Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Review: Yes Please

Summary: Do you want to get to know the woman we first came to love on Comedy Central's Upright Citizens Brigade? Do you want to spend some time with the lady who made you howl with laughter on Saturday Night Live, and in movies like Baby Mama, Blades of Glory, and They Came Together? Do you find yourself daydreaming about hanging out with the actor behind the brilliant Leslie Knope on Parks and Recreation? Did you wish you were in the audience at the last two Golden Globes ceremonies, so you could bask in the hilarity of Amy's one-liners?

If your answer to these questions is "Yes Please!" then you are in luck. In her first book, one of our most beloved funny folk delivers a smart, pointed, and ultimately inspirational read. Full of the comedic skill that makes us all love Amy, Yes Please is a rich and varied collection of stories, lists, poetry (Plastic Surgery Haiku, to be specific), photographs, mantras and advice. With chapters like "Treat Your Career Like a Bad Boyfriend," "Plain Girl Versus the Demon" and "The Robots Will Kill Us All" Yes Please will make you think as much as it will make you laugh. Honest, personal, real, and righteous, Yes Please is full of words to live by. -- Dey Street Books

At last year's BEA (2014!), one of the books that I knew I wanted to read was YES PLEASE by Amy Poehler. I loved Ms. Poehler on Saturday Night Live, and the folks at Dey Street shared that she was really down-to-earth and actually wrote her own book. After enjoying her friend Tina Fey's book BOSSYPANTS a few years ago, I thought YES PLEASE would be a good fit for me... and for the most part, it was.

YES PLEASE is a funny look at actress and comedienne Amy Poehler's life and career. The is some background on her family and childhood which I found interesting, and then there's quite a bit on her life as a famous Hollywood actress, writer, and producer. As a big fan of SNL, I most appreciated the inside scoop she gave about the show -- many of the stories were hilarious. However, it was also fun to discover how she got started in comedy doing improv around the country.

Poehler also gives readers a few glimpses into her personal life. She discusses her friends, like fellow comedians Tina Fey and Seth Meyers (who makes a guest appearance in the book with a sweet and funny essay); and she also shares her adoration for her two young sons in addition to how much work kids are. What she doesn't really go into, though, is her divorce from actor Will Arnett. She says it's much too painful, and I respect that she decided to keep it private.

I thought YES PLEASE really started with a bang. I laughed and laughed at the preface which is titled "Writing is Hard." Poehler admits that writing a book was very difficult for her (even if you aren't supposed to admit that!), and her anecdotes are hilarious. The struggles of both writing a book and taking care of kids is kind of a recurring theme through the book.

I admit that the beginning of the book worked better for me than the end of the book. While I do think the stories were funnier at the beginning, I think I would have appreciated the entire book more had I spaced out my reading. I read this book in a day and I think I just tired of a bit Poehler's humor. That's definitely not a knock on the writing or the book. I just regret not taking more time to appreciate her stories.

I really liked the way that Ms. Poehler approached her life story. This book was definitely a memoir but it was also an advice book with plenty of life lessons. In fact, the book's chapters are titled "Say Whatever You Want," "Do Whatever You Want," and Be Whoever You Are." She then fills in these chapters with various stories, photographs, lists, poems, and more. She tries to take what she's learned in her life and help readers apply it to theirs... in a lighthearted and funny way.

One thing that I loved about YES PLEASE was the honesty in which Ms. Poehler tells her story. I'm not sure there's any topic (expect her divorce) which was off limits. She discusses drugs, sex, and more while also sharing some funny stories about being pregnant while starring on SNL. I truly appreciated how up front she was about so much her of life!

YES PLEASE is an entertaining look at Amy Poehler's life. Recommended to her fans and reader who enjoy humorous memoirs.

Thanks to the publisher for providing a review copy of this book.


holdenj said...

Lent our copy to my daughter and still haven't gotten it back yet!

bermudaonion said...

I enjoy memoirs but don't really know who Poehler is so I'm not sure this is for me.

Beth F said...

I haven't read this one yet, though it's still on my list. I understand the audiobook is fabulous.

Kelly said...

My daughter is a huge fan of Amy Poehler and had a long drive ahead of her, so I let her use my Audible credit for the book. She loved it, I'm going to have to give it a listen myself!