Yes please

by Amy Poehler

Paper Book, 2014




New York, NY : Dey St., an imprint of William Morrow Publishers, [2014]


The actress best known for her work on "Parks and Recreation" and "Saturday Night Live" reveals personal stories and offers her humorous take on such topics as love, friendship, parenthood, and her relationship with Tina Fey.


½ (1389 ratings; 3.7)

Media reviews

This book is heavy. Perhaps that's because it's so firmly packed with wit and insight. Fans of Poehler and her offbeat characters expect her to be outrageous and there's some of that here, but mostly this is a sweet, funny memoir and a thoughtful look at what it takes to be a woman. In fact,
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there's lots of advice given here, and it's smart, the kind of stuff your favorite aunt would tell you, albeit, an aunt who once shot a moose on the "Weekend Update" set while rapping alongside Sarah Palin. She addresses how to treat your career (like a bad boyfriend); how not to torture other women about their life choices; ways to shut people up about your newly single status ("Hey, lady, I don't want to fuck your husband"). With so much to enjoy and absorb, you may even want to carry this book around, reread it, and underline pertinent-to-your-own-life sentences, which would be perfectly reasonable, except for the fact that it's so darn heavy.
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User reviews

LibraryThing member norabelle414
As it turns out, Saturday Night Live is just about the least interesting thing Amy Poehler has ever done. While she was acting and writing at SNL she was also running an improv theater. Before she was on SNL she had a late-night comedy show on Comedy Central. After SNL she wrote, produced,
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directed, and acted in 3 tv shows and a web series all at the same time. She's a dynamo.

There was a small amount of mourning for me when reading this book. The Amy Poehler I thought I knew (who was completely amazing and perfect) does not exist. Instead I met this new, different Amy Poehler. She's crass, she smoked cigarettes and did drugs, she's very flawed, and she doesn't ever put up with bullshit. But she's even better than the Amy in my head. Her flaws are her strengths. Her mistakes are the best things she's ever done. She regrets nothing, because everything has gotten her to where she is, which is exactly where she wants to be.

The thing that really sets Amy (and her memoir) apart from the others is how much love she has. She loves her kids, and her friends, and her parents, and her plethora of jobs, and her life. She is just so uplifting that it feels like she's loving you as you read the book. Even the overly-familiar writing style, which I usually hate, was just endearing because it was filled with so much love. This memoir was everything I needed it to be, and didn't know it.
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LibraryThing member regularguy5mb
Amy Poehler, you beautiful starfish.

I have to say that I read a lot of biographies and memoirs, and while many of them are open and honest, Yes Please is, I think, the first one I've read that simply felt like a conversation with a good friend. That's the best way to describe how Amy writes about
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herself, like she's just sharing stories with a friend over a quiet drink by a fireplace. She is so very sweet, and open, and honest, and if you couldn't tell that I already loved her before starting this book, it should certainly be obvious by now.

But don't let that tarnish your opinion of this review or her book, I don't praise it simply because of my love for Poehler, but also because it is such a wonderful read. Amy talks about things many celebrities would either gloss over or leave out entirely (such as her drug use in her younger days), and approaches them with a great honesty and hilarious hubris. Again, this is part of her style.

Amy Poehler is confident in who she is and what she has done in her life, and that's what comes through here in her book.
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LibraryThing member ghneumann
This book unfortunately reinforces my already settled mindset: I just don't care for comedian memoir-essay books. I'll admit that I've always thought of author Amy Poehler as the less funny part of Tina 'n Amy, but once I started watching Parks & Recreation, I got a lot fonder of Amy. Her Leslie
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Knope is the first time I've watched a character onscreen and felt like I was seeing someone like me up there. Not physically, the only thing Amy/Leslie and I share there is being short. But the optimism, the determination, the gravitation towards politics...she's a great character and one that's honestly been kind of a role model to me.

