Here’s a good memoir with a solid reminder that successful people put in a lot of time at the bottom, perfecting their skills before anyone knows about them. Yes Please is Amy Poehler’s mid-life telling of her experience as a comic performer and how she got there. She presents her ideas in an original format that is varied and entertaining. The book itself is very nice to look at. It’s printed on heavy, glossy paper and resembles a small coffee-table book. Besides a college text book, it’s one of the heaviest books I’ve toted around, weighing in at over two pounds.
I usually stay away from memoirs because they are often self-indulgent. And I’m always a little skeptical when it comes from someone fairly young. This one is good. It’s also not a tell-all book. She doesn’t rip her ex-husband Will Arnett or talk about their split except to say it was sad and no fun. Don’t expect a super funny book, however. Readers have been disappointed by this because they claim Yes Please isn’t as funny as Tina Fey’s Bossypants or Mindy Kaling’s books. Poehler’s stories are more interesting than laugh-out-loud hilarious. Readers will learn some new things about her. I particularly enjoyed reading about how she started with improvisation and worked her way onto Second City TV, the Upright Citizens’ Brigade and Saturday Night Live. I always like reading about how creative people coincidently connect with each other and learned a lot about how she met all the funny people from SNL and earlier. Fans of Parks and Recreation will enjoy a chapter devoted to her experience on the show.
If you haven’t seen her in action, I need to tell you that Amy Poehler is a very funny performer. Click here to watch this hilarious SNL Weekend Update clip with Sarah Palin. And when you do, remember that Poehler was nine months pregnant at the time and gave birth a week later!
Here’s a picture of that performance, but watch the video and you’ll see what I mean.
My overall impression is that Poehler is at the point in her life where she is moving in new directions, away from the manic, frantic and party-central days that go hand-in-hand with very funny shows. She has been grounded by her two young sons and shares her views on motherhood, including a somewhat defensive statement that all women do the best they can with the motherhood/career situation. She reveals a few regrettable moments in her life, but has the confidence to share them and then accept who she is. She seems to be the type of person who doesn’t wallow in regret. She owns up to her mistakes, does her best to correct them and then moves on. I especially like her advice on knowing who you are: “Decide what your currency is early. Let go of what you will never have.” Wise words!
Yes Please is a quick read with a satisfying every-woman message.
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