‘Bossypants’ by Tina Fey
Am I terrible person for not loving Bossypants? I feel like I’m a terrible person and probably a bad feminist and quite possibly not human since literally everyone I’ve met who read this book, adored it. Bossypants was pretty much universally lauded when it came out — “Hilarious!” “Feminist!” “And so self-effacing, too!” Everyone seemed to rally around this panacea of a book, so I probably should have expected some Toogoodtobetrueitis.
While the book was certainly funny at some times and feminist at all times, it was also very chatty. It felt more like a transcribed autobiographical monologue than a thoughtfully crafted memoir. And maybe that’s my own problem — I went in genuinely excited to learn about Tina Fey and her story, not to read a narrative joke book. Thus, by the end of it, I was left mostly disappointed.
As Kate has written about Mindy Kaling’s entrant into this same genre of “autobiographical comedy books” (as Wikipedia calls it), these books are sort of memoirs and sort of not, but mostly seem preoccupied with being funny, often to the detriment of narrative, meaning, and (in my case anyway) readerly enjoyment. They are funny, so that focus is all well and good if you’re looking for a laugh, but they don’t make for the most engaging, riveting reads ever.
So I’ll end the same way Kate’s review of Kaling did: maybe I’m missing the point. Yes, Bossypants was entertaining (and, magically, the exact length of a train ride from Paris to Karlsruhe, Germany, if you’re ever going that way), but the general smarts and awesomeness of Tina Fey made me hope for something more. But maybe that wasn’t the point?