Book: Yes Please


Yes Please, Amy Poehler (2014)

Inspiration to Read:
I wanted to read another nonfiction book; an autobiography or memoir by a woman. A Google search led me to a list of 15 recently published memoirs by women. I chose Poehler’s from that list because I’ve heard buzz that her book is funny and worth reading.

I am not very familiar with Poehler or her career: I watch SNL infrequently, and I have not seen many of her movies or TV shows. With that disclaimer, I still found reading about her interesting and charming. She is upfront and personal, and she likes to tell stories. Poehler includes disclaimers, cluing readers that if they do not like what she writes about she will not care, and she will not apologize for what she has experienced. She is a brazen writer, and this made up for the absence of some qualities such as finesse and organization that I normally seek in memoirs.

Poehler mostly tells stories, and includes advice, as well. She divides the book into some sections, which should have helped with organization, but some material overlapped. She refers to lessons she’s learned in improv, and throughout her career in improv and comedy, in clever and thoughtful ways. She’s self-aware and demonstrates it. She writes about her children and lessons learned as a mother frequently, and incorporates lessons her parents taught her. A common theme is the feeling that Poehler is talking to her reader rather than writing to the reader, which can be difficult to accomplish. I’m unsure whether it was intentional, but she writes so bluntly and casually that it comes across like listening to storytelling or an interview. Poehler also feels accomplished, enjoys her success, and wants and encourages others to do the same. She commonly discusses her frustrations and fears about writing the book itself and that she might never finish; because readers are reading it, and she has another success to celebrate. This self-doubt and self-deprecation highlights another theme: her raw humor. She recalls memories and barks advice with comic genius, ceaselessly enjoying the humor, fun, and laughability of all things things.

(Please note: I was not paid to write about “Yes Please.” I obtained the book by my own means and am just a fan.)

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