I bought this book on Audible on Friday afternoon and finished it Monday night, savoring the last hour at home while cleaning before sitting down to write this review. Listening to Amy Poehler talk about her life, her career, her family and her friends was soothing and inspiring at the same time. She made me want to write but also call my aunt to catch up. (I still owe you a call, Aunt Cary.)
Like Tina Fey’s book Bossypants, Yes Please covers a lot of Poehler’s early days in the improv scene, including her time living in Chicago. My only complaint is that the chapter on Tina Fey is little more than a short, joke poem, when I’d been holding out the whole time for a lengthy beautiful testimony to their friendship. That said, the rest of the book is extremely entertaining and worth the listen/read. Please note: One thing you will NOT find in this book is any revealing information about her divorce from Will Arnett. I am secretly relieved because honestly I am still sad they broke up and don’t want to ever know why it happened.
Now, for some highlights:
- On the title, Yes Please: It’s both an emphatic response, and also a request. She emphasizes kindness. “Nice manners are the secret key to the universe,” she writes.
- On making plans for the future: “I think we should stop asking people in their 20s what they want to do and ask them what they don’t want to do.”
- On self-love and respect: “Sticking up for ourselves the way we would a friend is a hard but satisfying thing to do.”
- A chapter that really sticks out as a beautiful piece was about an apology she made years after an inadvertent offense in a 2008 SNL sketch. She talks about how it’s never too late to say you’re sorry. This chapter is a must-read and was probably my favorite of the book.
- There is an incredibly fun chapter about SNL anecdotes told in rapid fire, none of which I wish to ruin for you.
- On her motto for moms, and for women in general: “Good for you; not for me.” According to Poehler, Maya Rudolph gave birth to both her children at home. Good for her; not for Poehler. Fair enough.
- On Louis CK: “He’s really honest, gives really great advice and knows how to drive a boat.”
- On hosting the 2013 Emmys: “Tina is the finest joke soldier you could go to war with. She also understands good lighting.”
- On working on Parks and Recreation and making your career go in the direction you want: “The talking about the thing isn’t the thing. The doing of the thing is the thing.” A good chunk of the third section is all about Parks & Rec, so I know many will enjoy that. The show’s producer and writer Michael Schur also steps in as a guest to chime in on her account of events.
- Additional guest highlights: Seth Meyers reading an essay about his friendship with Poehler; Kathleen Turner voicing the demon that tells Poehler ugly things about herself and her looks; Patrick Stewart reading a haiku about Botox; and Poehler’s parents offering advice.
- On kindness, and in concluding her book: “The only way we will survive is by being kind. The only we can get by in this world is through the help we receive from others. No one can do it alone. Yes, please.”
Amy Poehler’s book Yes Please came out October 28.