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Review of “Yes Please” by Amy Poehler

Amy Poehler is one of my favorite people currently working in show business. There are many reasons why I admire her; she’s funny (which is obvious–that’s her claim to fame), she empowers women, and from what I’ve read in her book “Yes Please,” she’s also an incredibly genuine human being.

“Yes Please” had me laughing in public on multiple occasions. There are two quick things to know about me: the first is that I’m a very shy person and usually prefer to blend into a crowd and the second is that I didn’t care if I was embarrassing myself when I’d react to this book in public because I was so engrossed in it. Poehler writes with a level of sincerity that’s hard to find in a celebrity nowadays. The anecdotes that Poehler chooses to write about are incredibly relatable, which made the book more enjoyable to read.

As a college woman, a particular section that spoke to me was one in which Poehler wrote about the difference between a career and a passion. Very few people are lucky enough to have these facets of their life overlap. Her statements made me question my passions and ambitions, which is surprising because I’ve had a pretty unshakable idea of what I was going to do since high school. Poehler’s words made me think deeply about my future and life in general, which is more than I can say about many other books I’ve read.

Another section that I related to was one in which Poehler started talking about her appearance and insecurities. Unfortunately, this is probably the most relatable part of the book because no matter how confident someone might seem on the outside, every woman has dealt with some sort of insecurity regarding their appearance at some point in their life. Poehler describes her insecurities in a way that I bet a lot of women connect with. I know I’ve had days where I’ve felt really good about myself, then one tiny thing can completely ruin my day and set me back to square one. I think Poehler is beautiful, so hearing that she struggles with her own self-image was comforting, because even though she’s on television and walks on red carpets, she still experiences these insecurities that every woman does. I respect her for putting those words on the page with a level of humor and sincerity because for many women, including myself, sometimes knowing that someone else feels that uncertainty is all it takes to feel a little better.

If you haven’t heard of Poehler’s Smart Girls or seen any of Poehler’s Ask Amy Videos I highly recommend you check those out, because Poehler is great at giving advice. In her book she shares advice that her parents gave her and she gives her own advice on topics like how to say sorry,  sex between men and women, divorce, love, children, and so many other great things. I really appreciate a good piece of advice, and one of my favorite of her’s is “Make ‘no’ a complete sentence.” Not only is this relevant to the current culture surrounding consent, but it can be applied to most circumstances. You shouldn’t have to explain your reasoning or intentions; “No” should be sufficient. This seems to be a concept that a lot of people aren’t able to grasp, but in five words Poehler makes it seem like the easiest thing in the world. Saying “no” is empowering, and we should all be more conscientious when someone says it.

I’ll end this with another piece of advice from Poehler; “Ignore what other people think.” I was told once by one of my sorority sisters that they love the fact that I don’t care what other people think. Truth is, I do care what other people think, but I also try to not change my behavior to fit their standards. The key isn’t to not care what they think, but to take it into account and have the agency to ignore it. As I’ve gotten older and started to find my groove in college, I’m realizing that this is a really powerful thing to be able to do. Follow Poehler’s lead and and do whatever you like, say whatever you want, and be whoever you are.

Jillian McMahan

Minnesota '19

Jillian McMahan is a senior studying child psychology at the University of Minnesota. She aspires to one day be the Leslie Knope of her workplace. 
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