Audiobook Review: Bossypants

Audiobook Review: BossypantsBossypants by Tina Fey
Narrator: Tina Fey
Length: 5 hrs, 35 mins
Published by Hachette Audio on April 5, 2011
Genres: Humor, Memoir
Format: Audiobook
Source: Library
Goodreads
two-half-stars

Before Liz Lemon, before "Weekend Update," before "Sarah Palin," Tina Fey was just a young girl with a dream: a recurring stress dream that she was being chased through a local airport by her middle-school gym teacher. She also had a dream that one day she would be a comedian on TV.

She has seen both these dreams come true.

At last, Tina Fey's story can be told. From her youthful days as a vicious nerd to her tour of duty on Saturday Night Live; from her passionately halfhearted pursuit of physical beauty to her life as a mother eating things off the floor; from her one-sided college romance to her nearly fatal honeymoon—from the beginning of this paragraph to this final sentence.

Tina Fey reveals all, and proves what we've all suspected: you're no one until someone calls you bossy.

Review:
Tina Fey’s Bossypants pretty much swept every category it was part of in the Audie Awards. As such, I had pretty incredibly high expectations, only made higher by my immense respect for Tina Fey. I love 30 Rock and think she’s hilarious. Imagine my disappointment to find that I really feel meh about her audiobook, even though I got to listen to her reading it to me.

Basically, I just didn’t find this particularly funny, even though it’s clearly intended to be. The funniest part was probably one of the included SNL sketches. I maybe laughed out loud once or twice. Two of the five discs not only didn’t made me laugh, but irritated me. I guess it felt a bit like Fey was trying too hard, and the end result wasn’t funny.

Bossypants would have benefited from more of a distinct narrative ARC. Despite the title, it’s not really about leadership or work, though it pretends to be. It’s more like an overview of chapters of Tina Fey’s life. When she switches from one topic to another, there is no transition. It’s just BOOM we’re talking about this now. It’s very distracting and uneven. The topics basically break down like this:

Disc 1: Scenes from Tina’s Youth
Disc 2: Improv
Disc 3: SNL
Disc 4: 30 Rock
Disc 5: Babies

Learning more about the inner works of the entertainment industry interested me, so the middle of the audiobook was enjoyable enough. That last disc basically made me want to hurl the audiobook out the window, but then I would have had to pay the library for it, and that shit’s expensive. I kid you not that the ENTIRE last disc was about babies and breast milk. If you made a list of things that I have no interest in those would be near the top with football and hearing about old people’s medical problems.

Keeping this short, rather than being a bigger Tina Fey fan at the end of this audiobook, I’m less interested in her than I was. Tons of people have loved this, though, so who knows. Maybe if you’d not placed Tina Fey on a nerd goddess pedestal it’s better.

15 responses to “Audiobook Review: Bossypants”

  1. Steena says:

    I wonder if the medium makes a difference. I can’t imagine Fey not being an entertaining narrator but I thought this was hilarious in book form.

    It is true there is no cohesive plot arc but that didn’t bother me. I think I expect it in terms of comedic biography (Jenny Lawson’s is similarly anecdotal).

    Do you think reading it would have made any difference? Sounded less forced?

    • Christina says:

      Perhaps that might have made a difference. I don’t really know. It’s a hard call to make. I try to separate narration from the text, but I know that it’s probably impossible to do.

      My problem may have been that I expect Tina Fey to BE Liz Lemon, but she’s not. Or, it could be that I’ve never read one of these celeb bio things, so I wasn’t prepared for the format.

  2. Belle says:

    How disappointing! I’m not usually in to audio books but was thinking of getting this one because I love Tina so much. It’s a shame it doesn’t live up to expectations.

  3. Oh boo! I always laugh when I see the cover of this one so I had high hopes for the content too. I do have to say that sometimes when I see her on SNL or hosting something I get that trying too damn hard feeling too. I would have liked the parts about the inner workings of the entertainment industry too, and I probably would have found some realistic charm in the boobies and breast milk because it’s my life LOL Great review chick!

