So, I totally forgot that I said I was going to do reviews of the books I read from 2015 list. I finished Amy Poehler’s Yes Please about a week ago and I’m just now getting around to telling you about it. Bad blogger! However, waiting paid off because now I get to write this review while watching this week’s episodes of Parks and Recreation. Score.
Going Into It | Before opening the book, I had already heard a few things from friends and GoodReads. What I read again and again was that people were disappointed that the book didn’t do XYZ — whether it be provide advice, give inside dirt on surviving divorce, or be pee-yourself funny. I think it’s cool to want a book that does these things in the end, but I feel like it’s a lot to expect up front. People definitely have higher standards for Yes Please because they recognize Amy and feel like they know her from watching her shows and maybe even from things like Smart Girls. From my perspective, I knew there was a huge chance I’d love the book because I love Amy, but I don’t feel like I let that make my expectations for the book outrageous or unrealistic.
The Book | Yes Please finds a really good balance between memoir of Amy the woman, Amy the comedienne, and Amy person we (think we) know. The sections about her early days in Chicago are so thrilling to read because you can feel her passion and drive. For people looking for a self-help-esque book, I’d say she does a good job of showing what it takes to succeed without beating you over the head with steps and commands. The sections about being a mom are (strangely?) my favorite. The ways she talks about her boys makes me want to write whole books of poems about stars and toes and blowing bubbles. She loves those nuggets so fiercely and the time she’s spent with them at this age is so precious. I love that she’s a strong working woman showing the time and love she gives so constantly to the two tiny loves of her life. I love that she also talks about sex and age and how those things go hand in hand in the best way possible. It made me excited to get sexier as I get older. I love when a book can make me feel things like this.
As a fan, the best parts are where she talks about her BFFs Seth and Tina, as well as the cast of Parks. Holy crap that chapter about the cast of Parks had be bawling and I can’t even tell you why. I really expected the stories with Tina to be both more frequent and more…emotional? Significant? They’re great little anecdotes of course, but what I really took away from the book was the special connection she shares with Seth Meyers. As much as the book was about Sisterhood and being a woman in life and in comedy, it was also about a lot of Amy’s relationships with men: Seth Meyers, Will Arnett, Matt Besser, her father, her sons. These were such intimate narratives in the book and in her life, and I so appreciated how close she let herself get when writing the book.
One more thing I want to mention about the book is that she spends quite a bit of time writing about writing. This is one of those things that makes me lovelovelove a book, so I was really into it. She wrote about writing the book and about writing comedy, both things I find impossibly interesting. However, I mention this because I know this probably isn’t interesting to a lot of readers, specifically with as wide an audience as Amy has.
My Recommendation | The night I finished Yes Please, I opened my GoodReads app and rated the book five stars. I laughed, I cried, I did all the things that make me love a book. I went back a couple of days later and changed my rating to a 4, but I wish I could make it 4.5. I switched from 5 to 4 because even though I thoroughly enjoyed the book, it didn’t change my life the way other books I’ve read recently have (see: Dear Sugar). I have a tendency to rank things really high because if I finish them it means I really enjoyed them. I wish I could rank things different kinds of five stars. Five stars for funny goes to Let’s Pretend This Never Happened. Five stars for lighting a fire within me to Wild. Five stars for staying stuck in my head half a year after reading it goes to The Opposite of Loneliness. Anyway, you get the point.
With that said, I absolutely recommend Yes Please. I recommend it to people who want babies and people who don’t, to people who follow comedy and people who like to laugh, to people who love Amy Poehler and people who love interesting women. If you fall into any of these categories, you’re likely to like the book.
So there it is! My first book review of 2015! Your feedback is definitely encouraged so I can make these useful and interesting in the future if this one isn’t. Have you read Yes Please? What did you think?