Yes Please by Amy Poehler

Yes Please by Amy Poehler – fine, funny, and sincere

jennisheppardBlog, Books 2 Comments

I don’t normally read autobiographies, but over the last year or so, I’ve become intrigued by Amy Poehler.

First off, let me say, I don’t watch Parks and Rec. I don’t have cable so can’t really watch SNL. And I’ve never seen Poehler perform live.

But I loved her in Blades of Glory, (a hilarious parody of pairs figure skating you really should see), and I’ve enjoyed seeing the work she’s doing on Smart Girls At The Party, (a YouTube video series profiling real girls, followed by a dance party.)

So when my boyfriend caught me leafing through Poehler’s sort-of memoirs Yes Please in Chapters at Christmas, he knew what to do. Shamefully, it took me nine months to start reading it.

Having just finished JK Rowling’s rather serious The Casual Vacancy, I thought Yes Please would provide some much needed light relief.

And it did. This book, full of advice, regrets and reminiscences, mostly made me smile, as it flitted through silliness, heartbreak and triumph, in what was more like a series of literary comedy sketches than traditional, biographical storytelling.

My impression was of a genuine person, who wanted to get her message out there — mainly that success comes from following your passions and working your ass off forever, and that women should be ourselves and stand up more against sexist producers.

Yes Please is also the writings of someone who admitted in the foreword that she had struggled to pen this book. A couple of sections did disappoint me, like the Tina Fey chapter, which was essentially a list of why they are such great friends and the Parks and Rec chapter, which seemed overly long and presumed prior knowledge (OK, I know I’m weird for not having seen it!)

The real misstep for me though was in the last two chapters, which seemed less thought through than the rest of the book.

In the the first, Poehler shared her experiences of visiting Haiti after the earthquake. It came a little out of the blue and was necessarily, but uncharacteristically (at least for the book) quite serious. I’m not sure exactly what she could have done about this, but it just seemed an odd change of tack. Maybe it would have been better placed in the middle.

The second, and last chapter, largely preached an anti-technology rant. I couldn’t decide if this was real or not, which I guess means it was neither effective comedy nor an effective argument. Let’s face it, you’re never going to convince this geek to abandon technology, but I’m open to discussing its pitfalls properly.

Yes Please wasn’t perfect and did seem to end sort of abruptly (like this review?), but ultimately it gave me an amusing, realistic and uplifting insight into Amy Poehler’s world — and that seemed like a sincere and mostly entertaining place to be. A fine, laid-back read.

(And OK, I’ll give Parks and Rec a go!)

I want your feedback. Any thoughts, reaction, advice… Let me know in the comments below!

Comments 2

  1. @RM Nice review RM! I ended up watching Parks and Rec a bit after reading the book, and I liked it. Although her character was a little annoying, you could totally relate to the perceptions and challenges she was facing, (albeit in a very self-aware, exaggerated fashion!) I also loved the way she idolized Hillary Clinton 🙂

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