub-Genres: Art, Celebrity, Coming of Age, Family Studies, How To, Television
Plot Summary: Fey, former head writer of Saturday Night Live and creator of (and actor on) 30 Rock (not to mention being famous for impersonating a certain former Alaskan governor), details just how she got to be where she is now. From stints in theatre camps to a summer job at the YMCA, Fey looks at where she's been, all with her unmistakable comic talent. She also addresses the questions that she's always asked, like being Sarah Palin and being a working mother, without ever missing a chance to make a joke. She even manages to detail why she's not as pretty or as funny as you think she is.
What I Liked: The book's funny. It's in Fey's voice. It's a pleasant, easy, and enjoyable read. In other words, this is the perfect, don't-have-to-think beach read for anybody who just wants to avoid the real world for a while and chill out, while laughing a bit along the way.
I enjoy Fey's sarcasm, especially at the moments where she actually seems vulnerable. When she talks about her high school experiences, her family, or the fates of her 30 Rock employees all hanging on her (rounded) shoulders, it seems real. When she talks about how much she did and didn't want to portray Sarah Palin on SNL, it was nice. She's frank about her own abilities and does a good job of pointing out that part of being a great performer isn't knowing what you're good at, but rather, what you're not good at.
What I Didn't Like: While the fun tone and jokes make this book easy-to-read, it also makes the book fall flat at times. The book itself can be read in a few hours, especially with those extra blank white pages taking up the ends of each book section (and there's about 10 book sections, so that's a whole lot of extra white space). In essence, the book just needed more.
Fey doesn't go into too much detail about any particular topic - mostly, she just skims through her life, makes some jokes, and then moves on. While she does have some moments of reflection (like on breastfeeding or Photoshopping), it doesn't seem enough to warrant a book. The book needed to have more actual Tina Fey and less Tina Fey the performer.
Memoirs, unlike stand-up or improv, require a frankness that most people simply cannot handle divulging. Here, I'm not sure it's really Fey's fault, as she seems to just be writing about what somebody told her to write about. Also, this caused the book to feel disjointed, without an overreaching theme connecting each section of the book. It's more like comedy snippets, than a held together book.
Similar Works: Books by Funny Women: Are You There, Vodka? It's Me, Chelsea by Chelsea Handler, Official Book Club Selection: A Memoir According to Kathy Griffin, and The Bedwetter: Stories of Courage, Redemption, and Pee by Sarah Silverman.
Books by TV Stars: Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? (And Other Concerns) by Mindy Kaling, Snooki's A Shore Thing, and Priceless: A Novel by Nicole Richie.
Another Book about Saturday Night Live: Live From New York: An Uncensored History of Saturday Night Live, as Told By Its Stars, Writers and Guests.
Buy It Here!: Bossypants
Last Thought: You'll laugh and you'll like it, but you'll read it in an hour and probably won't learn anything new.