So I really wish that I could tell you that Yes Please is an amazing book filled with wit and wisdom that you should rush out and acquire a copy of it right now. But that wouldn't be right, because it's actually an enjoyable enough but pretty standard-issue famous-funny-person-writes-a-bunch-of-essays-about-their-life-and-how-they-got-where-they-are. Amy recounts a very prosaic childhood outside of Boston in solidly middle-class comfort, where she made up stories to add drama to her life. She talks about her time in comedy, starting in Chicago and meeting Tina Fey (their friendship is not especially highlighted, she actually ends up talking more about her bond with Seth Meyers), working on Saturday Night Live, and some of her triumphs and missteps along the way. She talks about Parks & Rec (the book was written between the sixth and seventh/final season of the show) and how much she loves being a part of it. She doesn't talk much about her then-fresh divorce from Will Arnett, but she does talk about being pregnant and becoming a mother at length. Which makes sense, she has two small boys and clearly loves them like crazy. Basically, she just talks about her life.

It's written with warmth and an enjoyably humorous tone, but none of it is especially fresh or revelatory. Part of me wants to believe that you can write a compelling memoir of a more-or-less normalish life without having to relate giant obstacles you've managed to overcome or outrageous things you've gotten up to in your youth, but the available evidence that I've come across suggests otherwise. Amy Poehler has obviously achieved tremendous success, but the way she describes her days of being young and dead broke focus so little on that and so much on the sheer enjoyment she got out of building her comedy career that it hardly seems like she struggled much on her way up the ladder. Which is great, on the one hand. She doesn't try to engineer specious complications, she never pretends that she didn't party and have fun while she was also working her tail off, and it was clearly hard work that led her to the opportunities that she's taken and run with and that have paid off so well for her. But on the other hand, her completely understandable refusal to really get into what seems like her most challenging experience (her divorce) makes it so the book has no dramatic tension. Fundamentally decent person works hard and capitalizes on opportunities she was fortunate enough to have access to and prospers is just not a story that really goes anywhere, interest-wise. If you're a Poehler superfan, you'll love it, but it didn't do much of anything for me.
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LibraryThing member bookworm12
This is one of those books that most people will already know if they want to read or not. It’s exactly what you would expect, funny stories and advice from Amy Poehler. I love her sense of humor. From her manic Hilary Clinton laugh on SNL to her Smart Girls videos on YouTube to Leslie Knope’s
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eternal optimism on Parks and Recreation to her perfect co-hosting abilities at the Golden Globes, I am just a fan.

So it was fun for me to hear Amy Poehler talk about self-esteem, giving birth, growing up loving attention and later joining SNL. I loved the conversational, sweet tone she took. She’s proud of where she is, but she’s also honest about the hard work that it took to get there.

BOTTOM LINE: I loved it. I’ve been a fan of Poehler’s for a long time and Parks and Rec is one of my favorite shows. You probably already know if you are going to read it, but if you are PLEASE read the audio version! It is so much better to hear her reading her own stories. There’s also some adlibbing and tons of fantastic guest readers (Carol Burnett, Seth Meyers, Patrick Stewart, Kathleen Turner, and Amy’s Parents)!

“People are their most beautiful when they are laughing, crying, dancing, playing, telling the truth, and being chased in a fun way.”

“I believe great people do things before they are ready.”

“That is the motto women should constantly repeat over and over again: Good for her, not for me.”
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LibraryThing member Citizenjoyce
Amy Poehler is a woman you'd want on your team. She loves her family, her friends, her career, her boyfriend and sex. She's a teacher, a bad sleeper and a good waitress. She's "not as nice as you think" she is. She has a bit of social phobia and isn't fond of strangers, so don't ambush her with
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your screen play in hopes of a hand up. She's known her whole life that she wanted to do comedy, and has made a very successful job of it, but in her forties has come up with some ideas about career and healthy detachment:
Too often we are told to visualize what we want and cut out pictures of it... Late-night commercials remind us that 'anything is possible.' Positive affirmations are written on our tea bags. I am introducing a new idea. Try to care less. Practice ambivalence. Learn to let go of wanting it. Treat your career like a bad boyfriend.
Here's the thing. Your career won't take care of you. It wont call you back or introduce you to its parents. Your career will openly flirt with other people while you are around. It will forget your birthday and wreck your career. Your career will blow you off if you call it too much. It's never going to leave its wife. Your career is fucking other people and everyone knows but you.
Your career will never marry you.
Now before I extend this metaphor, let me make a distinction between career and creativity. Creativity is connected to your passion, that light inside you that drives you. That joy that comes when you do something your love.... That is the juicy stuff that lubricates our lives and helps us feel less alone in the world...
Career is different. Career is the stringing together of opportunities and jobs. Mix in public opinion and past regrets. Add a dash of future panic and a whole lot of financial uncertainty. Career is something that fools you into thinking you are in control and then takes pleasure in reminding you that you aren't.

