Amy Poehler is one of today’s growing group of female role models that promote self worth, comedy and confidence. In her company are the likes of Tina Fey, Mindy Kaling and Lena Dunham. I love these women, I find them truly inspiring and as soon as I heard Poehler’s book was available in the UK I ran to my local book store to annoy the sales assistant by making them grab be a copy “way out the back”. Despite my hatred for hardbacks (I like a book you can roll up- sue me), this quickly became my book of worship and I truly struggled to put it down.
Yes Please works completely different to your traditional book, there’s no begin, middle or end, it works more as a sophisticated scrap book that beholds a bundle of memories, advice, warnings and anecdotes that will please Poehler’s die-hard fans while intriguing to those perhaps unfamiliar to her work. Told in three seperate section entitled “Say Whatever You Want”, “Do Whatever You Want” and “Be Whoever You Want”, Yes Please gives readers a glimpse of, not only Poehler’s professional journey from comedy fan to comedy genius but also allows us to get a personal yet respectful insight into the inner working of her childhood, adolescence and relationships.
Certain chapters are going to stick out to individual readers more than others will, there were definitely moments within the book where my eyes skimmed over thinking “this doesn’t really apply to me”, while others hit the mark completely. Still, within those chapters where I felt a little like I was listening to the grown ups talk, the comedy was bang on which allowed for enjoyment none the less.
For me, what was the cement of entertainment within Yes Please was the inspiration, frank and honest way Poehler speaks of “the biz” and how hard work pays off. How success has many different levels and how you won’t know until you try. I find the writings of successful women very inspiring and when women like Poehler tackle said subject matter with wit, honesty and an infectious determination, it becomes undeniably readable to me.
While all this is completely thrilling to read and informative while entertaining, my main issue with Yes Please is the lack of real heart within the book as a whole. Yes, Poehler opens up about the more personal sides of her life and yes, it’s clear to see just how passionate she is about her work and life but she shoots herself in the foot from page one by continuously complaining about just how hard writing a book is. As a reader, I don’t want to hear that and as a fan, I want to believe that she approached this task with as much gusto as she does her other projects. Alas, her constant ramblings on how she “has no business writing a book”, is humbling to a fault.
This isn’t to say that everybody that is a great actor or comedian that writes a book has to be amazing from the beginning but if they don’t believe in their own story, the reader wont either. While I was a little disappointing by this, being a Poehler fan before reading, I still found her witty anecdotes and sweet nature charming, while finding myself that little more more motivated with my own work after reading.