I wish I could tell you there is a specific reason why I didn’t like this book, but I can’t. Not really. There was nothing wrong with it. I guess it just didn’t resonate with me.
I’ve started to think maybe I threw myself with too much gusto into the genre and it finally came back to bite me. I’ve read Scrappy Little Nobody (which I thought was great), Talking as Fast as I Can (which was good, not great), Bossypants (which I really liked) and now Yes Please, all in the space of 45 days and maybe I have just become desensitized to witty female humor. Then again, I try my best to face these books with as little expectation as possible, and I think I accomplish this simply by the fact that I don’t know this women before I read their books, and tend to be positively surprised.
I think I disliked Yes Please for the same reason I found Talking as fast as I can to be less than stellar. I don’t think either Amy Pohler nor Lauren Graham really wanted to write a book. It was just something they agreed to because there was a market for it. Lauren Graham owned up to the fact that she likes her privacy from the start and Amy Pohler kept coming back to the fact that writing this book was torture. So yeah, it feels like their hearts weren’t in it, and it showed.
I also felt like she was trying to be funny, a goal sometimes achieved, and way too often not. Again, the book was not bad. It’s a good book. You get a few laughs. You learn a couple of interesting things. But I felt bored and/or annoyed more often than I would have liked.
Things I liked about the book:
- Getting to know more about her background, as I really enjoy understanding female comediants
- The few times I felt she was not trying to be funny, such as the episode when she apologized to the girl years later
- The beginning of the book, before I became desensitized to her humor
Things I didn’t like about the book:
- She kept complaining about having to write the book
- She kept bragging about knowing people (most of whom I didn’t recognize) as a filler for lack of what to say
- She had other people show up for… no reason I could understand (what were all those people doing there not actually reading anything most of the time?)
- She spent quite a lot of time going over every single cast member of Parks & Recreation in a format which might have been useful for the print book, but sounded weird on audio – plus, I really don’t like Parks & Recreation.
- The last chapter was performed live, and people kept laughing at things I didn’t find funny at all, I felt like it detracted from the actual experience
All I can say, again, it’s that this is a good book, despite my lukewarm reaction to it. And maybe after reading Bossypants I ended up with way too high expectations for this one (probably due to the fact that lots of people loved this one more than that one – and I thought Tina Fey was superb on hers). But maybe you should only read it if you’re already a fan of Amy Pohler.