Bossypants by Tina Fey
Bossypants is the most fun biography I’ve read. As you probably know, Fey was a writer and then an actor on Saturday Night Live. She produces and stars in the TV comedy 30 Rock and has won numerous awards, including Emmys. In her autobiography, she takes a wacky look at her life. One of the best things about her is that she doesn’t take herself too seriously. She treats others kindly in her telling of growing up (well, mostly—beware if you were a girl who stole her boyfriend). Based on her own upbringing by older, loving, yet stern parents, Fey gives advice on raising “an achievement-oriented, obedient, drug-free, virgin adult.” Her love interests and honeymoon are hilarious, and her work with male comedy writers is enlightening. (OK, maybe they are a little gross.)
I asked my husband to read this book, and while he liked it, he didn’t enjoy it as much as I did because, as he said, its audience is women and girls. I think that’s true. This is really a feminist book, couched in comedic riffs on gender-based issues and raising children. Fey has a lot of great advice for girls who will soon go to college or enter the workplace. Granted, she doles it out with some off-color language and some bawdy stories, but her points are well-taken. I think one of the most important is this: male coworkers will always question what you do and tell you they don’t like what you do. If the man is your boss, you have to figure out how to get through that. But if the man who questions you or your motives is just another coworker, you just need to tell him that you don’t care what he thinks about what you do or say. That’s advice I wish I’d had as a young woman, new in the working world.
Some teachers have asked students to read a biography by a famous American. Unfortunately, students can usually only think of two famous Americans and everyone tries to get the same two books. So, when you get this assignment, think about Bossypants. It’s a lot if fun and Fey’s advice is pretty solid.