Yes Pleaseby Amy Poehler Published 28 Oct 2014
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In Amy Poehler’s highly anticipated first book, Yes Please, she offers up a big juicy stew of personal stories, funny bits on sex and love and friendship and parenthood and real life advice (some useful, some not so much), like when to be funny and when to be serious. Powered by Amy’s charming and hilarious, biting yet wise voice, Yes Please is a book full of words to live by.
"Yes Please" Reviews
Whelp, look for a flood of reviews coming in, cleaning out my bedroom/office before I go on the road for book tour! That also includes a lot of autobiographies I read as research/pleasure in the last year, preparing and writing my book that I need to add to Goodreads.
I had to cut myself off from reading books in this category, actually, because I started getting intimidated and comparing my structure/writing to other peoples' autobiography structure/writing which only served to paralyze me and make me play video games instead of getting my own draft done. So I binged a lot of books the last few months in this category because my book is done and almost out and I can now lift the comparison stuff from my thoughts. Er. Kinda.
Amy Poehler is a goddess to me, and since her company and my company are both owned by Legendary and we're in the same building, i always have this faint hope I'll see her and bump into her somewhere and be able to say, "Hey, my company is near your company, we're company buddies!" It hasn't happened. So this book is my conduit to her, and it is a pretty great one.
Her life is amazing, and especially her love of improv is something I share, so reading about how she built UCB with such a cool community was inspiring. How she's stuck to her guns a lot, how she got help in the writing because things were so crazy, with friends doing guest chapters and stuff. I loved the variety and the pictures (although the one thing I will say that's negative is this book is HEAVY! It's printed on like 1000lb paper so if an intruder enters your home, look to this as a defense weapon.) Anyway, if you are interested in Amy then this is a book worth getting. Also: Her hair is entirely on point in the cover. Jelly.
This was pretty good! 😄
I have the paperback but I listened to it on audio. She read the book herself and I love that. You get all of the true feelings when they read their own work.
I loved looking at all of the pictures in the book as well. My copy is a small paperback and it has those soft glossy pages that you love to snif. 😄 And all bookaholics know what I mean. I actually sat down my phone to sniff the book again while reviewing. 😂
The book is set up in different sections as well. I have to admit I have ne we watched Parks and Recreation but I did add it to my Netflix to see if I would like it.
There is this part in the book where she is talking about back in the day. I was like, OMG, I should get out my old pics! 😂
The eighties were a strange time for teenage fashion. We wore silk blouses and shoulder pads, neon earrings and jodhpur pants. Come to think of it, our pants were especially weird. We also wore stirrup pants, parachute pants, and velvet knickers. It was a real experimental pant time. We curled our hair and sprayed it until it was crunchy and high. We wore jewel tones and too much makeup. With the exception of a few naturally beautiful girls who knew how to balance all of these elements, we looked ridiculous.
Overall, I enjoyed the book!
It breaks my heart to give this book one star.
I love Amy Poehler. In fact I love every member of that early two-thousands (the decade, not the century) female Saturday Night Live cast ensemble: Poehler, Fey, Rudolph, Dratch.
I often mentally include Kristen Wiig in the mix, too, because she’s fantastic, but she was sort of late to the party, having joined SNL a year before Dratch and Fey left.
But as I was saying, I think highly of Poehler. I enjoy her comedy, her intelligence, her personality overall. But I didn’t like this book.
To me, Yes Please reads more like a scatterbrained diary than the well-crafted memoir I had been hoping for. Very little of the book seems to have been composed with any forethought; it’s as though Poehler were performing improv in “lit” form. Except while she may be a master of the art on a stage, her improvisational talent doesn’t really migrate to the written page. Her stories meander along without any real segue between them, each having a very “oh and by the way” aspect to it. Maybe it was meant to be random and incoherent but it just didn’t work for me.
At one point in the book Poehler mentions her addiction to self-googling, so in many ways I am hoping she doesn’t stumble across this review because I’d hate to imagine her feelings being hurt by it, so maybe it’s best that no one votes for it.
In other words, do what you guys normally do.
No, thank you.
I was supposed to love this book and as I always do when I find myself super disappointed, I looked back through other reviews to see if I was alone. I don't think I am alone, but no one is expressing my disappointment quite how I need it to be expressed, so I get to do that myself this time around.
I just kept waiting... and waiting... and waiting. The moment it was going to get good and awesome had to be right around the corner! Soon I would get past all the filler and all the fluff and dig into the heart of the book! It would be so great! I was so excited!
And then I realized I had under fifty pages left.
In the book, I waded through:
A lot of celebrity name droppingI never figured out if it was supposed to be ironic, sarcastic, cute... I'm not sure. There is no way to do this that isn't obnoxious. Even with a disclaimer about it being obnoxious, it is still obnoxious. If you genuinely, really need to tell a story about your friend who happens to be a famous celebrity person, and they are really a part of the story, by all means, please tell it. But if there is no story, or one that is only half-told or glossed over.... There is no point.
A lot of filler. Her parents wrote parts of it. And then some other dude wrote part of it. And then there was a chapter of footnotes as a joke, which was super funny back in 1990 something, but which really just take up space and make reading difficult. Lists! Copy pasted emails! There was a lot of writing about writing a book. Hey, Amy? JUST DO THE THING.
