Sunday, May 08, 2011

Mother's Day Post: Read Tina Fey's Book

Tina Fey has written a book about her life, called Bossypants. Mother's Day is almost over but if you have not yet found a gift for your mother, or if you are a mother and did not get any presents you like, consider buying this book.

It is not an autobiography in the traditional sense. The chapters bounce around a little in time. It is more a collection of essays about her life. She grew up in the Philadelphia suburban area, Upper Darby to be exact. She was involved in area theater while in high school. She writes about important influence her father, always referred to as Don Fey, had on her life. Her mother sometimes acted as a translator and intermediary for teachers and the Greek immigrant community. In one example given a teacher asks Mrs. Fey to tell a mother that her child is disruptive. Mrs. Fey tells the mother the teacher says her son is a good boy, because she knew an accurate translation would bring punishment to the boy. We also learn that Greek families bought Italian cakes for children's birthday parties not for the taste but because it was the most expensive item in the bakery and was a sign of social status and financial stability. Fey also recounts driving across Pennsylvania at the holidays so she and her husband can both visit their families.

While I enjoyed the local flavor what I enjoyed more was Fey's chapters on being a woman in television. She has worked behind the cameras as well as in front of them. She writes about her "Saturday Night Live" years, as well as what she learned there from Lorne Michaels. She also writes about her various roles (creator, writer, actress) at "30 Rock."

It is not a gossip book (though there is a little of that -- such as her meeting with Sarah Palin) or a feminist manifesto, though I enjoyed the inclusion of comments about her left at websites and her responses to them. It is clearly written by a woman and I loved reading such a book from a female perspective.

The books' tone reminds me of Steve Martin's autobiography, but also Gilda Radner's. It has the light touch and humor of both.

In short, buy this book.

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