The Story Of This Story: “Bossypants”


Today heralds another of Heave’s new columns, The Story Of This Story, in which staff writer Marissa Morales takes a look at new, old and otherwise interesting books in closer detail every Thursday. This week: Tina Fey’s Bossypants.

In honor of the return of 30 Rock, I think it’s time to reflect on a great piece of literature: Tina Fey’s Bossypants. The memoir touches on a bit of everything: The Scar, the SNL years, Palin, 30 Rock, and Oprah. (And yes ladies, there’s even a brief paragraph on Donald Glover.) More importantly though, it’s not a memoir in the vein of “Oh, how I suffered to get where I am…” or any of that nonsense. It reads like Tina is talking to you, relaying tales of nearly dying on a cruise ship on her honeymoon. When she talks about working at YMCA here in Chicago, you feel her pain. Yes Tina, we know all too well the trauma of taking an early L train and enduring a Chicago winter.

When Fey discusses her childhood and formative years, it is quite literally pee-inducing. You assume someone like Fey would have an awkward phase, but what’s better is the photographic evidence. The memoir is peppered with childhood images, as well as images from her college years. The section on her father, Don Fey (best name), was a standout to me. I too have a formidable looking father, and could relate to the sheer intimidation that such can be to outsiders. It is a great glimpse into what created such a stand-up woman.

Fey taps into the female psyche in such a real way that it’s easy to forget this is the same brain that wrote Mean Girls, which gets the briefest of mentions. This is a shame to me because it has become such a cult film to a lot of the girls I grew up with; we knew EXACTLY what La Lohan was going through. It is relatable on the frightening level that Bridesmaids is for those same girls who are now watching friends walk down the aisle. But I digress. The most stand out section of the book, to me, was “The Mother’s Prayer for Her Daughter.” This is something I will be framing for my future child, and will hang above her bed, lest she ever forget that “I will not have that shit. I will not have it.” She discusses the things she wants (and does not) for her daughter, or I guess daughters now. While they are said with a humor pure Fey, there’s a lot of truth to what she is saying. Which of course makes her all the more endearing.

There’s also mention of her close friend, and fellow badass, Amy Poehler. Without giving too much of the story away, there’s a great story about Poehler and Jimmy Fallon, and Poehler eventually telling him “I don’t fucking care if you like it.” What I wouldn’t give to have been in the room for that. And for the Chicago comedy nerds, there’s even a bit on the inner workings of Second City, which eliminates all glamour of what you thought it could be. When Fey talks about how 30 Rock came to be, you gain an all new appreciation for how and why that show is so amazing.

What it comes down to is that Tina Fey is a She-ro, in the truest sense of the word. I mean, I doubt Oprah goes around telling most people they look like they could use a break. Tina Fey has become not only a She-ro to us all, but a sex symbol, which as a fellow nerd, I think is pretty fucking awesome. Let’s hear it for the awkward chicks who have no shame!