Amy Poehler’s Yes Please is just the right mix of professional and personal essays that I think I wanted out of Lena Dunham’s memoir, and with more relateable life experience, since I consider myself more of Amy’s generation than Lena’s. I’m 36 so I’m in between them, but my resistance to new technology and fondness for 90s alternative rock puts me squarely in Generation X, I decided. In Yes Please, Amy writes a series of essays covering her childhood in New England, finding success but little money in Chicago, getting her big BIG break on Saturday Night Live, making Parks & Recreation, and her personal life and thoughts on motherhood, relationships, divorce, etc.
Let’s start off by saying that I’ve never really been all about Amy Poehler. I am fond of her from afar; I haven’t watched SNL since the late 80s, I didn’t watch Parks & Rec, and I never watched a Golden Globe or award show she hosted. I know, I know, she’s awesome yada yada. It’s not that I had no interest in these things; I just didn’t bother with them. I plan to eventually binge Parks & Rec, I just haven’t. I watched 30 Rock, which was my dose of post-SNL cast member show success. I used to watch a billion things on TV and I just didn’t have room in my life for one more thing. Anyway, who cares? I am just saying, I feel like I come at this book from a totally objective stance on Amy. And guess what, I loved this book! It was well written, personal, and fun. She writes about procrastination and technology hating and it speaks to my soul. I loved her honesty about her past and her personal life. Celebrities, for better or worse, get so much attention from things like TMZ and while some might argue that comes with the job, I don’t think that it’s necessarily OK. So, for Amy to reveal even a little bit of her own personal struggles with motherhood and divorce is really awesome. She does it with modesty as well so it’s not like she’s giving any real advice here or anything, she’s just being honest about who she is and what her life is like. I don’t really care in general about what celebrities think politically or how they feed their babies (unless you’re Alicia Silverstone and you do it bird style, I’m sorry that’s just gross), but it’s still comforting to hear someone you admire confess to thoughts of inadequacy.
Stories of how she felt about a joke she made that offended someone and how guilty she felt over it and the ways she attempted to make amends really make Amy seem human. Her stories about her early days make her seem like someone you want to get roaring drunk and sing 90s rap karoake with in some skeevy bar. She had a very similar childhood to my own in a lot of ways. Her imagining her own kidnapping in her front yard is like a snippet of my adolescence. I love that she’s just really that weird. Also, as a book lover, I was impressed with the weight of this book. I borrowed my friend’s hardback and the pages were amazing, like a cookbook. If you haven’t picked this one up, please do, you won’t regret it.