When Amy Poehler’s book, Yes Please was released at the end of October, last year, it was on my list of books to read. But then, I hummed and hawed about it, and decided that maybe I didn’t need to read it. Fast forward to February when I watched all seven seasons of Parks and Rec and realized how amazing Amy was. I knew then that I would really love her book, and put it on my to-read list for the spring. Last week, I ordered it and started reading it basically as soon as I opened the box. From the first page, I felt like we were friends, just having a conversation about life, love and her super famous friends.
If you’ve read other memoirs written by famously funny women like Mindy Kaling and Tina Fey, you’ll likely enjoy this (and are probably wondering why it took me so long to get to it). Amy talks about her childhood, her great parents, her love of comedy, her improv roots and her days at SNL. She wrote candidly about her experiences with drugs, anxiety and being a working mother. She talked about her recent divorce, but didn’t dwell on it or share details, which I totally respected — I think she understands that she only has one side to that story, and she is in control of how much or little she wants to share. Some of my very favourite parts were the chapters about her two boys, the chapter that Seth Meyers wrote, and her chapter on her work on Parks and Recreation, especially her tribute to each cast member, and the things that she says about the creator, Mike Schur (who I have a major comedy crush on).
Yes Please is laugh-out-loud funny, heart warming and profound. I wasn’t expecting all the nuggets of wisdom that she shared. I knew from others who read it before me that she shared a lot of personal experiences and advice on life, but I wasn’t expecting it to be so profound. I love Amy’s writing style, her voice, and especially when she quoted Wordsworth — she gets me.
I thought I would share some of my favourite quotes with you. I had to have my phone next to me or a notebook and pen because there were just so many good things that I wanted to remember.
“So what do I do? What do we do? How do we move forward when we are tired and afraid? What do we do when the voice in our head is yelling WE ARE NEVER GONNA MAKE IT? How do we drag ourselves through the muck when our brain is telling us youaredumbandyouwillneverfinishandnoonecaresanditistimeyoustop? Well, first thing we do is take our brain out and put it in a drawer. Stick it somewhere and let it tantrum until it wears itself out . . . And then you just do . . . You put your hand on your heart and feel it beating and decide if what you wrote feels true. You do it because the doing of it is the thing. Doing is the thing. The talking and worrying and thinking is not the thing. That is what I know. Writing the book is about writing the book.” (Preface, xv)
“You have to care about your work but not about the result. You have to care about how good you are and how good you feel, but not about how good people think you are or how good people think you look.” (pp. 223-4)
“Change is the only constant. Your ability to navigate and tolerate change and its painful uncomfortableness directly correlates to your happiness and general well-being.” (p. 279)
“A person’s tragedy does not make up their entire life. A story carves deep grooves into our brains each time we tell it. But we aren’t our story. We can change our stories. We can write our own.” (p. 312)
I would probably have read this in one day if my eyes didn’t shut down after too much time in front of a screen and then a book, but four days is still pretty good for me. I’m happy to have one novel to check off of my summer reading list, and looking forward to picking up the next one.
Have you read Yes Please? What did you think?