I have been immersed in Tina Fey’s world. Reading her memoir, Bossypants and enjoying the whole first series of her creation, 30 Rock for a second time. The Tina of the book seems very similar to Liz Lemon of the show. This is the (very) public Tina, not an introspective, deep and meaningful assessment of her story thus far. Which is fair enough – deeper life lessons are more appropriate for later assessments than Tina’s current age, whatever that is. She says 40 in the book, but some reviews say 38.
I don’t agree with reviews that have criticised this book for its lack of personal revelation and lack of depth. It is what it is, a quick run through of where Tina came from and how she got to her current pinnacle with bits and pieces of advice as she sees fit. I like her rules for successful improvisation – which can be summed up as give it a go. Which could just as easily be a rule for life. And her ruminations on the lot of working mothers are perceptive.
I do, however, understand why some people might not enjoy the journey. There are bits of crassness, crudity and general smart aleckness that some may not enjoy – a few bits that I didn’t like much. What I really like is that underneath all that American sassiness, beats a straight up and down feminist heart. The message is packaged in a modern, quirky way; but the message is a serious one. Right from the design of the book – ugly (well, certainly huge!) male arms and torso with the petite head of Tina atop – what does that mean? Well I think it’s the start of her response to the question everyone keeps asking her – what is it like to be a woman in a mans world. Answer (maybe) you have to act a bit like a man – but be true to yourself. Tina observes the treatment of women, doesn’t generalize about men (or women for that matter) and recognises the complexity of ascribing different treatment to discrimination. But she is savage about blatant sexism and misogyny. She is very good on the cultures (like pissing in cups) that exclude (women and some men) and she cheers when women stand up for themselves. She also tells you quite a bit about the television industry, which is interesting, and about 30 Rock which for afficiandos is interesting and about the cheating involved (via photoshop) in all those glamour shots in film and tv magazines.
I agree with the conclusion of this reviewthat the message is worth the price of the book. Women stand up for yourselves, don’t accept sexism and be kind to yourselves. This book will take that message to lots of young women who might not otherwise hear it.
It may not be as revealing as you’d want and it reads sometimes like a string of gags, and it’s a bit lumpy about what episodes it concentrates on – too much about the cruise! (but that might be revealing something about Tina after all) and a bit ‘in house’ about SNL for people (like me) who haven’t ever seen it.
But I like this book, I like the show and I like Tina and I’m glad she’s having another baby.
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