Yes Please

I love Amy Poehler.  If I didn’t before, then I absolutely, definitely do now.  She is funny, and generous, and smart, and experienced and super kind.  Her book captures all of these things, and it was so great to spend time with her while reading her hilarious notebook/memoir/brain dump/celeb goss/picture book Yes Please.

Amy Poehler is a funny, hard-working, good-writing, nerdy, smart woman and her book captures and reflects all of this.  Oddly (and I also had this with Tina Fey and her wonderful book), I don’t really like her comedy, but her commitment to integrity, her work, and supporting the other smart women she works with is massively appealing, so receiving this book for Christmas was great.  Yes Please is basically her riffing on subjects she likes, giving you gossip she thinks you will like, and telling stories that are funny and important to her world.

I wish this book was longer.  Reading it is like hanging out with your really cool, quite experienced, super kind friend; but as Amy (see, I’m calling her Amy, we’re definitely totally friends) says in her preface, writing is hard, so I’m happy that the bits she did get to write are just so damn fun.  An overwhelming impression I got when reading is one of generosity: she clearly cares about her colleagues, the work she has done, and the tone when speaking about something close to her is so kind and open it’s really touching.

There is a wonderful story of Poehler losing her shit at a self-entitled, bratty, privileged old white guy prepared to scold her like she’s his “mouthy niece” for chatting with her friends (Tina Fey and Ana Gasteyer) in first class on the hour-long 10AM flight.  There are haikus on plastic surgery.  There is tongue-in-check seriously-very-sage quite short life advice.  There are meme-worthy pages screaming excellent advice: “Short people DO NOT like to be picked up”.  There are wonderful stories of supporting your hilarious hard-working friends, and being supported in return.  There is more.  It’s a grab-bag of thoughts and moments and jumping in is so much fun.

It’s also quite wise, generous with confessions and advice, very grounded, and written from a place of hard-fought-for peace.  It is not preachy, it is not insincere, but through Poehler’s stories and anecdotes, there are very bloody decent lessons for us all: say ‘yes please’ being the most important.

But that’s not to say it’s all touchy-feely and niceness.  Poehler is a bad-ass, and stands up for herself (or at least damn well tries) when pushed.  This means there is an integrity to how she conducts herself and that completely comes through in this book.  She is obviously flawed, and calls herself out on that, but maybe because she is now in the self-acknowledged old-but-not-middle-aged stage she has the wisdom (kinda) to know when to say no, stay silent, lean back and let someone else sort out the mess.  She knows she doesn’t have to always be liked and while she can see her own faults she doesn’t beat herself over the head with them any more.  Or, at least not too much.

This book is a joy, I laughed out loud an embarrassing amount, and am now one of those ridiculous fans who feels like she really relates to the celebrity.  Ick.  But this book really felt like hanging out with your bit wiser, bit more talented, best friend.  If you want that friend in your life, or just like annoying those around you by laughing a LOT at a book, then get Yes Please and love it.

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