by Amy Poehler (Writer, Narrator),
with Carol Burnett, Seth Meyers, Mike Schur, Eileen Poehler, William Poehler, Patrick Stewart, Kathleen Turner
Unabridged Audiobook, 7 hrs and 31 mins
Read: May 19 – 20, 2016
Amy Poehler’s memoir-ish, Yes Please has been on my “get around to it” to it list for quite a while, but I never seemed to until I started this whole audiobook at work experiment. I picked such a good one to start with, I’m actually glad I didn’t read it first.
Poehler interweaves comedy bits with the story of her life and career, starting with her early experiences in comedy and childhood friends, moving onto her start in improv and then on to SNL and Parks and Rec. Even when she’s being serious, she can’t help but be funny — while talking about her divorce, death, Haitian orphans, etc. you want that. She talks a lot about her two sons and sounds like a loving and devoted mother (if a bit twisted).
In addition to this, she talks a good deal about how to deal with the inner voice telling young(er) women (and, I assume, older) that they’re not perfect, that their physical appearance needs to be different or they’re not that worthwhile. As I listened to this, I wanted to play it for my daughter. When she talked about sex and drugs (not that much on the former, but enough), I lost a bit of that desire, but I still might.
It’s not just Poehler’s authorial voice that makes this work so well — it’s her actual voice, too. Poehler saying these wise words, confessing the details, sharing the stories herself, and not just some hired gun (as capable as they might be) elevates the project. Bringing in Patrick Stewart to read silly poems, Kathleen Turner to do the occasional line, her parents, Meyers to reminisce, Schur to read a list of alternate candidates for Leslie Knope’s name and talk about Parks and Recreation in general — were great moves, and a blast to listen to. I’m curious what those sections are like if you just read them, but probably not enough to go try. The last chapter is a recording of a live reading she did, the audience reaction and her playing to them added just the right touch.
I can’t believe I’m saying this, but don’t read the book. Listen to the audio. It’s just that good. Heartfelt, funny, and inspirational (and did I mention funny?) — it’s everything you want from Amy Poehler (shy of another season of Parks and Rec).