Pretty good advice from a well written book.
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LibraryThing member saroz
I started this book right before emergency surgery, and I finished the final fifty pages or so - somehow - while drugged out of my mind on some fairly obnoxious painkillers. That's not to say I don't remember the book - I do. But it would be wrong to say I remember it as very much more than a blur;
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there's a few specific stories I recall, and I know for a fact they're all from the early parts of the narrative. It would be a mistake, then, for me to try and talk about how well Poehler discusses any particular topic. I remember thinking that many of her subjects aren't ones I necessarily have any experience in - marriage, divorce, child-rearing, a desire to please people, anxiety over (presumed) personal attractiveness - and that's about it.

What I do recall strongly is that the book and its author come over as extremely sincere. My problem with memoirs by comedians is that they often feel like exercises in "Look at me! Look at me!" with the comedian in question running loops to try and keep you constantly laughing. What works in stand-up or in a sitcom, though, does not necessarily work on the printed page. I don't like feeling cajoled and I don't want to spend multiple hours in the company of one-liners.

What's unusual is that Poehler pretty much never falls into that particular trap. Unlike, for instance, Tina Fey's Bossypants - a book I did not enjoy - I never got the impression from Yes Please that the author is desperate for my approval. Instead, she simply puts forth her perspective on life, which is generally upbeat, positive, a little anxious, and surprisingly reflective - not a million miles away from her character on Parks and Recreation, just less exaggerated and considerably more self-aware. On rare occasion she veers toward being slightly too chirpy, but she always pulls away again just in time, and there are actually some surprisingly revealing moments (including one or two admissions I would not have been able to make in her place). Mostly, I came away from the book feeling like Amy Poehler is an authentic person and someone I would be pleased to call a friend, which is absolutely the last result I expected. It actually made me want to support more of her projects. Will I keep a closer eye on Amy Poehler and her work from this point on? Yes, please!
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LibraryThing member RidgewayGirl
Faced with a day of travel, I ended up reading Amy Poehler's memoir. It was a good choice. Yes Please is episodic and funny, with bursts of honesty and lists and pictures to break things up. Poehler sounds like a great person to hang out with; genuinely warm, very funny and with an edge to her.
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She's not a natural with the book form and stretches of her memoir drag or end up being too busy saying nice things about everyone to be interesting, but other parts, especially those about her childhood, were a lot of fun to read. Similar in tone to Tina Fey's Bossypants, this isn't as good, but it might be worth picking up if you're a fan.
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LibraryThing member Izavel
So, I know what you're thinking (actually I don't but nevermind that). You're thinking, "How did you read this book so quickly?" (Roughly 2 hours.) And the answer to that is I skiiiiiiiimmed.

In full disclosure, I must say I have never watched Parks and Rec and only snippets of SNL. Sketch comedy
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typically isn't my thing. But knowing her to be a modern feminist icon, and seeing as we have the same wife, I thought I'd give her memoir a shot. Laughing throughout would just be a bonus, right? Swing... and a miss. It seems like she just wrote the book because there was nothing else left for her to do. She's an accomplished woman. That deserves respect. It doesn't always deserve a book.

For one thing, her apple pie upbringing bored me to tears. Not her fault, but what about now? What can Amy Poehler tell us about the Amy Poehler of today? She sleeps bad. OK, but what else? Um, that's it. Oh, but here have some life tips I saw on the web. Name drop ad nauseam. Yes please, that'll be $20. And I chuckled all of twice.

I think it would be best if I watched some videos of Amy being funny and just pretended I never read this. Yeah, that's what I'll do.
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LibraryThing member hoosgracie
This was fabulous. Amy is funny as expected, but she is also warm and wise in her stories. I loved this book. I highly recommend it on audio. It is one of the best audio book experiences I've had.
LibraryThing member skrouhan
For most people, I think you will either like it - or you won't. There's not much of a middle ground here, and I think this is sort of true for Amy Poehler's humor in general. If you find Amy Poehler funny, you will probably enjoy her memoir. If you can't really stand her, then what are you doing
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even picking it up?!

