Book reviews, musings and waffle from a British lit addict

Amy Poehler’s ‘Yes Please’: Audiobook v. Paperback


It’s called Yes Please because it is the constant struggle and often the right answer. Can we figure out what we want, ask for it, and stop talking? Yes please. Is being vulnerable a power position? Yes please. Am I allowed to take up space? Yes please. Would you like to be left alone? Yes please. I love saying “yes” and I love saying “please.” Saying “yes” doesn’t mean I don’t know how to say no, and saying “please” doesn’t mean I am waiting for permission. “Yes please” sounds powerful and concise. It’s a response and a request. It is not about being a good girl; it is about being a real woman. It’s also a title I can tell my kids. I like when they say “Yes please” because most people are rude and nice manners are the secret keys to the universe.

Full disclosure up front:  I love Amy Poehler.  I love her for Parks and Recreation.  I love her for being best friends with Tina Fey and proving that being a successful lady doesn’t mean treading on or dragging down every other woman you meet.  Obviously, I also love her for just generally making me laugh and for proving that women are funny.

Now that I’ve read/listened to her autobiography, I love her for so many more reasons.  I feel as though it’s important that you know all of that before you carry on with this review because there’ll be very little moaning in this post and a whole lot of gushing.
I don’t read a lot of autobiographies, largely because there are very few ‘celebrities’ whose lives or opinions I care about.  Since I started this blog, I’ve read five including this one.  Of those five, four have been by people known for being funny (Michael McIntyre, Caitlin Moran, Tina Fey and Amy Poehler).  I think because my primary focus isn’t necessarily to find out about someone’s life story but read something entertaining.

If you’re already an Amy Poehler fan, you’ll love this book.  Honestly, though, even if you don’t know much about her work, I’m pretty sure you’ll still really like Yes Please.  I’m not It’s funny (unsurprisingly) but it’s also quirky and creative.  It has random poems and snippets of writing on all kinds of topics that I loved.  The writing is relaxed and chatty.  It fires off on tangents much like you do when you’re chatting with friends.  Actually, no.  It felt like chatting with a familiar older (although admittedly not that much older) relative.  There are snippets on how to be great at just being a woman (there’s a really great section on how women need to learn to be less judgey and live by the phrase “Great for her! Not for me”) and on how to live well and happily that manage to still seem fresh and funny, never patronising or worn.

Treat your career like a bad boyfriend. Here’s the thing. Your career won’t take care of you. It won’t call you back or introduce you to its parents.Your career will openly flirt with other people while you are around. It will forget you birthday and wreck your car. 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. (…) If your career is a bad boyfriend, it is healthy to remember you can always leave and go sleep with somebody else

I whole-heartedly recommend it.  So which version should you be hunting down?

The Paperback

I started out reading the paperback, which I bought pretty much as soon as it was released.  I really wanted to read Poehler’s writing but I hate hardbacks.

The paperback is a lot of fun.  It’s packed full of photographs from Amy Poehler’s life, copies of letters and scribbled notes and generally has a scrapbook feel to it.  It’s bright and the presentation style fits perfectly with the writing style.

My main gripe with the paperback, though, is how it feels.  I know that sounds ridiculous but I really didn’t like the finish on the cover and the feel of the pages.  They’re glossy and look good but they feel terrible.  Especially if you accidentally happen to catch one with your nail and it makes a squeaky noise that made me entire body want to curl in on itself, not dissimilar to the feeling catching your nail on some dried paint or a blackboard.

To sum up: looks great, feels gross.

The Audiobook

Out of the two versions I own, it’s the audiobook that I’d recommend the most.  It’s mostly read by Amy Poehler but has a ton of appearances from people who have written chapters for the book (including Michael Schur, who is a writer on Parks and Recreation and Amy Poehler’s parents) or other actors (Patrick Stewart’s cameos are particularly hilarious).  It sounds gimmicky or gratuitous but because the writing isn’t linear, it works.

The last chapter is a live recording of Amy Poehler reading aloud to an audience at a theatre and it worked so brilliantly.  It’s impossible to listen to this and get bored; there’s always someone or something new to keep your attention.

I listened to it while driving and I adored it.  If you listen to audiobooks, I absolutely recommend it.  If you’ve wanted to try audiobooks but haven’t been sure where to start, this is a TERRIFIC choice.

Overall:  I loved both the auiobook and the paperback but it was the audiobook that I preferred.  I’m glad that I own both because I do think that they both offer something unique but it’s the audiobook that I think I’m likely to revisit.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Date finished: 07 January 2016
Format: Audiobook; Paperback
Source: Bought
Genre: Autobiography; Humour
Pictured Edition Published: by Dey Street Books in October 2015