Title: Yes Please
Author: Amy Poehler
Honestly speaking (or writing?), I really liked this book, I enjoyed it, but I wasn't blown away by it. It wasn't really what I expected, which isn't necessarily a bad thing, but as the unexpected seemed to fall a little flat sometimes, it lessened my enjoyment of it slightly. I should disclose that I listened to this book as opposed to actually reading it. I haven't listened to a book in years and I'd heard that Yes Please, being read by Amy Poehler herself, was a good audiobook to get. I think this added to the enjoyment of the book.
Now I may not have loved it, but there were quite a few things I really liked about the book. Some parts of it really resonated with me.
In one of the beginning chapters, Amy writes: "I had already made a decision early on that I would be a plain girl with tons of personality." She follows this up by advising "Decide what your currency is early, let go of what you'll never have. People who do this are happier and sexier." Setting aside how this advice seems to hint that being the "pretty girl" is actual currency in life, I like what it represents. Embracing who we are, what we are good at can definitely save us from pointless painful attempts at what we are not. It also speaks directly to my struggle (and I'm sure the struggle of most girls) of living in a community that places such a high bounty on "being bad" or "having a body". (Bleh!) There are quite a few moments that feel very relatable in this way, which both surprised and delighted me. Further, listening to the book added a very personal touch to the experience. I didn't feel like I was reading a book about the greatest hits or accomplishments of Amy Poehler pushed at me as a ploy to get me to purchase something or another. I felt like I was sitting in my living room with Amy while she told me her life story, finishing bottle after bottle of wine as the tales became increasingly funny along the way.
The unexpected is that Yes Please isn't clutching my stomach funny, which I expected as on the few occasions I've seen Poehler's comedy, I typically laughed my head off. But don't be fooled. There were quite a few lols and I found there was a general thread of amusement running through the book. There was an incident regarding an airplane conveyor belt that got rewound several times. A chapter entitled "The robots will kill us all" made me snort in laughter multiple times because it was so true. And a bit about Parks & Rec (which I regretfully haven't seen yet) between Poehler and creator Michael Schur is full of funny inside jokes that you don't mind because you're laughing too. Sometimes it felt like she was going off script, with funny asides and witty conversations she'd have with her guest stars, and that made it so personal. It was less like a comedian telling jokes for a laugh, and more like listening to a funny friend tell you a story. I loved that.
Yes Please worked best when it wasn't trying too hard. When it would turn on a more serious note, it sometimes felt forced or fell flat because it felt out of place with Poehler's more lighthearted voice. But when Yes Please took it easy, relying on Poehler's seemingly natural storytelling ability and easy, relatable brand of comedy, it was wonderful.
If you're thinking about reading Yes Please, you should, especially if you can get the audiobook.