I'm in the Poehler camp, so I enjoyed her book. It is not like your typical memoir - it's more like a collection of essays, letters, thoughts and blurbs. I believe she self-prescribes it as a sort of "scrapbook" of her life. Some of her essays are sentimental, some are outrageous, and all of them have the Poehler touch. Because of that, it's not particularly cohesive. You can jump ahead, or go back. You can put it down, then pick it back up again a week later (although I don't know how you could, I read it from cover to cover in a day!). Some people might not like its format, but personally I think it works.

Some of my favorites include "Gimme That Pudding" (on not winning awards and performing bits with other nominees - lesson learned: George Clooney really is the best thing there is), "Plain Girl vs. the Demon" (about that little voice inside our heads telling us we are ugly/fat/fill-in-the-blank, something that really hit home for me), "Humping Justin Timberlake" (concerning SNL and special guest stars) - but honestly, pick it up, open it to any page, and you will get an enjoyable read.

In short, I'd recommend it to anyone who is a fan of Poehler - check it out from the library, and take it on a plane ride or trip with you.

I will close with a few of her plastic surgery haikus:

"I have no idea
If you are angry or sad
Since you got fillers"

"Can I be honest?
You look like a lady from
The Broadway show Cats"

"Hey, shooting poison
In your face does not keep you
From turning fifty"
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LibraryThing member mojomomma
This was a quick, funny, and pleasantly empowering read in which Poehler tells us about her early life and rise through the comedy ranks to A-List stardom.
LibraryThing member bookczuk
I've thought for a while that Amy Poehler is a bright lady, skilled comedian, and good actress. Doing an audio-read of her memoir, confirmed all three of those to be true. I chose to listen to the audio for several reasons: it was read by the author; it had "guest appearances" in it by other
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notables (Carol Burnette, Patrick Stewart, Amy's parents, for starters), and it had some bonus material that the book lacks. Of course, I suspect the book has pictures, which my downloadable didn't, but I'll get my hands on a copy of the book someday, and look then. But until that time, I've had a wonderful glimpse into the fascinating mind of a fascinating woman.

I expected to crack a smile reading this book, and probably laugh. What I didn't expect was to be so drawn in to some of the situations and insights she presents. For example, she once was asked, at an audition, to talk about her most embarrassing moment. She refused. She also didn't get the part, but she did dispense this nugget: when someone asks you what your most embarrassing moment was, or any other question you don't want to answer, you don't have to answer it. Too often we (especially women) try hard to please and end up allowing ourselves to be pushed into some place where we are uncomfortable. It's okay to say no. The day after reading that scene, I was interviewed for something. When the interviewer said she wanted to start with a few questions, I immediately recalled this section. "Okay," I replied. "As long as it isn't what's my most embarrassing moment".

Another piece I found endearing was hearing Amy speak about her family. I knew she was a mom (who could miss it, when she was playing Hilary Clinton and pregnant, or doing doing that famous rap on SNL when Sarah Palin was on the show, and Amy very VERY pregnant. Look it up if you haven't seen it), but to hear her talk about raising these two boys, was a treat. I love the traditions she has with her boys, like hunting the moon. The genuine love she has for her brother and parents was also quite heartwarming. She hasn't lost touch with who she is or where she came from. Nice.

So, did I like the book? Yes, please.

Tags: audio, biography-autobiography-or-memoir, great-title, listened-in-the-car, made-me-laugh-out-loud-for-real, made-me-look-something-up, read, thank-you-charleston-county-library, took-inside-to-listen
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LibraryThing member dd196406
Delightful! Made me think while I was laughing at myself! Recommend it!
LibraryThing member melissarochelle
Read from November 02 to 10, 2014

