All I knew about Amy Poehler before I found ‘Yes Please’ was that she played the brilliant Leslie Knope in Parks and Recreation. I’m not exactly sure what drew me to this book given that I knew little about her as a person, or even about the rest of her career outside of Parks and Rec. Whatever made me choose this book, I’m glad I did.
I listened to this as an audiobook. When I was getting ready in the morning, making dinner or couldn’t sleep at night, I’d turn the volume up and let Amy recount stories of her childhood and early working years. Like having coffee with a friend. It’s cliched, I know but at the time, I was unemployed and all my friends had recently moved to university. I was feeling lost and alone and little things like that really helped me. Hearing the book read in Poehler’s own voice really brings her words to life. So much so that it’s hard to say whether I would have enjoyed the book so much had I read it. Hearing the book read in Poehler’s own voice really brings her words to life. So much so that it’s hard to say whether I would have enjoyed the book so much had I read it myself.
It’s hard to describe what kind of book this is. It’s funny but it’s not a comedy book, and it’s not strictly speaking a memoir, although Poehler discusses many aspects of her personal life. At times it borders on a self-help book with advice on careers, love and overcoming pain, “A person’s tragedies does not make up their entire life. A story carves deep grooves into our brains each time we tell it but we aren’t one story. We can change our story each time we tell it. We can write our own.”. This isn’t necessarily a criticism – that depends on your opinion on self-help books – but it took me by surprise.
Poehler’s honesty was refreshing and humorous, although she spent a good portion of the book complaining about how difficult it is to write a book which became tiresome at times. Her personality shone through every word of this book. I was pleasantly surprised by how beautiful Poehler’s way with words is. She has such a wonderful way of phrasing things which never felt forced or contrived.
Have you read Yes Please? What did you think? I’m trying to read more non-fiction books this year so if you have any recommendations please let me know in the comments!