Although I went in fully prepared to find this book at least mildly irritating (à la The Bedwetter by Sarah Silverman, or pretty much anything by Chelsea Handler, whose titles are always better than her books), Bossypants turned out to be an entertaining read that's perfect for a weekend chuckle or to unwind with before bedtime.
Tina Fey starts off by describing her early years as a half-Greek doof growing up in Pennsylvania (the back cover photo is priceless). After a theatre-geeky romp through college, Fey moved to Chicago, studying and performing improv with the venerable Second City troupe. It was there that she met a fellow named Adam McKay, who was then head writer for Saturday Night Live (Fey met quite a few other notables here, too, including her future husband Jeff Richmond). McKay encouraged Fey to submit some scripts to the show. She did and landed a writing gig on SNL, eventually becoming head writer herself and moving in front of the camera to co-anchor the popular "Weekend Update" segment.
One of the highlights of the book is the glimpse the reader gets into the boys' club of television writing, as seen through the eyes of the only chick in the room. But despite her shockingly low testosterone levels, Tina went on to write a little screenplay called Mean Girls and a TV pilot called 30 Rock, which begat many Emmys, which begat more movie work, which begat her transformation into Miss Bossypants herself - that ultra-rare creature who can write her own ticket in a business that seldom affords women such power.
Fey's voice on the page will be familiar to fans of her work - it's smart, funny and tetchy enough to throw down an f-bomb if the situation calls for it. She covers such topics as friendship (with nods to chums like Amy Poehler), the joy and irksome controversy of being a working mom, and what it's like to be a lady boss in a man's industry.
Though the book is fun to read, it is also often substantive without being preachy or tiresome. For example, it's wonderful to hear Fey's rallying cry to women with show business aspirations; she advises them to get in, get successful and get busy hiring other smart, funny, capable women. Ah, the secrets of world domination.
In the end, Fey proves that sometimes following your own dorky star can pay off, leading to success, professional fulfillment and maybe even a soupçon of happiness. Rock on, T!