Yes Please, by Amy Poehler

AMY POEHLER is one of mainstream comedy’s giants in the 2010s. No small feat, considering she is 5”1 and has a voice that’s reminiscent of the Barbie tour guide from Toy Story 2. Her first book, Yes Please, is heavy – the hardback edition is printed on glossy paper and filled with double-page spreads of quotes like ”FORGET THE FACTS AND REMEMBER THE FEELINGS”, and with pictures of her dressed in a ship captain’s uniform, as an ‘80s aerobics instructor, and in a full beard and moustache. I’d say that gives you an idea of the overall tone.YesPleaseBook

She charts her journeys from a cosy suburban life in Boston in the ‘70s, when hippy culture was still very much in – she references one part of her childhood in which her father was suspiciously relaxed, friendly, and was always the first to suggest going out for ice cream – to the rise of her improv comedy troupe the Upstanding Citizen’s Brigade in New York and eventually to Saturday Night Live, where she met her comedy life partner Tina Fey, and starred in the joyful Parks and Recreation (about to start its seventh and final season on NBC).

It’s as much a biography as it is a self-help book; hence the title. Poehler explains the benefits of simply saying “Yes, please” to things more often, while still understanding the importance of the word “No” as a complete sentence. She writes beautifully and in a relatable way about divorce, home owning, waitressing, motherhood, womanhood, apologising, friendship, and the time she sat on George Clooney’s lap (so maybe not all of it is relatable, as much as we wish it was). Yes Please does what is always rewarding about reading biographies; being humble about her many successes without seeming insincere. The first chapter (and a lot of the last) is mostly her describing how hard it is to write a book, but she’s obviously having fun with it, too. Fans of Poehler’s material will get the most out of Yes Please, but others will find themselves becoming fans almost immediately through her writing style; speaking to you breathlessly as though you’re sitting in the TV studio with her five minutes before airtime. “Is any of this useful? Should I keep going?” she would ask. “Yes, please” you would reply.