One of my goals for 2015 is to get back to my roots and read more books. As the great Frederick Douglass said, ‘Once you learn to read, you will be forever free.’ Books are a passion – nay, an obsession of mine and always have been. I grew up in the library and my parents fostered my love of reading and learning. With books I have lived a thousand lives, found myself absorbed in different worlds, and learned immensely more than I could have otherwise. So put up your feet, grab a good paperback and let’s get reading!
‘Yes Please‘ by Amy Poehler is (admittedly) a book about not wanting to write a book. It includes random parts of Poehler’s life- mostly her early career and childhood, but isn’t very coherent nor does it have any conventional manner of organization of a book. Let’s be honest here though, it is by Amy Poehler so parts of it are hilarious- BUT to read it as a novel can be frustrating at times. It’s so jumpy and doesn’t follow a continuous theme. In contrast to Tina Fey’s ‘Bossypants‘, whose humor derives in large part from Fey’s unapologetic prickliness and her willingness to be unlikable, Yes Please is a big tub of sentimental jumpy goo. It feels at times more like a diary or a self help novel than a comedic memoir for the masses that one would expect.
Moments I thought were pretty great from the book were the sweet vignettes from Poehler’s childhood and her time at SNL, testimonials from her parents about how thrilled they were by her birth, a chapter titled “Things They Don’t Tell You About the Biz”, and a rather frank survey of Poehler’s modest history of recreational drug use. She’s got anecdotes about working with such talented friends as Seth Meyers (who even wrote a hilarious chapter for the book), and Tina Fey.
If you expect a book similar to Fey’s ‘Bossypants‘, that is not what this is at all. The storytelling takes a backseat to her (very admirable) position as a role model. There’s so much inspirational, ‘you‑go-girl’ pep talking (“It takes years as a woman to unlearn what you have been taught to be sorry for. It takes years to find your voice and seize your real estate”). There are stories about her career and funny tidbits but we don’t get a cohesive story- and therefore I don’t feel like I learned much about Poehler. I think that this novel has all of the right parts- especially the inspirational nudges, but it fell short because it needed to be edited together more cohesively. But by all means, fans of Poehler’s will love this book- and rightly so.
Click here to see my goals for 2015