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Bossypants by Tina Fey This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.

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No surprise here: Tina Fey, whose screenwriting spans “Saturday Night Live,” “Mean Girls,” and “30 Rock,” has quite a knack for writing.

Borrowing from her background as a sketch comedian and a scriptwriter, Fey pens Bossypants as something resembling a two-hour “SNL” script: an amalgam of short personal anecdotes ranging from two to 30 pages.

These tales are not without their share of discomfort. Still, from clothes that don't fit (“The stylist has been given your sizes ahead of time and has chosen to ignore them”) to photos that no longer look human (“In an effort to remove dark circles, they take out any depth, and your face looks like it was drawn on a paper plate”), Fey proves that she can find the humor in any scenario.

This book isn't just a memoir – it's improv, written in the same tone of makeshift brilliance that makes sketch comedy such a consistent hit. Sprinkled with both sarcasm and wit, Fey's memoir shuns the vulnerable soul-searching that we've come to expect from celebrity autobiographies. Fey's countless Alec Baldwin references might even leave some readers feeling like Michael Scott from The Office: “I love inside jokes. I'd love to be a part of one some day.”

Though Bossypants' self-deprecation does run along the edge of excess, its most uncomfortable moments also make for Fey's best writing. In the chapter that covers dress sizes and Photoshop, she writes: “Let me be completely honest here. Publicity and press junkets are part of the job. Your work is what you really care about because your work is your craft and your craft is your art and photo shoots are THE FUNNEST!” Some will delight in her frequent references to Chicago favorites the El, Second City, and Northwestern University. She even reveals that Evanston lent both the setting and inspiration for her cult classic “Mean Girls.” Quoth Fey: “It's hopefully playing on TBS right now!”

Still, what Bossypants lacks in terms of sincere soul-searching and tell-all sensationalism, it more than makes up for with Fey's knack for fast-paced humor and commendable willingness to acknowledge that, well, she's not just like us. Nevertheless, Fey gives readers a relatable glimpse into her intimate struggles with stress and imperfection.

Bottom line: Fey borrows from her improv and writing background to craft a fast-paced, funny read. Just like her shows, Bossypants is not quite a memoir and not quite a satire – but she still makes it work.

This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.




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KatsK This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. said...
Mar. 23, 2012 at 9:33 pm:
Sounds cool-- I'll try to obtain it somehow. I'm always on the look for new books. Good article:)
 
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