Review: ‘Yes Please’ by Amy Poehler

yes please_amy poehler

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 woman. —xix, “instructions of how to use this book”

You’ll laugh. You’ll cry. You’ll nod your head in agreement. You’ll laugh again. You’ll grab your handy-dandy Post-it notes and flag the pages with your favorite quotes and Amy Poehler pearls of wisdom.

You’ll never want to return the book you borrowed to its original owner (sorry, Sarah). Well, at least until you’ve bought your own copy of “Yes Please” (I’m working on it).

I finished reading Amy’s memoir last Thursday, and it’s now Tuesday night. I would’ve written this review when I finished the last page like the other books, but I either didn’t know how to write the words or was just still crying about the “Parks and Recreation” chapter. I’m going to be such a mess during the finale. But I digress.

There were so many things I loved about reading “Yes Please.” I had to hold in my laughter at some of Amy’s stories as I was riding the Blue Line home from work. I couldn’t wait to turn the page and see which scrapbook element would be next. A handwritten list of reasons to cry on an airplane? Part of a Parks and Rec scene? A song she wrote when she was seven?

Each chapter was a roller coaster and an entire stream of thought. There were parts of certain chapters (i.e., “sorry, sorry, sorry”) where you could tell Amy did not want to admit certain things about the story. She’d go off and list famous actor friends of hers hoping to distract the reader. She even admits it. Now, here is where, as an editor, I would consider deleting the tangent and leading the reader right into the scary part. But leaving it in gives the reader the sense that you’re in the room with Amy as she’s telling you her story.

One chapter I really loved was “plain girl vs. the demon.” In it, Amy talks about the demons we face when we look in the mirror. She talks about how the demon (aka ourselves with a Darth Vader voice) comes and goes; you think you’re OK when WHAM! The demon returns. There was one section of the chapter I really loved:

But I was eventually okay. And you will be okay too. Here’s why. I had already made a decision early on that I would be a plain girl with tons of personality, and accepting it made everything a lot easier. If you are lucky, there is a moment in your life when you have some say as to what your currency is going to be. I decided early on it was not going to be my looks. … Decide what your currency is early. Let go of what you will never have. People who do this are happier and sexier. — pg 21-22, “plain girl vs. the demon”

I think I might open Illustrator and InDesign and create a poster of those last three sentences. Or just write it on a sticky note to put on my mirror.

There is one thing about this memoir that I had been warned about: Amy lets you know how much she hates writing this book. Well, writing a book in general. Her preface is solely about writing and how much is sucks. There are moments in the first section of the book where she’ll reference back to how much she hates writing. I knew this going into the book.

I thought I would find it as equally annoying, but I didn’t. I don’t think it would’ve been true to Amy (or at least, what I know of her now that I’ve read her memoir) if it was left out. And I can relate to her on some level.

No one tells the truth about writing a book. Authors pretend their stories were always shiny 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. —x, “writing is hard: a preface”

Writing sucks. It’s not something that just magically flows from your brain through your fingertips into Microsoft Word. It took me forever to write this review (taking a chapter of Amy’s book, I guess). If you think you’ll be annoyed with it, skip the preface if you think you need to.

Again, this is another memoir to add to my shelf of “What Every Girl Needs to Read” along with “Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me” and “Bossypants.” Excuse me while I add buying this book into my budget for next month.


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