Sunday, 15 February 2015

Miss Manners

Hot on the heels of reading Lena Dunham's memoir, I immersed myself in Amy Poehler's Yes Please (2014). It is a light, witty confection of a book, which is pulled together by loose threads and scrapbooked memories.

In some respects it is strange to choose to read a memoir of someone I don't really know that much about. I was not one of Amy Poehler's fans - for whom this book is clearly aimed. While I admired her sketch comedy on Saturday Night Live, I only ever watched that show occasionally and can't really recall any of her characters. I love her award hosting duties with Tina Fey but I would have said I was a Fey-fan. I have not seen Parks and Recreation (...yet) and her other work (Deuce Bigalow, Baby Mama) isn't really my thing. Reading her book, however, I suddenly felt like her biggest fan!

Amy (I can call her that because she feels like a BFF to me now) recalls her childhood in Boston, her early days in improv, the Upright Citizens Brigade, SNL, and the highs and lows along the way. It was instantly relatable to me as I grew up in the same period, not far away, so the pop culture references made me smile knowingly.

I admire the way she wrote about her family, her divorce and the time she apologised for an insensitive comedy sketch. I love her feisty, feminist life lessons, her no bull attitude, and her "good-for-you-not-for-me" approach to life. She is not afraid to share cringeworthy stories about some of her mishaps, and in doing so readers will laugh as they have done them too.

In terms of a memoir, Yes Please is exactly what I thought it would be - a 'how I got here from there' tale with some witty anecdotes and occasional deep-and-meaningful moments. I didn't really need to know Poehler's work in order to read the book, but now that I have read it I am off to binge-watch Parks and Rec!