Rating: 3.0/5.0 Stars
Main Takeaway: More of a book aiming toward life lessons and advice than comedy. Highly recommend the audiobook over print.
Amy Poehler has always been a feminist idol of mine. I love her acting, I love her humor, I love her girl power best friendship with Tina Fey, and I love the things she does to inspire girls to be strong and independent. So, needless to say, I was excited to pick up this 2014 memoir to read something funny, inspiring, and empowering.
I picked up this book originally in February. I was reading Beartown by Fredrik Backman and needed a pick me up in between the tougher parts of the novel. I read forty pages of Yes Please and promptly, and sadly, shelved it. I only picked it up again two weeks ago, ready to give it another shot, but this time I decided to listen to the audiobook.
Let me tell you, BOY does that audiobook make a difference!
What I realized about “funny people memoirs” is that much of the source of their humor is derived from their voice, their inflection, their delivery. Poehler is definitely one of those people, and as an improv actor, it does not surprise me that physicality is an essential part of her humor. But this delivery is lost in the context of the written page. Lines that I had read and not thought were funny, were suddenly hilarious when I listened to Amy say them aloud in the audiobook.
Still, I found Amy’s memoir to be more sentimental than funny. I really enjoyed the scenes where Amy pours her heart onto the page. In one chapter, Amy describes a sketch she performed on SNL in which she made an offensive joke about disabled children, specifically one named Mary who had a movie made about her life. Amy’s brutally honest description of the internal battle she had with herself over the following years and how she acted in the face of confrontation were humanizing and inspiring. Hearing a story about someone you idolize, who did the wrong thing and then tried to do the right thing, makes Amy seem so much more like all the rest of us, but still leaves the reader feeling inspired by the course of action she took.
Overall, I enjoyed this memoir. It was funny and inspiring and empowering, just as I had been expecting. However, I STRONGLY recommend listening to the audiobook rather than reading the print versions. The audiobook makes the experience more personal with Amy, and is a much better medium through which to enjoy her comedy.