"The Childe...More restless than the swallow in the skies..." -Lord Byron, Childe Harold's Pilgrimage

Saturday, February 14, 2015

Yes, Please Read Amy Poehler's Book

Yes PleaseYes Please by Amy Poehler
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Amy Poehler reminds me of the high school theatre girls I pined for…is what someone other than me would say. Since I am currently in love with the show Parks and Recreation, I expected I would fall in love with Amy while listening to her book. I did not. Quite the opposite, she reminded me of the strong-headed, take-charge, sometimes overbearing girls in theatre that I never developed crushes on. Have I mentioned yet that I think Yes Please is a great book and highly recommend it?

Amy’s debut book is not a masterpiece, though it is full of humorous and insightful gems. It delivers. It also exudes worthy charm in the form of Amy bringing in other showbiz talents to read certain passages. Patrick Stewart reciting Amy’s haiku is delicious literature. Being of the same generation, I also loved how Amy took me down memory lane with regard to the 80s.

Yes Please feels overly discombobulated at times. I believe, based on some of her introspection, that Amy intentionally lets this book wander and feel chaotic. In doing so she may be trying to capture something that resonates with her life experience. She succeeds, but goes a bit too far. At times I felt disoriented to the point of distraction. In books that are grippingly personal, that is counterproductive.

Perhaps the best chapter involves Amy discussing why she does not want to read your (my) damn script--why I should never plop my unpublished manuscript in her lap, hoping for a shortcut to success. Her insights are keen. In a world teeming with self-publishing “indie” writers who inflate their relevance by acquiring scores of fake Twitter followers, Amy’s unapologetic take on what it takes to truly succeed is invaluable. Hard work. Trial and error, etc. As further evidence of her philosophical merit, Amy demonstrates an awareness that not everyone who succeeds deserves to, and not everyone who deserves to will succeed.

Forgive me for bookending my review with boyish observations about the nature of attraction. (I’m writing this review on Valentine’s Frickin-day). Amy reminds me of the girls in high school theatre whom I did not develop a crush on, but whom I came to respect because I could trust them onstage. Like that girl who co-starred with me junior year in Little Shop of Horrors, who I found a bit overbearing off-stage, but who I was so grateful to have as my scene partner. Would I like more writing from Amy Poehler? Yes, please.

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