This week’s “Read Something Different”: Tina Fey’s ‘Bossypants’

Patricia Robles reviews Tina Fey’s biting and hilarious new book, Bossypants

Mark Twain once said: ‘‘Everything human is pathetic. The secret source of humour itself is not joy but sorrow’’. He also said, according to Fey’s book’s back cover: ‘‘Do not print this glowing recommendation of Tina Fey’s book until I’ve been dead a hundred years’’. This is exactly what Bossypants is about: a combination of life-teaching affirmations and a catalogue of the surreal. Tina Fey’s first book is also the tale of how ‘an obedient white girl from the suburbs’ would make her childhood dream come true, with an extraordinary sense of humour.

In Bossypants, bad experiences, social pressure and the eccentricities of human interaction, are seasoned with the right amount of sarcasm in order to obtain what has been regarded as ‘geek chic’. Being a loser has never been more fashionable; it’s alright to laugh at one’s flaws, as that’s exactly what good comedy is made of.

Through the account of Tina Fey’s adventures, we gain an insight into the life of an Emmy-award-winning author as well as into the glamour (or lack-of) of show-business. Anecdotes about Saturday Night Live, Sarah Palin and her recently acclaimed TV show, 30 Rock, are presented in an such a casual, witty, as well as inspirational and insightful manner, that a reader might be forgiven for thinking they too can achieve their goals in such a ridiculous world.

The memoir of this multi-disciplined woman (actress, scriptwriter, wife, mother and now bestselling writer) manages to touch on some more thought provoking issues, particularly the position of women in comedy and American television, but without losing her most irreverent and cutting humour, as she candidly demonstrates in a amusing chapter devoted to answering e-mails from unpleasant internet haters ( a.k.a. trolls).

Naturally, as with most biographies, the main appeal of Fey’s book will be to fans of her previous works on screen. Apart from a memorable outing as Ms Norbury in Mean Girls, it may be the case that the vast majority of readers in the United Kingdom are not familiar with her appearances on film and television. However, Fey’s sharp and honest humour proves accessible to any reader, with or without previous experience of her work .

Reception of Fey’s memoirs has not been altogether positive. Some critics have thrown the question that it was simply a question of fan-consumption and therefore unnecessary to produce. And, honestly, it may not come under your list of high-brow books to read. However, what is refreshing in a celebrity biography, is an intelligent sense of humour and a possibility of escaping the day-to-day mediocrity in which we live, by any means. This could be through brainwashing television programs and quiz shows, or preferably through a more sophisticated use of media like the reading of this book after, ironically, having switched off the television.

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