Warning: This review may contain huge, uncontrollable biases.
I've loved Amy Poehler from her days rapping as Sarah Palin on SNL while nine months pregnant ("How it go, Eskimoes?"), as the awesomely-inappropriate "cool mom" Mrs. George in Mean Girls, as optimistic Leslie Knope on Parks and Recreation, and of course co-hosting—and killing—the Golden Globes with her buddy Tina Fey. So I was bummed when I read a recent negative review of Poehler's new book—until I saw it was written by a man.
As a mom (specifically, a working mom), I totally enjoyed Poehler's book, Yes Please, already a bestseller. It's not every day we have a memoir written by a mother of two kids under seven, who's super successful, has made mistakes and can be honest about them, loves what she does, works and doesn't feel guilty about it—and has written a book that not only makes us laugh (a lot) but doesn't make us feel uncomfortable reading it. And even if you don't have time to read it, you can listen to it! Amy reads the audiobook version herself, and it's on iTunes.
Some highlights from the book:
She gets that every mother needs a wife. It's even the title of one of her chapters.
She has days where she hates how she looks. She writes about that demon voice that plagues all of us chicks, and how even when we think we've squashed it, it shows up again. "One day you go through a breakup or you can't lose your baby weight or you look at your reflection in a soup spoon and that slimy bugger is back.... That demon is some Stephen King-from-the-sewer devil-level sh*t."
She writes plastic surgery haikus. "If you plump your lips/The words that come out of them/Sound ridiculous."
She didn't start trying for a baby until her late thirties. "I woke up and realized I was thirty-seven and might need to get cracking."
She has a motto to quell the mommy wars: "Good for her! Not for me." For instance, Poehler says, her friend Maya Rudolph had two babies at home, who she "pushed out Little House on the Prairie Style." (Good for her! Not for me. )
She's hilarious retelling the delivery of her first baby via C-section. "I felt like the bouncer of my own uterus. I was ready to turn on all the lights and kick that baby out. 'Time to wrap it up. I don't care where you go but you can't stay here.'"
She gives sex tips. "You have to have sex with your husband occasionally even though you are exhausted. Sorry."
She shows it's easy to be generous. Seth Meyers writes a brief guest chapter and says of their time on SNL together, "When a new cast member or writer had a piece bombing to such silence that you could almost hear their pores expelling sweat, you could always count on Amy to give them a laugh."
She makes a convincing case that it's never too late to say "sorry." She writes openly and honestly about a regrettable sketch she did on SNL, and how it took her years to make an apology—and why it was so worth doing.
She "gets" being a divorced mom. One of her proposed titles for a fake divorce book: "I Want a Divorce. See You Tomorrow!" She knows that parents with small kids still have to deal with each other all the time.
She believes no one—especially a parent—can get by in this world alone. That fact even inspired the title of her book: Poehler says the "yes" comes from loving to say yes to opportunities (but that "doesn't mean I don't know how to say no") and the "please" comes from the wisdom of knowing that agreeing to do something usually means you're not doing it alone.
Now that I've finished, and already read Tina Fey's Bossypants, I'm not sure where my next comic fix is going to come from, though a friend tells me I must read Rachel Dratch's memoir, Girl Walks Into a Bar.
And I will. As moms, we need those laughs (thank you, Amy!) where we can find them.