First of all, I want to begin by saying that I love Tina Fey, so I started the book with a bias.
But, honestly, it is the only book to make me literally laugh out loud, or LOL, as we frequently use but not mean literally. Sometimes I do, but that’s not the point.
The point is that I really did love this book. Tina Fey has a very natural writing style with great comedic timing. She makes heart-wrenching topics like falling off the side of a mountain (FYI, it wasn’t her) or having children easier to cope with because she writes with honesty and a sense of humor. We all have to laugh at ourselves. If we take ourselves too seriously, then we’re just depressed. But I also think she does it tastefully. There’s a very fine line between looking back and laughing at your mistakes in a healthy way versus laughing at yourself because you have self-esteem issues.
Additionally, she does bring up issues of sexism in the workplace, specifically that stereotype that “women aren’t funny”. An example she brings up is how in her improv group, the companies were typically 4 men and 2 women. When it was suggested to make them gender equal (3 men and 3 women), the producers and directors were not happy:
“You can’t do that. There won’t be enough parts to go around. There won’t be enough for the girls.” This made no sense to me, probably because I speak English and have never had a head injury… The insulting implication, of course, was that the women wouldn’t have any ideas. (p 87)
I think many women have had an experience similar to that. I know I have. I have been in many a male-dominated industry.
“Ugh, women bass players are the WORST!”
“Women aren’t good DPs [directors of photography].”
While it may be true that more women than men would find the book appealing, I also think that it would be a good read for men. Sure, there may be some material that is unrelatable, like the issues of motherhood or that fear of when you think you’ve lost your tampon string, but every man knows a woman. And, who knows, they may actually realize something about themselves (like finding out you’ve said something sexist and hurtful yourself).
The most inspiring part of her book is when she talks about moments when she was a bitch to other women. We, women, are all guilty of this. Somehow, either innately or by nurture, we turn on eachother. Maybe a beautiful blonde stole your boyfriend (like in Tina Fey’s case) or maybe you felt threatened by another woman’s success in something else. Either way, it takes maturity to admit your wrong-doings, and I applaud Tina Fey’s courage to talk about it and the feelings of guilt and shame that come along with that realization.
Whether you were already a fan of Tina Fey or not, I encourage everybody to read this book. Go to your public library, your local second-hand book store, borrow it from a friend, or just buy it brand spankin’ new. Existing fans will watch reruns of SNL and 30 Rock with a new sense of appreciation. Perhaps you’ll watch Mean Girls for the zillionth time and understand it a little better. People who are new to Tina Fey will want to watch the shows and movies she has worked on (which by the way are available on Netflix, Amazon Prime, and Hulu).
Go ahead and read her book. If you hate it, you can blame it on me.