Chris's Reviews > Bossypants

Bossypants by Tina Fey
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's review
May 22, 2011

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The title typifies Fey's dilemma when confronting this book: do I retell my life for inspiration or guffaws? A humorist at heart, Tina nonetheless wanted to give us insight into the challenges of breaking into comedy as a woman (à la Gail Collins "When Everything Changed") while also making us pee our pants with laughter.

The resulting work serves neither goal entirely satisfactorily. Rather than crafting complex stories in which jokes develop organically--through the interplay of characters or turns of events--Fey elects to relate mostly breezy anecdotes related in the style of a stand-up monologue. As a consequence, the stories feel secondary to the laughs; the intended theme of making it as a woman in a man's world is marginalized, and has all the heft of a Newsweek interview.

"Summer Showtime" is the exception where theme, humor, and plot worked together to meet her competing goals. Otherwise, tales of hyperbolic cruise-ship mayhem and road trips with the family unintentionally serve as metaphors for Fey's stories: vehicles for jokes and little else.

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