Tuesday, June 20, 2017
Narrated by Amy Poehler
Published October 2014 by HarperCollins Publishers
Source: bought the audio version
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."
Confession: I'm not necessarily Poehler's biggest fan and had never seen Park and Rec until Miss H made me watch on episode on Netflix recently. Amend that - I wasn't necessarily Poehler's biggest fan. After listening to this book, narrated by Poehler, I may not be her biggest fan, but I'm definitely a big fan.
Poehler is one funny lady, who has certainly paid her dues. She's done improv on the street, she's done improv in nearly empty studios. Making the cast of Saturday Night Life might seem like the greatest job on earth but Poehler is quick to remind listeners that finding your place there and living through the long hours and quick turnaround times is no glamour job. But it was that job that made Poehler a household name and gave her the opportunity to move onto film and Parks and Rec, And those jobs have given Poehler the opportunity to give back to other comedians as a member of the Upright Citizens Brigade which operates the only improv and sketch comedy training center in the country.
Poehler talks a lot about her career, but she is equally forthcoming with her personal life. She talks about her upbringing (her parents even both read portions), her marriage to actor Will Arnett and her divorce from him, her friendships, the famous people she has known, her pregnancies and her boys and her own self-image.
That last chapter, "Plain Girl Versus The Demon," really made me sit up and pay attention. "That voice that talks badly to you is a demon voice," made me want to put this book in every young girl's hands. Unfortunately you can't do that because this is a grown up book with cursing and sex and drugs. But, if you listen to it and also have a young daughter, you should absolutely take notes because Poehler things to say I wish I had said to my daughter as she was growing up. "The scary part is that the demon is your own voice," "You may even have days or years when you think the demon is gone but it is not." Be vigilant, in other words. But also this: "if you're lucky, there's a moment in your life where you have some say as to what your currency is going to be" and this "decide early on what your currency is going to be and let go of the rest."
Time travel comes up a lot in the book and it's not until nearly the end when Poehler really talks about what she means when she says she believes in time travel and it kind of makes sense when you think of it that way. I'd tell you the secret but you really need to discover it for yourself.
There's an entire chapter about Parks and Rec which includes run downs on all of the key actors in the series and convinced me that when this actor says the cast was like a family she really means it. The chapter about how robots are going to take over the world is hilarious. The chapter about books she would write about divorce is both hilarious and extremely sad.
Yes Please is probably perfectly funny in print. But in print you don't get narration by Kathleen Turner, Patrick Stewart, and an entire chapter written and read by Seth Meyers. You wouldn't get the cadence and intonation of Poehler's voice. Yes Please is not all hilarity and it's not perfect. But I highly recommend this book.
Also, there's a very high probability that I will soon start binge watching "Parks and Rec."