Thursday, August 06, 2015

498 (2015 #55). Yes Please

written and read by Amy Poehler

I listened to this audiobook because it won the 2015 Audie Award for Humor, and was a nominee for the awards for Autobiography/Memoir, Narration by the Author or Authors, AND Audiobook of the Year.  Oh, and because I needed a short audiobook to listen to (I have to do a re-read next for an upcoming book club meeting), and this one was available at the Hood County Library.

A memoir by a 43-year-old comedian is not going to be very deep.  Surprisingly, though, there were some very good "bits" in here, some more serious than funny.

The audiobook was quite good.  Poehler brings in a number of guest voices (Carol Burnett, Patrick Stewart, Kathleen Turner) who read some of the book's pithy statements that introduce chapters or sections.  Better are the readings by Saturday Night Live (SNL) cast-mate Seth Meyers, Parks and Recreation (P&R) producer Mike Schur, and Amy's parents, as they are reading sections they (supposedly) wrote or said.  The last chapter, "The Robots Will Kill Us All:  A Conclusion," is read live by Poehler, and she is definitely in her element.  The *only* drawback to the audiobook is that it does not include the photographs from the print version (alas, way too small to see well in the e-book, of course).  I wish Poehler had included them in a PDF file on one of the discs, as another SNL cast-mate, Tina Fey, did in her memoir on audiobook, Bossypants.

The book begins with the 12-minute "Writing is Hard: A Preface," about just that (blah), followed by a five-minute "How To Use This Book," the only redeeming factor being the explanation of the book's title.  I also found the chapters about her television comedy show P&R to be rather tiresome, probably because I never watched the show.  I used to work for an urban city parks and recreation department (and for city governments more years beyond that), and I didn't want to watch the show and be always critical of what they got wrong. (Not to mention, apparently the P&R characters hate the library - and I'm now a librarian.)  However, not having watched the show made this part of the book less relevant for me.  Poehler's give-and-take bit with Schur was okay, but the sections on each of her cast-mates was boring, and the part about names originally considered for Poehler's Leslie Knope character in the show was just stupid.  P&R fans will probably love these sections, though.

Much better, though, are bits such as Amy's "Birthing Plan," which I found hilarious, since I wrote these too.  The chapter called "Gimme That Pudding" is about acting awards and is very funny.  A couple of chapters are more serious.  "Sorry, Sorry, Sorry" relates the story of an SNL sketch she did that made her uncomfortable and that she ultimately apologized for to some of those offended (and to the rest of us via this chapter).  "Time Travel" was a rather insightful view on how people, places, and things can help you recall good memories of the past and deal with future problems.  And the concluding chapter - while full of laughs because it's read before a live audience - also has something rather profound to say about how technology is taking over our lives and what we can do about it.

© Amanda Pape - 2015

[This audiobook was borrowed from and returned to my local public Hood County Library.]

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