I'm torn between 3 & 4 stars with this one. I expected to laugh out loud a little more than I did. Although reading the book has inspired me to finally get back to binge watching Parks & Rec. I preferred the essays about now more than the essays about her
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UCB/Chicago days. The essay discussing the NBA player and the model had moments that I had to read aloud to my husband. I especially loved the more heartfelt essays about her boys, her parents, and saying sorry. So maybe it is more 4 stars than 3....
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LibraryThing member AmyMailloux
Very fun, easy to read. I could really relate to her and she made me feel better about myself.
LibraryThing member Milda-TX
Tried to read it, but got tired of the whining about how hard writing is, and took it back to the library.
LibraryThing member ecataldi
Just like Mindy Kaling's book, this memoir made me believe that I could and should best friends with Amy Poehler. It's hilarious, raw, honest, insightful, intriguing, and beguiling. It's great! There are short essays, tell alls, poems, pictures, funny lists, and more.

Amy talks a little about her
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childhood, how she fell in love with improv, Saturday Night Live, Tina Fey, her marriage, children, and pregnancy, and of course, Parks and Rec. It was awesome and it made me appreciate her even more as an actress and comedian. She put a lot of hard work into getting where she is today and it was interesting to learn how she started on that journey.

Basically, you'll love this. If you like funny memoirs written by strong funny females (Mindy Kaling, Tina Fey, Jenny Lawson, Caitlin Moran, etc.) then this book is definitely for you. Also, if you like her as an actress then you will love this, it's not just for women either, every should appreciate her ridiculous humor. Soo much fun!
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LibraryThing member ColeReadsBooks
A great funny autobiography from one of comedy’s most beloved stars.


Yes Please follows the life of comedy star Amy Poehler, from her quiet upbringing in Boston, her years of improv and training to her success at Saturday Night Live and Parks and Recreation. Poehler delves into all areas
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of life, offering up stories about relationships, motherhood, and working to achieve your goals. This heart warming memoir features many humorous and unique stories, as well as words of wisdom to live your life by.


Amy Poehler is best known for her years on SNL as well as her role as Leslie Knoppe on Parks and Recreation. It is this that drew me to the book. I must admit I don’t often read celebrity autobiographies, I think the only other autobiographies I've read in my lifetime are Mud, Sweat and Tears by Bear Grylls and the hilarious I Was Bono’s Doppelganger. That being said, I was drawn to Yes Please because Poehler strikes me as a funny down to Earth kind of person and her book is exactly that.

Reading Yes Please kind of feels like looking at a scrapbook. It doesn't follow any sort of chronological order, there are stories from childhood, then adulthood then back to childhood. This gives the book a much more natural feel, like someone is telling you the story of their life in person, rather than reading about it in a book. That being said, it doesn't really feel like an autobiography in the traditional sense. There are parts she misses out, that she doesn't want to talk about - like her divorce. Although she goes into detail about her career, there is a focus on an giving advice - such as “treating your career like a bad boyfriend.” There are also some great hilarious stories, and lots of words of wisdom, like:

“However, if you do start crying in an argument and someone asks why, you can always say, "I'm just crying because of how wrong you are.”

“I think we should stop asking people in their twenties what they “want to do” and start asking them what they don’t want to do.”

I really enjoyed reading Yes Please. It’s very frank and honest - Poehler doesn't beat about the bush, she dives right in. She offers some great insight into the world of Hollywood, and love her or hate her, you have to respect the dedication and hard work she has put into building her career. She is no overnight success story. There are stories that will make you laugh and make you cry - Poehler says some very touching things about her cast mates from Parks and Recreation, so if you’re dreading the end of the series as much as I am, this might be exactly the thing you need! I have also recently learned there is an audio book version, with live chapters and special guests, if you’re a fan of Amy Poehler then I would definitely check that out!
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LibraryThing member monamie
Amy Poehler seems like a pretty awesome woman and I thoroughly enjoyed learning more about her, her life and her work. She comes across as smart, funny, kind, thoughtful, and overall a good human. And she cares about being a strong woman who supports other women. That's so rare and important in
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this world. I'm glad she's around as a role model to young women and as a mother to two young boys.

The book itself was just okay. Her writing in places was great and inspiring and/or funny to read. (Inspiring hilarity is a rare and awesome combination!) However, it was meandering and didn't have a cohesive thread or purpose. It could have ("Yes Please" is a great mantra/title and overall theme) and should have been easy to carry it throughout. The issues with the book I blame on her editors. She's not a novelist; she writes and performs sketch and improv comedy. And those skills shine through in her work and writing. The overall structure's integrity should have come from her editors. (Also, there were quite a number of sentence-level grammar issues that should have been caught. Again, not her fault.)

