Books Culture

Tina Fey, Bossypants – Review

Yes, I know that this book was published in 2011 and that I’m late to the party but excuse me whilst I make 2015 my year of the inspirational and powerful women. I’m serious, did you see what I got for Christmas?

There's definitely a theme to my Christmas presents this year… ????

A photo posted by Hannah (@hannahwitton) on


Before I read Bossypants a friend of mine warned me. She said that unlike Amy Poehler or Mindy Kaling, the feminism in Tina Fey’s book is not funny or subtle. She’s just angry and she shoves it down your throat. This filled my head with all sorts of assumptions and prejudices before I even embarked on Bossypants, and it meant that I was hyper aware of anything she said about the way women are treated. And I hated it. I let my friend’s judgement influence mine and I really was not enjoying Bossypants. But thank goodness that Tina Fey is funny, inspiring and down to earth because she won me over even though I went in with a closed mind. Yay Tina!

Tina Fey does not shove feminism down your throat, she honestly explains the reality of being a woman in life and a woman in comedy. She’s not afraid to throw a few punches, she’s strongly opinionated and knows what she wants. I like that.

My favourite part that I think nicely sums up her attitude to being a woman in a very male dominated profession is in her love letter to Amy Poehler (I would also like to write a love letter to Amy Poehler but I doubt she’ll ever read it). She recounts a time at Saturday Night Live when Amy was doing something gross as a joke, “it was dirty, loud and ‘unladylike'”. Fellow SNL star, Jimmy Fallon told her to stop and said “I don’t like it.” Poehler’s rebuttal: “I don’t fucking care if you like it”. Poehler 1, Fallon 0. Fey says, “I think of this whenever someone says to me, ‘Jerry Lewis says women aren’t funny’. Or ‘Christopher Hitchens says women aren’t funny?’… Do you have anything to say to that? Yes. We don’t fucking care if you like it.”

This was a penny drop moment for me. Women are funny. I am funny. And I will not be judged by a group a backward men who think that their opinion makes “women aren’t funny” a universal fact. No thank you, sir. I don’t fucking care if you like it.

Tina Fey talks childhood, gay friends, being a virgin, photoshoots and photoshop, being the boss of the 200 people that 30 Rock employs, cruise ship honeymoons, family Christmas cross country driving escapades and comedy. A whole chapter is dedicated to replying to internet trolls and I wish I could respond to hate comments with the same grace, humour and wit as Tina Fey.

The bit that really hit me though was the last chapter where Fey is basically word vomiting on the pages all the thoughts going through her head about whether or not she should have a second child and what that would mean for her career and 30 Rock. I loved this chapter, it just showed that despite all the literature out there telling women that we don’t have to pick between a career and a family – we can have both, one of the most successful women out there is still having this crisis. (Although, the book is old and we now know that Tina Fey did in fact do both. Well done, Tina). But that doesn’t take away from the fact that it was something looming over her mind and causing much stress in the first place.

I don’t want to leave this review on a bit of a downer so I’ll just say that reading Bossypants led to me watching hours of SNL footage on YouTube so I would get references to things she was talking about and then just clicking on recommended videos forever and ever until the end of days. Seriously, SNL is brilliant. Why don’t we have shit like that in the UK?

Have you read Bossypants? What do you think of Tina Fey? Let me know in the comments.

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  1. I’ve read Tina’s book 2 or 3 years ago and still love it so much. Tina is one of my role models. Honestly what she had done for women in comedy is unbeliavable. She is so succesful and powerful and it’s so nice to see her accept it and be down to earth.

  2. I loved Bossypants, and I really liked your review. And I also don’t agree with your friend, she doesn’t shove feminism down your throat. She’s just awesome 🙂

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