This is a bit of a departure for me. Followers of this blog have probably already figured out that I don’t read a ton of nonfiction. (I think I’ve posted on a grand total of two nonfiction titles in the past five years–Snow Falling in Spring and Four Perfect Pebbles. I should be ashamed…but I’m not.) Anyway, when my book club decided to have everyone read different nonfiction titles for our January meeting, I knew I’d have to stretch myself a bit.
I’d seen a few reviews for Tina Fey’s Bossypants throughout the past couple of years–and I think Tina Fey is one of the funniest women in the world–so I decided to make this book my nonfiction pick for book club. That was a great decision. I zoomed through this book, and I was actually disappointed when it ended. Tina Fey’s voice comes through so clearly in this book that I felt like I was sitting in my living room having a conversation with her.
Fey is absolutely hilarious, but she also explores some issues that are common to working women–dealing with sexism in the workplace, the importance placed on appearance, and balancing career and family. (I may be single and childless, but even I have to remind myself to work less and spend more time with my family.) She talks about her family, how she got started in comedy, and writing/performing for Saturday Night Live and 30 Rock. I thought the process that went into her performance as Sarah Palin was especially enlightening!
In some ways, Bossypants is a look at the differences between women and men in power. Tina Fey, in my opinion, is a power player in the world of comedy. Does that mean that she’s held to the same standards as the men around her? Not exactly. But I think Fey is doing everything she can to make the ground more level for other women in comedy…and society as a whole. If you don’t believe me, watch Mean Girls and see if you can figure out what the basic message of that movie is!
While Bossypants does address some hot-button issues, even the most serious of topics are treated with Fey’s trademark humor. I appreciate that, and given that this book is a best-seller, a lot of other readers enjoy it too!
Now, normally the books I review are intended for YA or middle grade audiences. This one is a little different. Can some teen readers handle something like Bossypants? Sure! What about middle school students? Not so much. I would give this book to teens who are a little more mature, don’t mind colorful language, and understand wry humor. Having worked with high school students, I realize that narrows things down a bit.
This foray into nonfiction has proven so successful that I may read more of it in the future. For now, though, it’s back to stuff that is pretty far removed from reality…or is it?