With my train running 25 minutes late with little cushion to transfer to the only ferry that would get me to my destination in time for dinner, I walked calmly to the bookstore to see what might keep me entertained and relaxed. I picked up Tina Fey’s memoir entitled, Bossypants.
I didn’t know what to expect from the book but it was perfect for the ride that got me to the ferry 10 minutes before it departed. I had heard good things and obviously I think that Tina Fey a genius and I assume that our love for donuts is at least one thing we have common. (That one episode of 30 Rock where Salma Hayek worked at Dunkin’ Donuts and said the customers at DD were really sad – cue to Liz Lemon in a DD asking, “What time do you hand out free donuts?” – that is me. No shame.)
I may have expected more of a narrative arc – Fey doesn’t talk about why she wanted to be an actor or comedy writer and how she accomplished these goals but Bossypants seems to be an honest telling of important moments in her life. She reflects on moments with injustices done to her, injustices she imposed on other people, and the way things are and how she’s trying to change that. In this book, she seems to be letting people know that she’s strong enough to not take shit from people but also vulnerable enough that she will cry and doesn’t always know the right answer. Then she puts everything in perspective with a joke.
I think the best lessons came from the last few chapters when Fey talks about SNL, 30 Rock, SNL as Sarah Palin, and her daughter. She talks about the crazy schedules and what it was like to be in demand. She (surprisingly) apologizes for her “Bitch is the New Black” story on Weekend Update, saying it came out “punchy” – that it was not her intention to endorse Hillary Rodham Clinton* but to point out that “America seemed more comfortable with a male minority candidate than a white female candidate.” Fey finally got her point across in a skit written by Seth Meyers with Fey as Palin and Amy Poehler as HRC in a press conference. Basically, as Fey points out, they were trying to show how sexist people were being in different ways to these two women – one as a barbie and the other as a bitch – and how they should have been treated like any male candidate, asking what their credentials were. It took some time to get this right, but Fey and her colleagues got their point across.
So, all in all, as I read this book during my travels (I made every train and ferry and even got to ride a moped at my destination!) I couldn’t help but feel empowered. I now realize that I can eat donuts AND conquer the world!