BOSSYPANTS by Tina Fey

BEA week is here! I am headed to NY on Wednesday for 2 days of BEA and one day of Book Blogger Conference this Friday. Can't wait! I am also speaking about social media on Thursday at BlogWorld, which is in the same building as BEA. If you're going to be at BEA, please let me know! I am looking forward to seeing old friends and meeting new ones at BEA. Oh yeah, and the books too.

Bossypants So I am concluding that I really prefer fiction. I bought Tina Fey's Bossypants as an impulse buy last month when I was in San Francisco. If it took me this long to get through a non-fiction book by a very entertaining woman who's my age and talks about being a working mom while dishing about 30 Rock and SNL, then clearly I have a thing about non-fiction. It just doesn't grab me the way fiction does. I need a plot.

But I did finish Bossypants. It's basically a collection of essays about Tina Fey's life, from her childhood and education to her time at Second City, SNL, and 30 Rock.It's not really a memoir, because it's not that thorough, and it's only loosely chronological. There's a lot less in here about parenthood and being a working mom to her daughter Alice than I expected. There is more, though, about working for Lorne Michaels and impersonating Sarah Palin on SNL, which I enjoyed. Fey's writing style is funny and self-deprecating, which is definitely her schtick. I wonder sometimes whether she's really like that in real life, or if she's been so successful in creating that persona that she has stuck with it in her book.

I laughed out loud a lot in this book. Here is my favorite passage. She's talking about being at a photo shoot for a magazine cover, and the kind of music they play in the background:

Sometimes they ask if you want to hook up your iPodfor background music. Do not do this. It's a trap. They will put it on shuffle, and no matter how much Beastie Boys or Velvet Underground you have on there, the following four tracks will play in a row: "We'd Like To Thank You Herbert Hoover" from Annie, "Hold On" by Wilson Philips, "That's What Friends Are For," Various Artists, and "We'd Like To Thank You Herbert Hoover" from Annie.

Hee.

There are a lot of funny parts like that. Even so, I never really  got totally into Bossypants the way I do with a good novel with a compelling plot. I think that's a sign.

OK, back to fiction. Hope to see a lot of you at BEA this week!

(Hi FTC! Bought this one with my own money, and even paid full price! I know, I can't believe it either.)

2 Comments

  • May 23, 2011 - 5:47 pm | Permalink

    Gayle, I so agree with you about fiction. I always WANT to like memoirs (especially since I WROTE a memoir) but find myself yearning for the elegant structure and craft of well-written fiction rather than the detailed yet somehow non-textured narrative typical of memoirs. I wonder if this is partly because you and I both consume a lot of journalism through newspapers, magazines and blogs. Maybe we just like our nonfiction better in shorter form? I read 3/4 of “Denial” by Jessica Stern and felt the way you did about Tina Fey — if any memoir is going to engage me, it’s going to be this one. But the experience couldn’t hold a candle to the two great novels I’ve read so far this year: “So Much for That” and “Freedom.”

  • Julie
    May 24, 2011 - 7:40 pm | Permalink

    I totally agreed that the book didn’t really hang together as a book. I also laughed out loud several times, but it could have been two short essays and I would have gotten as many laughs. I like some non-fiction, for what it’s worth. I just think this one lacked a centering purpose. Or something.

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