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A Very Belated 'Bossypants' Review

I submitted this book review to a local magazine back in May of 2011. They told me to edit a lot. I was lazy and distracted, so I let it rot in my gmail for several months. Lo and behold, I present to you my last real post of 2011, following with my newly set tradition of having last year posts needing to deal with books...

from some time in May
that I cannot remember

A smart person never judges a book by its cover. Admittedly, I am not a smart person. 

When I picked up Bossypants by the current thinkingwoman's icon, Tina Fey, I thought "what remarkably hairy forearms she has." 

Truth is, besides the forearms, you can deduce a lot from the Bossypants cover. You see the trademark Fey face, devoid of the spectacles that have made her a pop culture staple, staring at you with this amused smirk. And why shouldn't she be amused? She's very successful, and you and I will likely never be on her eschelon. 

She also knows every single story contained between the covers that she's about to let loose. More reason to add to the amusement:  they're good stories. If only everyone's embarrassing ventures was that funny.

Unlike some celebrity memoirs, which seem to serve as either dishy or whiny (depends on your perspective) cautionary tales of failed celebrity and wah wah wah, Fey's book is really not a memoir. In fact, it works just as a collection of essays, a la Bill Bryson or David Sedaris. What more could you expect from the most famed female comedian in the country- nay, just "comedian?" A collection of essays about her life, that is. Not mountains or working in department stores. Pay attention!
From the moment you read the copyright, you know you are in for a fun ride. Let me repeat that:  the copyright. This woman is on a roll from the getgo. She is also full of useful advice such as "improv will not reduce bellyfat." Take notes!

She also goes off initially to address that infamous scar in the opening few pages. Which is awesome of her, because that's maybe the only scandal she has to address. And it's not so much of a scandal as it is a case of people being nosy and gossipy, as people often are. It was an incident that happened to her while very young, and that is that. Fey also goes on to talk about the various reactions to the scar people have, or the reactions they have when she says the cause. This is as funny as it is sad. 

My personal favorite part of the book was the Second Summer, which encompasses part of Fey's youth spent at a theater camp in the 1980s. Theater camps in the 1980s is a good enough selling point. In this part, the teenaged geeky Tina Fey needs to learn that her gay friends do not exist simply for her enjoyment and have their own lives to live. Most people will relate to this lesson. 

Throughout all of Bossypants, Fey scatters photos of herself and her loved ones from years gone by. It's remarkable to see the transformation that's marked the woman, who went from being I guess the metaphorical "ugly duckling" to a beautiful, if not bemused, "swan." This has almost defined her schtick for a while, too. As one of my dear friends told me, "I hate she keeps bringing up that she was ugly and unlikeable at one point, because that's clearly not the case anymore and she needs to tone it down a notch" (to paraphrase). Simon, that's all you

Okay, yes. She's sort of beat that theme to death. In Bossypants, though, she manages "variations on an old theme." Meaning, yes this is brought up time and time again, but it's never something she's clobbering you over the head with. Fey seems to have reach acceptance with herself, and is taking a whimsical step back to look over everything that has happened to her, from the cradle to the offices of Saturday Night Live where she was the first woman head writer, to say "what the hell."

All in all, Bossypants is an entertaining jaunt through Fey's life in essays, charts, lists and other forms. There's bits about being a mother, encouragement to any woman who finds herself in the sometimes awkward position of power usually reserved for men (albeit not in a saccharine love thyself sense) and remembrances of portraying a certain Alaskan politician-gone-celeb. There's comfort in the ending, oddly enough, in which Fey decides "everything will be fine," but with her own humorous and self-aware twists. 

And for a person who is only reaching the peak of what she will possibly is capable of, everything will probably be more than fine, ‘bossypants’ on or off.

question: do you prefer Tina Fey in Bossypants or without them? PICK DA LATTER STOOPID


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