As I’ve mentioned before here on the blog, I don’t really pick up memoirs unless I like the person writing them… which is an odd 180 degrees from my attitude towards fiction, where I only pick up books if the story sounds interesting. But this summer, there are two celebrity memoirs that have caught my eye—and I can’t wait to pick them up.
Bossypants by Tina Fey
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.
(Includes Special, Never-Before-Solicited Opinions on Breastfeeding, Princesses, Photoshop, the Electoral Process, and Italian Rum Cake!)
I actually wasn’t going to read Bossypants until I chanced upon an excerpt playing around with a Nook at the local Books-a-Million while waiting for a friend. In it, Fey gracefully slid from discussing how sexual harassment is often the way a woman feels initiated into womanhood (rather than anything positive, like menarche or personal achievements) to discussing a truly awesome white polyester suit she owned as a teenager. I knew I had to read it.
Swapna at S. Krishna’s Books enjoyed it—in her eyes, it was more intelligent than gutbustingly funny, which is a good thing. Michelle at That’s What She Read, however, found herself crying with laughter in public (she was listening to the audiobook).
Bossypants was published on April 5.
Nerd Do Well by Simon Pegg
The unique life story of one of the most talented and inventive comedians, star of Shaun of the Dead, Hot Fuzz, and Star Trek.
Zombies in North London, death cults in the West Country, the engineering deck of the Enterprise: actor, comedian, writer and self-proclaimed supergeek Simon Pegg has been ploughing some bizarre furrows in recent times. Having landed on the U.S. movie scene in the surprise cult hit Shaun of the Dead, his enduring appeal and rise to movie star with a dedicated following has been mercurial, meteoric, megatronic, but mostly just plain great.
From his childhood (and subsequently adult) obsession with science fiction, his enduring friendship with Nick Frost, and his forays into stand-up comedy which began with his regular Monday morning slot in front of his twelve-year-old classmates, Simon has always had a severe and dangerous case of the funnies.
Whether recounting his experience working as a lifeguard at the city pool, going to Comic-Con for the first time and confessing to Carrie Fisher that he used to kiss her picture every night before he went to sleep, or meeting and working with heroes that include Peter Jackson, Kevin Smith, and Quentin Tarantino, Pegg offers a hilarious look at the journey to becoming an international superstar, dotted with a cast of memorable characters, and you’re rooting for him all the way.
One of us! One of us! I’d go on, but this is really a no-brainer for me—Simon Pegg, who wrote one of my favorite movies ever (Hot Fuzz), writing about his own adventures in fandom and life in general? Count me in.
Adam at The Wertzone found it readable, but was dismayed to discover that Pegg glosses over a lot of his own work in order to focus on his fairly average upbringing. Florinda at The 3 R’s Blog enjoyed it, but had much the same problems with it.
Nerd Do Well was published on June 9.