Book Review: Yes Please by Amy Poehler (3/5)

14 Jan

The last book I received from the Ford Audiobook Club was Amy Poehler’s Yes Please. I’d thought about reading this one and a free copy was a great way to get me to take the plunge. I’ve read Tina Fey’s Bossypants and loved it so I was excited about Amy’s book. My husband and I were unable to get a library book for our Christmas and New Years drives, so picking this one worked great.

Cover image via Goodreads

Cover image via Goodreads

Yes Please by Amy Poehler

Summary from Goodreads:

In Amy Poehler’s highly anticipated first book, Yes Please, she offers up a big juicy stew of personal stories, funny bits on sex and love and friendship and parenthood and real life advice (some useful, some not so much), like when to be funny and when to be serious. Powered by Amy’s charming and hilarious, biting yet wise voice, Yes Please is a book full of words to live by.

It must be really hard to be famous, and I don’t mean that sarcastically. The Amy Poehler I’m most familiar with is Leslie Knope from Parks and Recreation though the many-faced actress from SNL is another one I love. I don’t know the Amy who divorced Will Arnett or that struggled to make it in Chicago while waitressing. What we see of famous people is the rosy side of them that they want us to see. Amy’s book showed me the dirtier side as well. She wasn’t afraid to give her readers a look at her low moments (divorce, drug use, delayed apologies) or shift the focus away from herself, normally to other SNL cast members. I guess I wanted Poehler to be a bit more empowering than she was or talk more about Parks and Rec, but it’s not my book. It was funny at times and a good memoir, but honestly, it wasn’t my favorite.

Amy was very honest about everything she wrote about, maybe a little too honest. But it was refreshing. I’ve read a few memoirs where it feels like the main character is leaving something out that he or she is trying to hide while being open about everything else. The only thing Poehler didn’t get into was her divorce from Will Arnett, but I felt that was appropriate. It’s part of Will’s privacy as much as hers. The book wasn’t a platform for her to air her dirty laundry and I appreciate that she didn’t treat it that way.

Amy was easy to relate to. She grew up in a working-class family and the way she recalled her childhood reminded me of mine. She had supportive parents though I don’t think mine would have supported me moving to Chicago to try to get work acting. She has great friends who love and support her. I was surprised how close she is with Seth Meyers but I think SNL would be an experience that brings people together. She was very honest about things she loves (her kids, the moon, her parents) and how she feels about being where she is now. She worked hard to get where she is today and while she doesn’t demand that others respect her for it, she’s not going to let anyone ride her coattails to the top. She believes you have to work hard to get what you want, just like she did.

Amy Poehler Image via OK Magazine

Amy Poehler
Image via OK Magazine

The stories about Amy’s kids touched me the most. So often, I feel that a celebrity’s life takes a back seat to his or her career but Amy made a point of her kids coming first in her life. With her and Will’s busy schedules, I’m sure this isn’t easy, but she made it seem that spending quality time with them doing uniquely mother/son things was a priority and I appreciated that. She always commented on her famous friends relationships with their spouses and children and I liked that a lot. It made her seem very normal.

I didn’t think I’d say this, but my least favorite part of the book was the chapter Amy used to talk about Tina Fey. The media always puts the two together because they both came from Second City, had massive careers on SNL, and have been successful since, but I get the impression they have other friends that mean more in their lives and the sentiments seemed forced. I believed her remarks about Louis CK a lot more than the acrostic poem to Tina Fey.

Having Poehler read her own book aloud was a great touch. There were bits that I’m sure didn’t make the book such as her banter with Seth Meyers and the asides while she read the final chapter in front of an audience. I’m not sure her tone and inflection would have come across in words alone and I think a lot of Poehler’s humor is in the delivery. I’m glad I experienced the book this way.

One of the mantra’s Poehler repeated was “Good for you, not for me” and that was one I could take a lot away from. We don’t have to imitate another person because what they did is worthy of praise and recognition. That’s their thing and my thing can be different. Home birth worked for Maya Rudolph, Amy needed drugs and a hospital. I’m not very good at this mantra. When I see someone do something and I respect it or think it looks cool. I want to do that thing, too. I need to remember to do things for myself and not for the fictional person I could be.

Writer’s Takeaway: Amy’s honesty is admirable. I sometimes feel people hold back and wonder what those who know them personally will think of the memoir. Amy, on the other hand, talks about her favorite kinds of porn and the drugs she’s taken. No smoke and mirrors here! I think those that prepare to write a memoir need to be real with themselves about what is going to need to come out in the story. If you don’t need to write about the time you were in college or the years you did questionable things, that’s great, but don’t skip something important because it’s embarrassing. Tell the whole truth like Amy did.

Fun and funny but not as much of either as I would have liked. Three out of Five stars.

Because it’s my frist book of the year, this book fulfilled the ‘2000-Present’ time period in the When Are You Reading? Challenge. One down, eleven to go!

Until next time, write on.

You can follow me on GoodreadsFacebookTwitterPinterest, and Instagram. I’m available via email at And as always, feel free to leave a comment!

Related Posts:
Review: Yes Please | The Literary Omnivore
Yes Please by Amy Poehler | Coven Book Club


2 Responses to “Book Review: Yes Please by Amy Poehler (3/5)”

  1. lvgaudet January 15, 2016 at 7:23 AM #

    Reblogged this on Cheeky Book Blogger.


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