Bossypants is not a memoir, but it is funny

Tina Fey gets a lot of shit. She’s too much of a feminist, she’s not feminist enough. She’s funny, she’s not funny. The woman cannot win. The latest is that her “memoir” Bossypants isn’t revealing enough.

Here’s the thing though, it’s not a memoir. I don’t know why it’s being dubbed a memoir. I’m not even sure what the definition of memoir is. Oh wait, I have the Internet. Here’s what comes up when you type “definition of memoir” in Google:
1. A historical account or biography written from personal knowledge.
2. An autobiography or a written account of one’s memory of certain events or people.

Okay, using that convenient definition, Bossypants is NOT A MEMOIR. What is it then? It’s a book of humorous, personal essays ala David Sedaris.

Why am I making a big deal about this? Because I think the way you approach this book will help with your enjoyment of it. If you approach this as a memoir expecting Tina Fey to reveal all kinds of emotional details and dish dirt you will be sorely disappointed.

If you approach this book as a light-hearted bunch of words Tina Fey felt like typing, you’ll be much happier with the results. I went into Bossypants thinking it was like a David Sedaris book and I got exactly what I wanted – hilarity, bits of insight, and a small, small peek into Tina’s world.

I loved it. I will push this breathlessly on everyone I know. In fact, I listened to the audiobook version of Bossypants and for the first time ever, I might actually push this exact version on people. Listening to Tina tell the stories is awesome. Throughout she acknowledges the audiobookness of what you’re listening to. She often refers you to a PDF (that comes with it, even when you download the book from like I did) to see a picture of what she’s talking about.

There is a lot to like in this one. One of things I really appreciated is that Tina realizes how blessed and lucky and privileged she is. She says she works her ass off, but that she’s lucky because she gets to do it at her dream job. She says she often turns down “mother of the year” awards because they make her uncomfortable, not just because motherhood is so fraught with politics and judgement, but because unlike so many mothers she has a nanny who helps her tremendously. While some people might see this as a woman not taking credit for her success, for down playing her work. I choose to see it as someone recognizing their privilege and being thankful for it.

It’s all good. But my very favorite passage in the book was about Amy Poehler. In this section Tina talks about Amy being new to Saturday Night Live and a bunch of dudes not liking something Amy had said or done. Being dudes they didn’t think the jokes aimed at a more female audience were funny. Amy’s response? “I don’t fucking care if you don’t like it.”

So awesome. Just like most of the book.

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