Tuesday, 29 November 2016

Yes Please

Author: Amy Poehler
Genre: Autobiography, Humour
Type: e-audiobook
Source: Local Public Library
Publisher: Harper Audio
First Published: October 28, 2014
First Line: "At this very moment I'm trying to write this preface in the dark while my oldest boy, Archie, sleeps next to me."

Book Description from GoodReadsDo you want to get to know the woman we first came to love on Comedy Central's Upright Citizens Brigade? Do you want to spend some time with the lady who made you howl with laughter on Saturday Night Live, and in movies like Baby Mama, Blades of Glory, and They Came Together? Do you find yourself daydreaming about hanging out with the actor behind the brilliant Leslie Knope on Parks and Recreation? Did you wish you were in the audience at the last two Golden Globes ceremonies, so you could bask in the hilarity of Amy's one-liners?

If your answer to these questions is "Yes Please!" then you are in luck. In her first book, one of our most beloved funny folk delivers a smart, pointed, and ultimately inspirational read. Full of the comedic skill that makes us all love Amy, Yes Please is a rich and varied collection of stories, lists, poetry (Plastic Surgery Haiku, to be specific), photographs, mantras and advice. With chapters like "Treat Your Career Like a Bad Boyfriend," "Plain Girl Versus the Demon" and "The Robots Will Kill Us All" Yes Please will make you think as much as it will make you laugh. Honest, personal, real, and righteous, Yes Please is full of words to live by.

My Rating: 3.5/5 stars

My Review: This was not my first time picking up this book.  I had taken out the hardcover copy at the library many months ago but couldn't get through the first chapter where Poehler discusses over and over how hard it is to write a book.  After a few pages of this 'poor me' attitude (as if someone forced her to write it) I gave up.  It just wasn't in the cards that day.

I recently decided to give it another shot but this time I took out the e-audiobook version with Poehler herself reading the book to me.  I love her quirky, fun attitude and it definitely comes through in the audio version. She also invites several famous faces to add little bits to her story including Carol Burnett, Sir Patrick Stewart, Kathleen Turner and Seth Meyers.  These additions added that Hollywood panache and some fun ... well, except for Meyers whose reading came off as extremely stiff and awkward which I hadn't expected from a SNL alumni. Even her mom and dad who read some parts felt more relaxed that poor Meyers.

It's hard to put this book into a specific category.  It's not quite a memoir, nor is a comedic laugh out loud book (although there were certainly parts where I did laugh out loud to the shock of people walking by me as I listened).  It's somewhere in the middle with the surprising theme of self-help coming to the forefront. I guess it shouldn't come as a surprise since Poehler is quite involved in her organization Smart Girls which encourages girls to change the world by just being themselves.  

My feelings for this book wavered all over the place.  As expected, this book has its funny parts and you get a sense of Amy's personality off-screen (which is quite similar to on-screen).  Poehler ranges from the funny, goofy friend to a quiet sage who gives some great advice.  But it has a very scattered feel to it as it jumps around from various topics and times in her life.  And, sometimes, as with SNL, the focus on some topics went on for too long and became awkward - this included her conversation with Meyers which went from kind of funny to 'I guess you had to be there', to awkward and finally 'ok, wrap it up!'

Poehler keeps her personal life close to the vest which, on one hand, I can understand but on the other, when I'm reading a memoir of sorts I kind of wanted to know more about her family life etc. If you're looking for info on her marriage and subsequent divorce from Will Arnett you won't get it here and even her anecdotes about life on the SNL set and Parks and Recreation are brief.

Overall, I admit to being a little underwhelmed by this book. It had its great moments but they seemed far and few between.  It's not a comedic book per se but much more of a look at life lessons she's learned, her rise to fame and some pretty great advice for getting through the sticky stuff of life.  Poehler is down-to-earth, genuine and is a funny gal who you can see yourself hanging around with. So, Ames, call me, 'kay? 

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