A lot of confusion: Stories started and stopped. Kindergarten, mid-twenties, what? Are we going back to kindergarten? Did I miss something? Is that thread going to be picked up again? How does this connect? TRANSITION SENTENCES WOULD HELP.
A lot of trying to be funny... and not being funny. Which is weird because I think Amy is a very funny person. But the book comes off as cloying, it's too much "THIS IS FUNNY" and not enough content. It feels like trying (and also not trying at the same time. Maybe this book is better than I thought because that really is a momentous feat). Maybe it just didn't translate well to print. I don't know.
The highlight of the book for me was the mention of Gavin de Becker's The Gift of Fear. Because that book is fantastic and true. I like that Amy pointed out exactly why it is awesome and why the situation with the producer was uncomfortable (she said no, he kept asking). De Becker has helped me to identify these little things that feel "off" to me and allowed me to pinpoint why, so I appreciate this type of thing. But now, I'm reviewing The Gift of Fear instead of this book. And if that's my main takeaway, something is wrong.
I picked this up after having listened to Seriously... I'm Kidding on audio and feeling in the mood for something similar to cheer me up while having that damned cold. Also known as: part-two-of-feeling-terrible-and-wanting-an-audiobook-to-cheer-me-up-when-I-don’t-have-the-energy-to-read-actual-words.
I don’t why it took me so long to realize that listening to memoirs on audio is a genius move. It made me rethink a lot past choices of reading the book instead of listening to it…
I feel like if I’d read Yes Please by myself, I wouldn’t have enjoyed it even one little bit.
But while I loved how the way the audiobook was constructed, I can't ignore that I didn't care for the contents of this book.
Amy Poehler is, of course, extremely privileged in numerous aspects, and I knew this going into her writing. However, it continually exasperated me how in one essay the author would address her privilege, but then completely disregard it in the next while complaining about her #whitepeopleproblems. I feel like she's the definition of a White Feminist™ and/ or problematic fave. Not my fave, but still.
I'd really recommend reading this incredible article that takes the time to discuss the ways white feminists are hurting feminism.
That's not to say that all the essays in Yes Please were bad--a number (two) of them weren't... mostly because they weren't focused on Amy Poelher. They rest just came off as extremely pretentious and high-key offensive (I feel like she genuinely believes that white people experience racism........they don't).
So I'd like to talk about the essays that made me think for awhile there that this book was going to go places:
Sorry, Sorry, Sorry:
By far, this was one of the most raw essays I read in this book. In Sorry, Sorry, Sorry, Poehler takes the time to discuss taking responsibility for past mistakes made. I was left truly speechless upon finishing it.
The funny thing is, before reaching this part, I was thinking of putting the book down; I wasn't feeling that invested in it. At the last minute something compelled me to put on the audiobook while waiting for a movie to load... long story long, that movie was forgotten about for a couple of hours.
Not going to lie, I loved getting to read about Amy Poehler owning up to her ignorance and mistakes in this essay. Even more so for the fact that instead of putting the focus on herself, she lifted up the voices of those she hurt and gave them the platform to discuss and be heard in this book read by thousands and thousands.
I particularly loved this next part that was taken from an email Anastasia Somoza, one of the kindest souls I've read about, sent in response to Amy's apology about the offensive SNL skit:
“That being said, Chris, Marianne, my family and I have worked tirelessly to make equal opportunity, the inclusion and positive portrayal of people with disabilities in society the norm rather than the exception. As such, I was upset more generally speaking, about the skit contributing to a severe lack of knowledge, awareness, understanding and empathy around disability. Too many people already fear, and are often disgusted or put off in other ways by disability and it saddened me to think of the impact the skit may have had in adding fuel to that fire.”
Needless to say, Anastasia and Marianne completely shifted something inside of me. I'm eternally grateful that they were voiced in here.
Let’s Build a Park:
The one essay I was most exited about that talked about everything in regards to Parks and Recreation. Also, I’VE NEVER SMILED SO MUCH WHILE READING AN ESSAY BEFORE. I loved how you could truly feel the passion and appreciation Poehler has for her character, Leslie Knope, and everyone that worked on the show.
I was also interested in finding out more about my favorite power couple: Donna Meagle and Tom Haverford. And I did, in moderation, but I still did.
If one thing, this made me realize a rewatch was in order. And maybe also picking up Aziz Ansari's Modern Romance very soon!
However, enjoying only two essays out of twenty-seven cannot save a whole book for me.
To be frank, I'm still a bit let down because I went into this with an open mind, but was reminded time and again how astoundingly obtuse the author could be. I mean, how can you spend twenty something minutes talking about something as important as supporting nonprofits, and then turn around and spend the last valuable minutes of your book talking about why you hate your phone and social media and how hard it is to constantly be on in......
I'm thankfully quickly getting to forget everything that was said in this book, which is kind of a blessing in disguise at this point.
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AMY IS INCREDIBLE. She is hilarious and down-to-earth and isn't afraid to admit her faults. I really enjoy her and I enjoyed this book.