I would recommend this book to others, but caveat it as something to read more for the individual essays/chapters than the cohesive whole.

"Let me take a minute to say that I love bossy women. Some people hate the word, but I understand how 'bossy' can seem like a shitty way to describe a woman with a determined point of view, but for me, a bossy woman is someone to search out and celebrate. A bossy woman is someone who cares and commits and is a natural leader. Also, even though I'm bossy, I like being told what to do by people who are smarter and more interesting than me."
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LibraryThing member brangwinn
Okay Amy Poehler
I enjoyed your frank, funny memoir, even if it is the heaviest book I’ve ever read! I didn’t know paper could be so heavy. And as a Judge Judy junkie I hope this book did get you invited to spend time on the judge’s yacht…just hope you mind your manners so you don’t get
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that famous judge’s stare down.
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LibraryThing member KLmesoftly
I thought people were mainly making jokes when they commented that the overwhelming takeaway from this book is that Amy Poehler really didn't want to write a book. No, they aren't kidding - Amy Poehler really didn't want to write a book. This is yet another of those lackluster memoirs that avoids
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any deep self-reflection or interesting storytelling, and the big redeeming factor for me was my listening to it as an audiobook; Amy Poehler could make the phone book moderately amusing by reading it aloud.
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LibraryThing member CarleyShea
I would like to preface this review by saying that I listened to the audiobook, which is something I usually cannot do, but worked outstandingly well for this book. The audiobook is a bit like a dinner party, with guests helping Amy Poehler to read her book, including Seth Meyers, Poehler's
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parents, and even Patrick Stewart. It was more like a podcast than an audiobook and I like it a lot.

Yes Please is like a book of essays and advice. It's a mix between biography and self-help, without the promise of actually helping. I learned a lot about Amy's start in comedy and her experiences in the entertainment industry. She presents herself as imperfect, which made it really easy to relate to, and empathize with, her. Having already been a HUGE fan of Poehler, Yes Please worked for me. It gave me what I wanted from it and more.

One thing I will say is that the book is not set up chronologically; Poehler jumps back and forth to different stories, so some things are reiterated or out of order. I don't view this negatively, but it can get a little confusing at times. Maybe marathoning the audiobook changed the experience of the story a bit, but I still enjoyed it very much.

Maybe I'll give the print version a go? Yes please
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LibraryThing member aliceoddcabinet
I should not have liked this book. I like *her*, but when the cover of a book is a picture of the author, I'm usually turned off. But I really loved YES PLEASE. I loved it's diffuse nature, it's chaos, it's warmth. A great narrative of a woman becoming a creative professional.
LibraryThing member Narshkite
Let me start by saying I listened to the audio, and I recommended it absolutely. Amy is a good reader, others, such as Seth Myers and Amy's parents, show up as well and its great to hear the stories in their own voices. The audiobook also includes a final chapter not in the book, and essay read
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live at the UCB theater in LA.

There is some wonderful stuff here, really great. The stories about the formation of the UCB and its forbearers are fantastic. The essay about apology is deeply wise and touching. The stories about her kids and about her own growing up are sweet and funny. But there is a boatload of filler here, and her constant whines about how hard it is to write a book needed to be excised. It saps all the joy out of things when you are constantly reminded this whole project is nothing more than a slog for her. Its like meeting up with someone you haven't seen in a long time, and it becomes clear immediately that they didn't miss you in the least.

A recommended read for everyone who likes Amy. I think she is fantastic so I was charmed by and interested in much of this. Not a must read, but a good light listen in the car option.
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LibraryThing member sandra.k.heinzman
I listened to this book (the ONLY way to read it, in my opinion), and the audio was wonderful. But I didn't find the entire book that funny, just certain parts. It did make me want to watch Parks & Recreation (have never seen it), just to see Amy in action! Our book discussion this weekend should
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be interesting, as I don't know what we'll discuss about the book. I just wasn't that into this book.
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Original publication date


Physical description

xix, 329 p.; 24 cm


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