Yes Please is an autobiography/autobiographical essay collection by Amy Poehler.
Finished on: 8.9.2015
In little bits and achronological pieces, Amy Poehler tells us about her life and the lessons she learned so far. From her early career in improv to her successes on SNL and Parks and Recreation, she gives us a glimpse into her experiences and also gives other people – her parents, Mike Schur, Seth Meyers – some room to tell us their thoughts about Amy Poehler and her life.
I’m a fan of Amy Poehler’s, particularly due to Parks and Recreation, though I also like her openly displayed feminism and her feminist projects like Smart Girls at the Party. So I decided to read Yes Please, even though I usually don’t care for (celebrity) (auto-)biographies. And Yes Please was nice overall, but also a little boring.
One souce of the boredom I experienced during the book was probably the fact that I’m not from the USA and have (therefore) never seen an episode of SNL. It is true that a lot of people come out of that show that make their way across the great pond to Europe later in their careers, but since I didn’t really know a lot of the names Poehler mentions and didn’t really care about the goings-on behind the scenes of SNL, there was already a huge gap between me and the book. Add to that the Poehler also devotes a lot of time to her improv career, which I didn’t know about beforehand and didn’t much care for afterwards, there was a feeling of dissatisfaction there on my part.
There are moments here and there were the book managed to make me smile. Above all, though, I loved the chapter on Parks and Recreation, which was how I expected the entire book to be: warm, funny and givng a glimpse into a project that I loved that I wouldn’t otherwise have gotten. The chapter is annotated by Mike Schur and that double structure really works beautifully.
I still feel like Amy Poehler is a nice person (which is something – that is not always the case after reading an (auto-)biography), but I just expected the book to be funnier and more engaging. Maybe it would have been better if I was interested in stand-up/improv. Maybe the book would have profited from more of a common thread linking the essays. But whatever the reason, the book just didn’t really make me excited.
Summarizing: Okay but not great.