Book Review: Yes Please

A few months ago a friend of mine introduced me to the TV show Parks and Recreation. For those who haven't seen it, it stars Amy Poehler as Leslie Knope, an idealistic local government official who's trying to regenerate her town in the face of her colleagues' apathy. I really loved the show and Amy's performance in it, so when I was thinking about what to read next I decided to pick up a copy of her memoir, Yes Please.

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I'm going to say now that if you're expecting Bossypants take two, this is not that book. Rather than the almost relentless attempts to find humour in everything that Tina Fey does (which sadly didn't work for me - I enjoyed the book but it only made me chuckle a few times rather than laugh out loud funny), Poehler's book, although peppered with wry one-liners, is much more introspective, and all the better for it.

A mixture of autobiographical snippets from Poehler's life and essays on the nature of modern-day womanhood, the book loosely follows Amy's journey from when she first got into comedy to where she is now. It covers a whole range of topics from parenthood to drugs, but the best bits of it are when she talks about her family - there's a wonderful passage where she talks about going 'moon hunting' with her two young sons which is just magical, and some lovely pieces covering her childhood as well.

I also loved the fact that the book was intercut with various photographs and documents from Amy's life outside showbusiness, from childhood pictures to school reports and whimsical letters and poems. Granted that might put some people off but I thought it added a lovely quirkiness and showed a different, more personal side of her. In fact, one of the biggest plus points of the book is how personal it is. Whilst it's not warts and all (Poehler doesn't talk about her divorce, for example, and a new boyfriend is mentioned only once in passing), it does go into a lot of depth about the likes of the birth of her first child, as well as being brutally honest about her feelings on issues like working mums vs stay at home mums and female competitiveness.

Overall, I really liked this book. Poehler's charming voice runs throughout it, keeping things lighthearted even when she's talking about serious issues, but the depths the book delves into make it much more than the fluffy memoir it could have been in other hands. A great read about what it means to be a woman in the modern day and you leave feeling like you've had an amazing chat with a cool new friend.

4 comments:

  1. Oh what a fab review especially of a book I am desperate to read, now I will HAVE to get it xx

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    1. It is brilliant and you have to read it. Highly recommended.

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  2. The plastic surgery haikus were my favourite bit. And 'treat your career like s bad boyfriend' is my new mantra.

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    1. I forgot about the haikus! And yes, 'treat your career like a bad boyfriend' is definitely one to remember...

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