What am I reading this week?
Yes Please–Amy Poehler
Yes Please is the non-fiction brianchild of actress, writer, comedian, and just general good person Amy Poelher. This is a woman who is a regular at my imaginary celebrity dinner party whenever that question gets asked (other regulars include Freddie Mercury and Harriet Beacher Stowe so she’s in good company). There are many reasons we should love her before we even start turning the pages of Yes Please. Parks and Recreation is hilarious, she is a staunch feminist who combats the misconception that women can’t be funny, and she is not caught slagging other people off on social media. I think she’s great.
It’s hard to define what genre this book really belongs to. Autobiography? Yes, it contains lots of details of her life and anecdotes of her career. Self-Help? Yeah, it’s got loads of just general life advice and little happiness tips. Comedy? Well, duh. Feminist? Yes, but not in a Let’s all burn our bras and wear badges that say I’M A FUCKING FEMINIST on them’ way. It’s in more of a “let’s just not be dicks to women and let’s make sure everyone is treated the same” kind of way.
The book is a bit scattily structured in that it doesn’t go through chronologically with thisismychildhood, ohandhereismyadolescence, andnowi’manadult. It’s more, here is a stream of consciousness with some of my life story inside it.
The book is split into three sections: 1) Say whatever you want. 2) Do whatever you like. and 3) Be whoever you are. The chapters within these sections are chapters with names like “Humping Justin Timberlake” and “Gimme that pudding.” Amy Poehler says in the first chapter:
“Yes Please is an attempt to present an open scrapbook that includes a sense of what I am thinking and feeling right now. But mostly, let’s call this book what it really is: an obvious money grab to support my notorious online shopping addiction. I have already spent the advance on fancy washcloths from amazon, so I need this book to really sell a lot of copies or else I am in trouble. Chop-chop, people.“
Well. There you have it. Let’s not argue with her. Scrapbook it is. And you heard the woman, chop-chop.
Broadening the Feminism – My boyfriend bought me this a little while back because we are taking each other on a journey of feminist discovery and he thought this book would really fire me up. But something that immediately strikes me about this book is that I would recommend it to anyone. Not just those who consider themselves “feminist”, but absolutely everyone and their grandma and their cat. In fact I’m not entirely certain she says the word ‘feminist’ once. She doesn’t need to. The fact that we should all just be nice to each other is so woven in to the writing that it doesn’t need signposting. I love that.
Realness – The book comes across as extraordinarily honest. You get the impression reading this that you are getting to have a little one-on-one time with the real Amy. The one that all her friends see. The pictures of her when she’s younger are all adorable, especially ones of her old school reports and the like. She talks about everything from winning awards to her divorce, and you’re allowed to listen. Isn’t that cool? Please Amy Poehler be my friend. I promise I can be like Ann Perkins from Parks and Rec if you like.
Humor – All life advice is served best with a side order of giggling. That is my humble opinion. For example: “Don’t get undressed and start pointing out your flaws…men don’t notice or care. Men are very visual, so if you don’t want them to look at your stomach just put fake mustaches on your breasts to distract them.” Read the book and laugh.
Do I have to write a loathed? I don’t really want to. I don’t have one. Please don’t hurt me. I know I’m a bad and unbalanced writer.
Okay I give in. Maybe one thing I would say is that the book does rely a little bit on you knowing who Amy Poehler is (which we all should.) So if you’re a Parks and Rec or SNL fan, or have seen bit of her work before, you will get it and know where she’s coming from. If you don’t, I would maybe familiarise yourself with her stuff before diving head first into her book. It’ll be worth it I promise, especially if you like laughing. And nice people. And Ice Cream.
Overall this book is a godsend. It’s a great giggle and full of heart and just a good pick me up. I definitely have read this in a few places where I was really supposed to be doing something else but couldn’t bring myself to put it down. (Until I was told off by my boss. That did it.) Read this book. Read it. Chop-chop.