My husband loves comedy in all forms and for this reason I’m happily exposed to Tina Fey’s body of work. As we prepare for yet another road trip, we look for an audiobook that is a compromise between my preference, Crime and Punishment, and Matt’s, The Joe Rogan Experience. I’m not a huge fan of non-fiction or comedy; but, when we agree on Tina Fey’s audiobook, Bossypants, which is narrated by the author, I’m excited. Last time we tried an audiobook in the car, the narrator was boring and hard to follow, and the attempt was a dismal failure. So, I hope the talented Ms. Fey affects the audiobook experience with her wit and likability. I’m in luck; the success Fey builds as a comedian, actress, and screenwriter using honesty and humor to comment on cultural, political, and gender issues, transfers seamlessly to her personal stories. The author guides the listener along, all the while encouraging consideration of broader issues by making jokes and inciting laughter.
In Bossypants, Fey selects relatable situations from her life that remind the listener of instances when he or she feels or felt similarly, using the awkward or uncomfortable parts of the experiences to set up funny concepts and stories. For example, she vividly describes feeling confused and misinformed as she enters puberty when her mother gives her a pamphlet to read instead of talking to her. The scene comes alive as the gifted storyteller relives it aloud for the listener, highlighting details and emotions. Most adults, remember the alienation of adolescence or the time they just knew their parents didn’t come through for them, and these common experiences, when conveyed by the author, inspire a lightness of mood. The listener reacts positively to Fey’s thoughts and memories, because he or she connects to the author’s openness and vulnerability.
Fey uses her individuality, her special lightness and humor, to comment on and encourage the listener to consider, more serious issues, such as personal and cultural conceptions of and expectations for beauty and body image. When she observes playfully that no average woman can live up to the ideal, the listener realizes that, in fact, he or she is laughing about a subject that isn’t funny at all. First, Fey recalls growing up with only blonde, flat-butted, thin-lipped, long-legged role models. Today, she says, now that multiculturalism is beautiful, a woman needs every feature of every beautiful woman to perfect- like a J Lo ass and Beyonce thighs. Again, the listener laughs along in agreement, more cautious this time, as the author makes her point. Fey continues her rant, saying that none of this applies to her. She makes a list of all the attributes she “loves” about herself, for example, back fat and a stomach that are slowly sliding together until they permanently meet and she officially becomes her mother. The listener notes, that every observation, although ridiculous and awful, is somehow true of our society’s expectations. The jokes the author makes hit close to home; they are so sad and jarring, the listener laughs. With each line, Fey makes the listener think about why he or she reacts this way-is it to hide the discomfort? Her stories and delivery lead the listener to anaylze the impact of these larger socio-cultural issues and ways he or she can relate.
Tina Fey uses her own life experiences and defining moments, to delight and entertain the listener in ways that connect him or her to the author’s stories through laughter and emotion. Her talent and fame as comedian and writer help her shine as she tackles popular issues and themes, which resonate for the listener. In the case of this actress, her audiobook stands out as an even better medium to convey her unique recollections. This book is a great choice for anyone looking to improve his or her mood and keep the brain working.