Sadly I finished Tina Fey’s new book “Bossypants” over the weekend. Why do I say sadly? Because I don’t want it to be over! Between finishing that and last week’s season finale of “30 Rock,” I already miss her! I’ve been watching one skit at a time from this past weekend’s SNL just to extend my limited time with her.
Please don’t tell her. I don’t want a restraining order.
Surprisingly, I didn’t get the book as soon as it came out but I knew it was going to be my next book. But then when Missy visited, she bought it for me and I’ll be forever grateful. It’s actually one book I’m glad to have a hardcover copy of, not just on my Kindle.
There’s no way for me to attempt an objective book review of Bossypants, so instead, I’ll just tell you all the things I loved about it.
OK, first, I do have to admit that the cover freaked me out at first and I think she could have come up with a different title (and that’s about as close as I’ll come to criticizing her).
But the more I read it, the more I got the cover. She really tackles a lot of bullshit things about working women and whether “women can be funny” or if it’s “weird to be the boss of so many people.” The entire world tries to put us in these corners based on our gender, our marital status and whether or not we have kids. I know these are things that can’t help but have an impact on our working lives, for example, but they certainly do not define them. Women need to stop trying to compete in a “man’s world” and instead compete in the world.
Here, Tina explains this concept much better than me, in one of my favorite passages.
“This is what I tell young women who ask me for career advice. People are going to try and trick you. To make you feel that you are in competition with one another. ‘You’re up for a promotion. If they go with a woman, it’ll be between you and Barbara.’ Don’t be fooled. You’re not in competition with other women. You’re in competition with everyone.” (page 88)
Man, how true is that? Why is it we feel so much more competitive with other women? This doesn’t just apply to work. Think about your friends. I bet you, consciously or not, feel competitive with another mom over things like potty training, vegetable eating or language skills. Do you ever feel competitive with another kid’s dad over these things?
But for the most part, I just laughed my ass off throughout this whole book. From her love of Photoshop (“At least with Photoshop you don’t really have to alter your body. It’s better than all those disgusting injectibles and implants. Isn’t it better to have a computer do it to your picture to have a doctor do it to your face?”) to my new favorite world — blorft (“Completely overwhelmed but proceeding as if everything is fine reacting to the stress with the torpor of a possum”), she’s just so honest about all the good, bad, ugly, scary, guilt-inducing, wonderful feelings that come with having a career and a family.
She tells these stories and I start seeing myself, but then she throws in the names Will Ferrell, Alec Baldwin or Robert DeNiro, and I realize she may be the most “normal” celebrity of all time.
As much as I loved her on SNL and of course one of my favorite shows of all time, 30 Rock, I have to admit that my favorite sections of the book involve a certain former governor of a state far, far away. Here is the epicenter of all that is great about these chapters:
“On September 3, 2008, then governor Palin accepted the vice presidential nomination. Around this same time, Orpah formally agreed to be on 30 Rock, and it was determined that my daughter’s third-birthday party would have a Peter Pan theme. Each of these events was equally important in my life.” (page 202)
Um, hello? Politics? Obsessed. Oprah? Double obsessed. Peter Pan for a third-birthday party? Been there (well, at least inspired by Peter Pan)!
I was actually crying from laughing by the time I made it through all the Palin chapters. The behind-the-scenes stories of rewrites, last-minute fittings and even Oprah basically telling her that she was overextended are priceless.
By now you get it — I love her. I truly love her. But then, just when I thought I couldn’t love her more, she blows my mind even more. To explain, let me tell you a bit about me — I was born in Williamsport, Pennsylvania. The entire side of my dad’s family and a lot of my mom’s family still lives there. My dad, stepmom and brother live there (OK, fine, they all live in Hughesville, to be specific). Williamsport is near nothing. It’s in north-central Pennsylvania. It has a population of about 30,o00 (and Hughesville’s pop is about 2,000). It’s small. No one goes there except for the Little League World Series every summer.
I lived there until I was 12, the moved to Allentown, Pa., which is about 45 minutes north of Philadelphia.
Let me tell you about Tina. She also grew up in southeastern PA, just outside Philly. Even that tenuous connection made me feel like we were sorta from the same area. But then she started talking about their annual drives across Pennsylvania to spend Christmases in Ohio with her husband’s family. Then she dropped this bomb on me — “Last year, determined to “save” the full 80 W drive until our daughter can really appreciate it in twenty years or so, I made a new pitch: let’s meet in the middle. We chose Williamsport, Pennsylvania.”
OHMYGOD. She describes how much fun they had at the Holiday Inn with its indoor swimming pool. Been there! Dining at the Red Lobster and her love for the cheddar biscuits. Check and check! I’ve eaten there many a time (that was saved for “fancy” events, like birthdays) and Katy knows all about my obsession for those biscuits. But here’s the kicker — “We walked around the Lycoming Mall. There was a carousel for the kids.”
Um, guess whose kid was on THAT SAME CAROUSEL LAST CHRISTMAS …
Sorry this got so lengthy. There are a lot of my favorite parts I didn’t even touch on (her awkward teen years and her tips for raising a daughter to make it to adulthood a virgin — I’ll be re-reading those sections over the years!). Even if you don’t consider yourself a big Tina fan, do yourself a favor and pick up the book. If for no other reason, it was perfectly written for busy women — the chapters are short and you can pretty much read them in any order. Perfect bathroom or carpool line reading!
Who’s your idol? I think you all know who mine is!