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.
by Amy Poehler
Dey Street Books (Imprint of HarperCollins)
October 28, 2014
A few weeks back, I reviewed Still Foolin’ ‘Em by Billy Crystal. That book left me with such awesome, warm thoughts that I decided to find another comedian’s memoir to listen to on my way to work. Audible, always the handy helper, suggested Yes, Please! by Amy Poehler. I’m almost ashamed to admit I’ve never watched Parks & Rec, but I am very familiar with her brilliance on SNL and the comedy nerd in me is a die hard Upright Citizens Brigade fan, so I decided to give it a shot.
I want to throw this out there right now: If you’re a chick who is going through some shit, regardless of what kind of shit, you need to read this book. If you’re looking for advice, it’s here. If you’re looking for some validation and the reassurance that you’re not alone in your crazy, it’s here. As chicks, I think our worst enemy is the voices in our own heads and that’s half of what this book is about. Laced within stories of her life and career, Amy Poehler, in stellar comedic fashion, shows us that no matter who you are or where you come from, you can take charge of your life and own that shit. Embrace your flaws, understand that no one is perfect, and stop expecting yourself to be.
I dont do a lot of quotes in reviews, but there are a couple I found on Goodreads which perfectly illustrate the type of book you’re in for.
It’s called Yes Please because it is the constant struggle and often the right answer. Can we figure out what we want, ask for it, and stop talking? Yes please. Is being vulnerable a power position? Yes please. Am I allowed to take up space? Yes please. Would you like to be left alone? Yes please. I love saying “yes” and I love saying “please.” Saying “yes” doesn’t mean I don’t know how to say no, and saying “please” doesn’t mean I am waiting for permission. “Yes please” sounds powerful and concise. It’s a response and a request. It is not about being a good girl; it is about being a real woman. It’s also a title I can tell my kids. I like when they say “Yes please” because most people are rude and nice manners are the secret keys to the universe.
Please don’t drive drunk, okay? Seriously. It’s so fucked up. But by all means, walk drunk. That looks hilarious. Everyone loves to watch someone act like they are trying to make it to safety during a hurricane.
I want to be around people that do things. I don’t want to be around people anymore that judge or talk about what people do. I want to be around people that dream and support and do things.
The themes of this book jump all over the place. Poehler hits on self-image and being comfortable in your own skin. She hits on relationships and careers. She hits of friendships and loneliness. The content is all over the map, but Poehler ties it all in seamlessly and keeps you laughing the whole way through. She’s got a warmth to her that made listening to her read the book all that much better. Plus, when she says things like this, you cant help but squirt coffee out of your nose:
A lot of people don’t know I am always thisfuckingclose to doing some crazy shit.
I have the Angelina Jolie of vaginas.
Through the whole book, I think I found that putting my comedy nerd on the back burner and reading Yes, Please from the perspective of a writer was definitely inspiring. She’s got some seriously great stories concerning her career, both the ups and downs, which I found really relatable to my writing career. I know a lot of authors who are very impatient with the speed at which their career is blossoming. Or lack of speed, as the case may be. If those authors were to pick up this book and give it a read, I think they’d benefits to their sanity would be immeasurable.
Here’s a quote from the first chapter regarding the process of writing a book:
Everyone lies about writing. They lie about how easy it is or how hard it was. They perpetuate a romantic idea that writing is some beautiful experience that takes place in an architectural room filled with leather novels and chai tea. They talk about their “morning ritual” and how they “dress for writing” and the cabin in Big Sur where they go to “be alone”—blah blah blah. No one tells the truth about writing a book. Authors pretend their stories were always shiny and perfect and just waiting to be written. The truth is, writing is this: hard and boring and occasionally great but usually not. Even I have lied about writing. I have told people that writing this book has been like brushing away dirt from a fossil. What a load of shit. It has been like hacking away at a freezer with a screwdriver. I wrote this book after my kids went to sleep. I wrote this book on subways and on airplanes and in between setups while I shot a television show. I wrote this book from scribbled thoughts I kept in the Notes app on my iPhone and conversations I had with myself in my own head before I went to sleep. I wrote it ugly and in pieces.
It’s very hard to have ideas. It’s very hard to put yourself out there, it’s very hard to be vulnerable, but those people who do that are the dreamers, the thinkers and the creators. They are the magic people of the world.
I recommend this book to everyone. It’s a great read all around, but if you’re feeling stagnant in a job or relationship, or maybe you’re just coming off a breakup, this book may be just the thing you need. 🙂 So much of this book really hit home for me and if I could, I’d give a copy to every friend I have.
The review copy of this book was purchased by the reviewer.
About Amy Poehler
Amy Poehler is a writer, actress, producer, and director. She lives in New York City and Los Angeles with her two boys. She hopes her new book, YES PLEASE, will get her invited onto her hero Judge Judy’s yacht.