Yes Please

Another year gone by and with everyone putting out their “Best of 2014” lists, I’ve been reflecting on what I’ve read. I surpassed my goal of 50 books for the year, not including the countless number of picture books I’ve read with my children. And one of my favorites is Amy Poehler’s “Yes Please”.

I was worried that it wouldn’t live up to my expectations. I had read/listened to Tina Fey’s Bossypants and LOVED IT. As in, I literally laughed out loud on a bus crowded with people while I was listening to her book through headphones. People probably thought I was crazy.

It’s hard not to compare the two. At first, I wasn’t sure what to think. She starts off by saying how hard it is to write a book. (As a person who hopes to someday write a book, this was not encouraging.) And then she complained about it some more. Not the best start.

But then, she told the story of how her OBGYN died of a heart attack the night before she was due and how she cried, with tears squirting out of her eyes. Then how <!– /* Font Definitions */ @font-face {font-family:Cambria; panose-1:2 4 5 3 5 4 6 3 2 4; mso-font-charset:0; mso-generic-font-family:auto; mso-font-pitch:variable; mso-font-signature:3 0 0 0 1 0;} /* Style Definitions */ p.MsoNormal, li.MsoNormal, div.MsoNormal {mso-style-parent:””; margin-top:0in; margin-right:0in; margin-bottom:10.0pt; margin-left:0in; mso-pagination:widow-orphan; font-size:12.0pt; font-family:”Times New Roman”; mso-ascii-font-family:Cambria; mso-ascii-theme-font:minor-latin; mso-fareast-font-family:Cambria; mso-fareast-theme-font:minor-latin; mso-hansi-font-family:Cambria; mso-hansi-theme-font:minor-latin; mso-bidi-font-family:”Times New Roman”; mso-bidi-theme-font:minor-bidi;} @page Section1 {size:8.5in 11.0in; margin:1.0in 1.25in 1.0in 1.25in; mso-header-margin:.5in; mso-footer-margin:.5in; mso-paper-source:0;} div.Section1 {page:Section1;} Jon Hamm (that night’s host) told her “I know this is very sad. But this is a very important show for me so I need you to get your shit together.” And how that made her laugh.

From that point on, I was IN. I listened to it every chance I got. Maybe possibly sometimes in my car when I should have been working. I really try not to be one of those moms who talks only about their kids. I love being a mom and I do think about my babies all day, but I have other interests, hobbies, personalities. Being a mom isn’t all that defines me. But I can’t help but feel a kinship to other mothers/fathers because there are experiences that cannot be understood unless you have experienced them (like being awake at 3 AM, silently cursing your child for not sleeping and snuggling, kissing them at the same time). Similarly, Amy talks about her boys, a little about her life growing up, working at SNL, and then Parks and Rec.
It was an emotional read. My excuse is that having children has turned me into a sentimental sap. I used to cry maybe once a year. Now it’s more than that. I’m not proud of it but I’ve accepted it. And this is where I should mention, I “read” this as an audiobook.
Hearing Seth Meyers talk about Amy made me teary. You can genuinely hear his love and admiration for her in his voice. He describes her laugh as a cackle. But then says it is one of his favorite sounds on earth.
Her father makes a cameo and talks about the day she was born. She then <!– /* Font Definitions */ @font-face {font-family:Cambria; panose-1:2 4 5 3 5 4 6 3 2 4; mso-font-charset:0; mso-generic-font-family:auto; mso-font-pitch:variable; mso-font-signature:3 0 0 0 1 0;} /* Style Definitions */ p.MsoNormal, li.MsoNormal, div.MsoNormal {mso-style-parent:””; margin-top:0in; margin-right:0in; margin-bottom:10.0pt; margin-left:0in; mso-pagination:widow-orphan; font-size:12.0pt; font-family:”Times New Roman”; mso-ascii-font-family:Cambria; mso-ascii-theme-font:minor-latin; mso-fareast-font-family:Cambria; mso-fareast-theme-font:minor-latin; mso-hansi-font-family:Cambria; mso-hansi-theme-font:minor-latin; mso-bidi-font-family:”Times New Roman”; mso-bidi-theme-font:minor-bidi;} @page Section1 {size:8.5in 11.0in; margin:1.0in 1.25in 1.0in 1.25in; mso-header-margin:.5in; mso-footer-margin:.5in; mso-paper-source:0;} div.Section1 {page:Section1;} gives good advice: call your parents and ask about the day you were born. (My parents remember nothing. So I wrote down everything when I had my daughter. And I texted my sister as soon as Charlotte was born. Her husband sent back an adorable picture of her face down on the bed sobbing after receiving the good news.)
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I love the story about when Prince was the musical guest at SNL. She awkwardly asked him, “ So how was your summer?” Then she laughs and says “I’m such a fucking loser.” (THIS is why I love audiobooks.)

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It was so reassuring to hear her say that “plenty of talented people don’t have the career that they want. Plenty of untalented people make millions and make movies. There’s a difference between determination and talent.” Mostly because I hope that I fall under the “talented” category.

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She talks about Time Travel. (I won’t get into it. Read her explanation in her book.) “I stood in the sun. I thanked the sun. The more I time travel, the more I learn, I’m always just where I need to be.”
I’m not a crier. But that made me burst into tears.
And then I laughed when she talked about her sons and how they tell people: “Food goes into your stomach and turns into poop!”
I swear I’m not bipolar. It’s just that good. I read some reviews about the book and some people seem to think she didn’t share enough. I disagree. I think she told the stories she wanted to tell and withheld the ones she chose to keep private (like her divorce). And I have so much respect for that. If you’re not a fan, I don’t know if this will change your mind. But if you do like Amy Poehler and think her Sarah Palin rap on SNL was HILARIOUS, please read this.
When the book was done, I went back through all the parts I had bookmarked. And I listened again. I realized I might cry more now but I think I laugh more too. Sometimes, I’ll seek out something to make me laugh because I don’t want to waste time being angry. Well, I’ll always be angry because that’s who I am, but I don’t want to be angry at the things that don’t matter.
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