Tina Fey Memoir: A Funny Failure?

Critics divided over Bossypants as autobiography
By Matt Cantor,  Newser User
Posted Apr 4, 2011 8:52 AM CDT
The book's cover.   (Amazon.com)
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(Newser) – It’s no surprise that Tina Fey’s autobiography, Bossypants, is hilarious; on that much critics agree. But there’s some dissent over whether it does its job as a memoir:

  • “The most successful autobiographies demand a certain amount of psychic heavy lifting, risk taking, and interrogation of one’s ideas; Fey will have none of it,” writes Anna Holmes in Newsweek. “Edging up to difficult truths and skipping away may make for sophisticated sitcoms, but it doesn’t make for satisfying memoir writing.”

  • In the New York Times, Janet Maslin agrees that it "isn’t a memoir"—but that’s fine. "It’s a spiky blend of humor, introspection, critical thinking and Nora Ephron-isms for a new generation."
  • Writing in Slate, Katie Roiphe says Fey is taking a hard look at things—through the lens of humor. "Fey's strategy for dealing with everything from entrenched discrimination to garden-variety chauvinism is to write a joke, a better joke than the other people in the room."
  • Mary McNamara has few qualms in the Los Angeles Times. "Everything you would hope for from this book—it's impossible to put down, you will laugh until you cry, you will wish it were longer, you can't wait to hand it to every friend you have—is true."

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