Start Your Summer with "Yes Please" by Amy Poehler

I was hesitant to read Yes Please by Amy Poehler when it was first released, mostly because I didn't want to shell out $28.99 for a new, hardcover book. Yet countless friends approached me and lamented the book’s greatness, as if I were missing out on the holy grail of quasi-memoirs. As luck would have it, I finally found a friend who let me borrow a copy. 

Over the next four days I was consumed with Yes Please. I picked it up during every break between my final exams and my new job—it was all I could think about. This book is just as legendary as my friends made it out to be, and I regret not reading it sooner. My life increased in happiness and it gave me a new perspective on the comedian/actress who wrote it.

Most people know Amy Poehler as one of the Saturday Night Live alumni, or as Leslie Knope from the NBC series Parks and Recreation. After reading Yes Please, she seems even more charming and relatable to me than ever before, and consequently, I now see her as a real, honest, down-to-earth human being. In her book, she transcends the boundaries of stardom. She makes it known that she is a real person who used nothing but hard work and her passion for improvisation to get to where she is today. 

Yes Please is broken up by colorful pieces of advice, such as: “Calling people sweetheart makes most people enraged,” and, “Nobody looks stupid when they are having fun.” Though these anecdotes may not seem like words of wisdom, they are fun and refreshing tidbits that condense unique, real-life lessons from Amy Poehler's experiences. They reminded me that a person can be firm without being cruel, and there is no wrong way to do things. Poehler says “Good for her, not for me” should be a motto repeated by all women, because what works for one person may not work for everyone else—which is totally fine. Wise words to live by, but she does not become so absorbed in her lessons that she forgets to be entertaining.

Aside from being oddly inspiring, Yes Please is hilarious in Amy Poehler's typical, blatant fashion, and a blast to read. Sometimes, it’s hard for me to explain to others why I love reading, and Yes Please has helped me explain to non-readers how reading can be fun. Her book is filled with gems of raunchy humor waiting to be uncovered, one of which uses the phrase “humping Justin Timberlake.” Any sentence has the potential to be hysterical with Poehler's blunt choice of words, but I'm grateful she managed to squeeze this particular word pairing into her 329 page book at least once. 

Though the entire read was enjoyable, what really stuck out to me was Poehler's acknowledgement of a woman named Sharita, who worked in the TSA Lost and Found. Sharita contacted her after finding Poehler's missing laptop. Poehler was so thankful for her help that she made Sharita the model of human kindness in her first book. It's a memorable moment that captures Poehler's humorous selection of personal experiences along with the most important life lesson in her book. She ends her book with the message: “The only way we will survive is by being kind. The only way we can get by in this world is through the help we receive from others.” 

A wonderfully uplifting note that validates all of her experiences, from Sharita's kindness to the humping of Justin Timberlake. In order to fully feel the power of her last lesson on kindness and where it comes from, you'll have to read the book. 

Be kind to yourself, and say “Yes, please” to reading Yes Please