Book Review: Yes Please by Amy Poehler
Book Summary: The multi-talented Amy Poehler reflects on her rise to stardom, sex, babies, and divorce. Poehler essentially uses her opportunity to write something fabulous to create an elaborate scrapbook, complete with pictures, letters, lists, emails, and other miscellany. She manages to do this all while incessantly complaining about how hard it is to write a book.
My Normal Person Review
Let’s just get this out of the way. From Best to Least Best Comedic Memoir-ish thing written by a talented female:
- Tina Fey
- Amy Poehler
- Mindy Kaling
Without a doubt, Yes Please has a number of gems, like the chapter written by Seth Meyers. Sure, there are some stand-out passages actually penned by Ms. Poehler: My Books on Divorce, the Pregnancy Plan, and portions of I’m So Proud of You are worthy pieces of literature. I chuckled to myself a handful of times throughout the book, I enjoyed the occasional useful piece of advice (Good for her, not for me!), and Poehler’s World-Famous Sex Rules allowed for an incredible dramatic reading by some randy women at a recent book club meeting. (I encourage book clubs all over the world to do a dramatic reading of this particular section, by the way.)
Yet, I felt let down. Poehler has made a name for herself as a successful writer and performer, but her humor just did not work for me with this book. Rumor has it that the audio book is the way to go since Poehler & Co. actually read the crazy antics to you. I imagine it would be like paying for an 8-hour stand-up performance – so not a bad deal. It’s too late for me, but you can save yourself and just listen to the audio. Still, regardless of whether or not you go with the audio book or read the ol’ fashioned way, you’re going to have to trudge through a lot of rambling about her days in the Upright Citizens Brigade, her youth, famous people, sleep deprivation, and some experiences with drugs. There was an entire chapter that was just an email correspondence between Poehler and…somebody. I would like to make money from publishing my not-so-funny email correspondences.
Perhaps if Amy and I had gotten off on a better foot, the book would have been a more tolerable read. I simply found it off-putting to have her repeatedly express her unhappiness with the terrible task of writing, and that if she had the choice, she’d be doing any number of things (like sleeping, or hanging out with famous people). Next time you are forced to write a book, Amy, I’ll happily take that very handsome writer’s advance that you likely got, and just write the damn thing for you. I think we’ll both be better off.
My Editor’s Review:
There were about 100 pages of this book that should have been outright deleted. The narrative was disjointed within and between chapters, and the book didn’t follow a logical progression. First we’re talking about babies, then the UCB, then her childhood, then Clooney…and on and on. Even if you decide to write a bunch of random essays about your life, there still comes an inherent chain of events that can be easily followed.
I can’t believe I’m saying this, but Poehler actually came off as unlikable because her disdain for writing this book just oozed through the pages. Sorry Amy, with great power comes great responsibility.
Pro Tip: If you are given the opportunity to write a book that will be published, and yes, it is an opportunity, make it a pleasant experience for your reader. That’s all we want. Hell, I’m sure that George W. Bush wasn’t overly excited to recount every major mistake he made during his presidency, but even good ol’ W. took the opportunity to appeal to his audience, and in the end, made himself much more likable through his work in Decision Points. Now that was a feat of comedic literature.
Quotables in Yes Please:
“It’s clear to me now that I had no business agreeing to write this book.”
“The truth is, writing is this: hard and boring and occasionally great but usually not.”
“Honestly, I have moments when I don’t even care if anyone reads this book. I just want to finish it.”
“In 2008, under intense pressure from the comedians’ lobby, Senator John McCain selected Alaska governor Sarah Palin as his running mate.” (Oops, that one was written by Seth Meyers)
“I have the Angelina Jolie of vaginas.” (Also written by Meyers. JK JK JK)
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