To class Yes, Please as a memoir would be a complete misinterpretation. Poehler herself states, when talking about her divorce, that she ‘doesn’t like people knowing her shit’. So, if not a memoir, and if not a self-help book – what is Yes, Please? It’s both. And then it’s none of them. And then it’s a scrapbook.
And then it’s all of them.
The book is effectively a series of essays written by Poehler. The topics range from anything as trivial as starring in a play aged 9, to how she dealt with her first drama-filled pregnancy. With her witty outlook on life and her constant need to be gracious to everyone, whilst maintaining her strong, feminist attitude towards her work, family and social life, Amy Poehler successfully manages to give us an insight into how her brain works. She can be sincere but very dry at the same time and this, for me, was a massive help on how I should look at certain situations differently. Similar to Not That Kind Of Girl by Lena Dunham, the book delves into the reader’s mind as much as the reader delves into the book. It’s a real two-way relationship.
Amy Poehler is a super nice person. She spends a lot of time gushing about who she has had the opportunity to meet in the business and never passes the chance to boost her friends’ ego if she can. In some parts of the book, you can really see her heart was on her sleeve when writing it; however, in other parts, you can see how she has struggled to make the subject in hand coherent. Although the content is good, the strings just aren’t tight enough. She does however mention on more than one occasion how hard she found the writing process, and this refreshing attitude adds even more comedy value to an already funny book.
This is sometimes a book about comedy, but a lot of the time she is pulling stories from her life and twisting them into the odd joke here and there. After many anecdotes and countless essays on her self-perception, Poehler does manage to piece together a somewhat coherent book and it was an enjoyable read – but I don’t think the book would appeal to anyone that isn’t a fan. A lot of the book handles issues that she has dealt with in her career (which is fair enough) but she rarely goes into detail, and most of the time it’s as though she had a point, began talking – but then forgot her point.
All in all, this book-diary-memoir-scrapbook was a fun read, and in some ways, it did give me a new perspective on things – but it does lack that depth and insight that made books like Bossypants by Tina Fey, or Moranthology by Caitlin Moran, so inspiring. If you’re looking for a mostly light and fluffy, easy read, then this would be perfect. If you’re looking for something a bit more gritty and real – have a look at Fey’s, Moran’s or Dunham’s works.
Rating: 3 and a half cups of tea out of 5! (nearly full)