I picked this up after having listened to Seriously… I’m Kidding on audio and feeling in the mood for something similar to cheer me up while having that damned cold. Also known as: part-two-of-feeling-terrible-and-wanting-an-audiobook-to-cheer-me-up-when-I-don’t-have-the-energy-to-read-actual-words.
I don’t why it took me so long to realize that listening to memoirs on audio is a genius move. It made me rethink a lot past choices of reading the book instead of listening to it…
I feel like if I’d read Yes Please by myself, I wouldn’t have enjoyed it even one little bit.
But while I loved how the way the audiobook was constructed, I can’t ignore that I didn’t care for the contents of this book.
Amy Poehler is, of course, extremely privileged in numerous aspects, and I knew this going into her writing. However, it continually exasperated me how in one essay the author would address her privilege, but then completely disregard it in the next while complaining about her #whitepeopleproblems. I feel like she’s the definition of a White Feminist™ and/ or problematic fave. Not my fave, but still.
I’d really recommend reading this incredible article that takes the time to discuss the ways white feminists are hurting feminism.
That’s not to say that all the essays in Yes Please were bad–a number (two) of them weren’t… mostly because they weren’t focused on Amy Poelher. They rest just came off as extremely pretentious and high-key offensive (I feel like she genuinely believes that white people experience racism……..they don’t).
So I’d like to talk about the essays that made me think for awhile there that this book was going to go places:
Sorry, Sorry, Sorry:
By far, this was one of the most raw essays I read in this book. In Sorry, Sorry, Sorry, Poehler takes the time to discuss taking responsibility for past mistakes made. I was left truly speechless upon finishing it.
The funny thing is, before reaching this part, I was thinking of putting the book down; I wasn’t feeling that invested in it. At the last minute something compelled me to put on the audiobook while waiting for a movie to load… long story long, that movie was forgotten about for a couple of hours.
Not going to lie, I loved getting to read about Amy Poehler owning up to her ignorance and mistakes in this essay. Even more so for the fact that instead of putting the focus on herself, she lifted up the voices of those she hurt and gave them the platform to discuss and be heard in this book read by thousands and thousands.
I particularly loved this next part that was taken from an email Anastasia Somoza, one of the kindest souls I’ve read about, sent in response to Amy’s apology about the offensive SNL skit:
“That being said, Chris, Marianne, my family and I have worked tirelessly to make equal opportunity, the inclusion and positive portrayal of people with disabilities in society the norm rather than the exception. As such, I was upset more generally speaking, about the skit contributing to a severe lack of knowledge, awareness, understanding and empathy around disability. Too many people already fear, and are often disgusted or put off in other ways by disability and it saddened me to think of the impact the skit may have had in adding fuel to that fire.”
Needless to say, Anastasia and Marianne completely shifted something inside of me. I’m eternally grateful that they were voiced in here.
Let’s Build a Park:
The one essay I was most exited about that talked about everything in regards to Parks and Recreation. Also, I’VE NEVER SMILED SO MUCH WHILE READING AN ESSAY BEFORE. I loved how you could truly feel the passion and appreciation Poehler has for her character, Leslie Knope, and everyone that worked on the show.
I was also interested in finding out more about my favorite power couple: Donna Meagle and Tom Haverford. And I did, in moderation, but I still did.If one thing, this made me realize a rewatch was in order. And maybe also picking up Aziz Ansari’s Modern Romance very soon!
However, enjoying only two essays out of twenty-seven cannot save a whole book for me.
To be frank, I’m still a bit let down because I went into this with an open mind, but was reminded time and again how astoundingly obtuse the author could be. I mean, how can you spend twenty something minutes talking about something as important as supporting nonprofits, and then turn around and spend the last valuable minutes of your book talking about why you hate your phone and social media and how hard it is to constantly be on in…… I’m thankfully quickly getting to forget everything that was said in this book, which is kind of a blessing in disguise at this point.