    • Christina says:

      Ha, the cover for this one CREEPS ME OUT. Since I don’t actually watch SNL or the hosting stuff, I really only know her from scripted stuff. The inner workings was cool, and, hey, if you love babies, then maybe you’d love it!

  4. erin says:

    thanks for the review! I haven’t really ventured into the world of audiobooks, so I think I’ll stick to print 🙂

  5. I LOVE Tiny Fey so it’s disappointing that you didn’t love this one. How ironic that you didn’t really find it funny. *sigh* I was unsure of picking this one up because memoirs do almost nothing for me. I think it’s safe to say I was right this time.

    • Christina says:

      Gah! I feel bad because you’re all planning to pass now, and it might be awesome for not me. However, if you don’t much love memoirs, as I don’t, then, yeah, might be the right choice. Go watch some 30 Rock instead.

  6. Lilian says:

    “Basically, I just didn’t find this particularly funny, even though it’s clearly intended to be.”
    I had the same feelings. I remember being amused, but I don’t think I laughed. Maybe we are just grouches. I did smile at her intro though (but then again, I’ve accepted that I don’t laugh easily with books.) But when I gave it to my guy friend to listen to, he was laughing out loud.

    I was never a Tina Fey fan, nor am I a 30 Rock or SNL fan. Maybe thats why I had more of a positive reaction to it than you.

    Amen about the transitions. This was also one of those books with abrupt transitions that left me thinking if my audiotrack was skipping. When I went grocery shopping with my dad, I saw Bossypants on their shelves, so I went and checked the transitions…

    Overall, I thought the audiobook started out strong, then went downhill. I don’t remember anything from the second half. Something about Sarah Palin.

    Now I am trying to remember why I gave it a B rating. *scratches head*

    Lilian @ A Novel Toybox

    • Christina says:

      Well, we’re definitely grouches, but I’ve laughed out loud at things before, and I thought this would be one of those books, you know? Janet Evanovich makes me laugh out loud. *shrugs*

      Odd that that would be true, but it would lower your expectations, which is always awesome.

      There should have been more of a narrative track to it. Sure, it moves through her life chronologically, roughly, but you lose years and it’s startling.

      Well, the last fifth is all about breastfeeding and mommy-hood. Yuck.

      O_o

    • Lilian says:

      Sophie Kinsella almost always manages to make me laugh out loud…at least she did, her last few books weren’t as funny. I tell myself once I find a decent, un-wrinkled cheap copy of One for the Money from Goodwill, I’m going to start reading Janet’s books.

      What is odd? Me ot liking SNL and 30 Rock?
      When I told my neighbor that I don’t watch 30 Rock, he gave me a “what’s wrong with you?!?!” expression.

      I think the book was just meant to be a “collection” of moments and ot meant to have a flow. I thought the last fifth was about her writing for 30rock and SNL…and something about peeing in a cup (which made me wonder…DO GUYS REALLY DO THAT??!?!.)

    • Christina says:

      I liked Kinsella way back in my chick lit phase, but it’s been awhile. YOU SHOULD. They’re silly, but they’re not meant to be serious.

      I meant odd that not being a fan of her shows would make you a bigger fan of her book.

      30 Rock is great, but it took about half a season for me to enjoy it, so I can see why some wouldn’t bother.

      Well, I don’t like the collection of moments. The peeing in a cup thing was on disc three or four. Disc five was all about babies.

      So, once, on a college road trip, we had all the girls in one car for a while and the guys in the other. The driver apparently had to pee but didn’t want to stop, so the guy in the passenger seat took the wheel and the driver peed in a cup as the car kept going down the highway. Then they called us like fifteen minutes later to stop because they couldn’t stand the smell. I hope that guys in an office building wouldn’t actually keep pee cups.

  7. Listened to it on audio, Fey the reader. GREAT stuff. Just terrific. Nice roundup. Fun to hear it in her voice.

    Marlene Detierro (Ptarmigan Alaska)

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