Tina Fey – Bossypants

You are correct, this is neither science fiction nor fantasy. Nor fiction, for that matter. But ever since my boyfriend made me watch 30 Rock, I have been in love with the show in general and Tina Fey in particular. Since I already owned the audiobook of Bossypants (a gift from last year), I felt the time had come to interrupt my Codex Alera good-night-ritual for something humorous.

by Tina Fey

Published by: Little, Brown, 2011
ISBN: 1609419693
Audiobook: 5.5 hours
Paperback:  272 pages

My rating: 8/10

First sentence: My brother is eight years older than I am.

Before Liz Lemon, before “Weekend Update,” before “Sarah Palin,” Tina Fey was just a young girl with a dream: a recurring stress dream that she was being chased through a local airport by her middle-school gym teacher. She also had a dream that one day she would be a comedian on TV.
She has seen both these dreams come true.
At last, Tina Fey’s story can be told. From her youthful days as a vicious nerd to her tour of duty on Saturday Night Live; from her passionately halfhearted pursuit of physical beauty to her life as a mother eating things off the floor; from her one-sided college romance to her nearly fatal honeymoon — from the beginning of this paragraph to this final sentence.
Tina Fey reveals all, and proves what we’ve all suspected: you’re no one until someone calls you bossy.


Ever since her Sarah Palin impersonation on SNL, Tina Fey is a household name when it comes to comedy. While I had heard of her before, I really came to like her for her TV show 30 Rock which I am still watching with my boyfriend (we’re on season 5 or 6 right now). I really didn’t expect to like it and when I ended up loving it, I remembered that audiobook I had lying around.

Tina reads it herself which is a huge bonus. Anybody who has ever heard her start mumbling when she’s talking about something embarrassing, knows how much difference a good narration can make. Telling her own story, beginning – as one should – with her childhood and school years, she sweeps us into the world of a comedy star, which is also the world of a pretty regular girl, with regular girl problems. Going into this with basically no knowledge of Tina Fey the person, or even Tina Fey as anything other than Liz Lemon, I learned a lot of new things about her and about the world of comedy.

From the moment she go her scar (which, yes I googled right after hearing that part) to how she went on a catastrophical honeymoon, to being a working mom, Tina Fey lets us take a glimpse into her life. She never lingers overly on bits that would be boring unless they happened to you, and instead puts a humorous spin on everything. Whether it is shocking events (like the acquisition of that scar), sad asides, or revelations about her own character, she is never – ever – boring. Her chapters are mostly short but some of them manage to convey – through humor – certain truths about the world that I didn’t expect to find in this book.

Tina talks about photoshopped pictures, about Trying To Be Pretty As A Woman, and of course about her time on Saturday Night Live. The audiobook offers a special bonus that I must mention here. When the story comes to the point of Fey being Sarah Palin, the audiobook actually includes the SNL clip. A very pleasant surprise, indeed! The one thing that does get lost when you listen to this on audio is the pictures. But wait! The audiobook comes with a PDF file with all the pictures included. You get to see dorky soccer Tina, her baby’s awesome Peter Pan birthday cake, that photoshopped picture, and lots of Tina-as-Sarah-Palin fotos.

If there are things I didn’t like about this, it was that the autobiography was too short (well, she isn’t that old) and maybe the part about Photoshop not distorting yout girls’ minds. Other than Tina, I believe that despite knowing all the pictures we see in magazines are fake, we are still expected to look that way. Now trying to look like a model is hard enough when you’re just talking about the actual human beings graced with amazing beauty. Being expected to look better than those people – meaning: those people made even prettier by the magic of Photoshop – is literally impossible. But despite this disagreement, Tina always has a good point and an explanation, whether it is about women’s beauty craze or respecting your gay friends.

This is an easy book to recommend. If you like Tina Fey or anything she’s done on TV, you will enjoy this book. If you’ve never heard of her or dislike her, then don’t buy it. It’s that easy. You get more of her kind of humor, her sometimes self-deprecating (but not really) remarks and her hard facts about being a woman working in comedy. But you also get to meet the person behind the star. And that’s the kind of girl everybody would like to go out and have a beer with.

THE GOOD: A well-told, hilarious glance into the life of Tina Fey. Not a single boring moment and no whiny biography stuff.
THE BAD: It was very short and, given the issues Fey talks about occasionally, it wouldn’t have hurt to go more in depth.
The audio clip of “Palin and Clinton” on SNL that was cut into the audiobook.
THE VERDICT: Recommended to everybody who likes Tina Fey. Simple as that.

RATING: 8/10 – Excellent fun


One thought on “Tina Fey – Bossypants

  1. Moira says:

    Hi, Nadine –

    I enjoyed this book a lot, too, and I’m also a big fan of Tina Fey’s. I think you are right that people who don’t like her humor won’t like the book, but I liked it a lot.


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