Alright, so I want to get two things out before I begin this review in earnest.
- If you are going to consume this book I highly, highly recommend going with the audiobook. It was recorded in a way that makes it seem more like a radio variety show than an audiobook. Amy makes asides that are not in the text and she also has several “guest stars” she banters with including, but not limited to, Kathleen Turner, Carol Burnett, and Seth Meyers. I’m sure the book is good on its own, but this really did make it more fun and interesting.
- This book was published in 2014. This is important to remember because she spends a lot of time talking about how amazing Louis C.K. is and I spent all that time cringing. This was published a good 3 years before all his shitty behaviour came to light. I’m sure he really did do all the awesome things for her that she talks about, and I’m sure he really has been a good friend to her, a shitty predator can be nice to some people and not nice to others, but it’s really awkward to hear right now. So, now I’ve said it and I won’t feel the need to address it in the larger context of the book as a whole. It’s also what took it from a five star to a four star book for me. Not Amy’s fault, but it’s the elephant in the room.
This audiobook has been sitting on my shelf for about two or so years now since I bought it used from the local bookstore. I have started listening to audiobooks at the gym as I have found listening to fun stories helps me zone out on the rowing machine way better than music does. I had just finished one book (which I will review soon), and was trying to come up with another one ten minutes before running out the door and figured I should just upload the first CD of this onto my phone and go with it since I keep wanting to start it and just… don’t.
Have you ever put a book off for no good reason then when you finally pick it up and read it you realize it was a little kiss of fate that you did because the place you are now is SO MUCH more conducive to getting the most out of it than the place you were when you first bought it/noticed it/added it to Goodreads? Because that is what happened to me with this one. Amy was 41 when she wrote this book, one year older than I am now, and there is so much that she talks about that speaks exactly to what I am dealing with in my own life. The best part about listening to audiobooks at the gym is that when tears of understanding and gratitude at knowing you really aren’t alone slip out you can pretend you’re just sweating really hard and no one looks at you funny.
Basically this book is Amy talking about her life, using the story of how she fell in love with Improv as the throughline she keeps coming back to as her anchor in time and in theme. One thing I really love about it is she is so unapologetically in love with Improv and she is not at all afraid to shout it from the rooftops. Improv is kind of seen as a dorky dark secret a lot of the time, especially by successful comedians. It’s something they all did to hone their skills, but it definitely isn’t cool. Amy does not think that. Half this book is a love poem to the Upright Citizens Brigade and Improv and I am here for it.
She also talks about growing up as a pretty normal kid in a pretty normal home and all the things “normal” kids do to not feel “normal.” I very much identified with that as I’m in the same boat. As much as I admire people who have overcome major struggles and I want to hear their stories too and those stories are really important, every once and a while it’s nice to remember that a normal kid’s story is interesting too.
Essentially, this book is very much Amy being Amy and it’s fun to listen to her talk about things. She’s genuine, and open and, of course, very funny. It’s also a nice break in the day to sit back and listen to fun stories about Parks and Rec and what happens when you host the Golden Globes.
This book will be my Backlog Square for the CBR 10 Bingo.