Revoke My Woman Card aka I Didn’t Love Amy Poehler’s Book

Before you break up with me, let me be clear: I like Amy Poehler. I just wasn’t thrilled with her book. Worse, if I’m totally honest – and this pains me – I found that I liked her a little less after reading it. Sorry. I really am. It’s not you; it’s me.

I’ve done two book reviews here, and lest you think I’m a book snob, I am not. I’m in the middle of, and very much digging, Kevin Kwan’s Crazy Rich Asians. I devoured Hunger Games. I’ve also enjoyed previous memoirs by funny women: Tina Fey’s Bossypants and Mindy Kaling’s Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? (And Other Concerns). Poehler’s Yes Please was not up to par with Fey’s or Kaling’s offerings.


Poehler didn’t want to write the book. I’m not speculating – she has an entire preface dedicated to how difficult it was for her to write a book. She mentions it throughout the book. At one point I thought it might be a running gag (I guess it still could be), but it’s evident in her tone and the sheer laziness of her writing. Yes, laziness. Disjointed thoughts, huge empty blank spaces, gimicky things like pages filled with one sentence life advice platitudes. There are self-empowerment section titles that came across as corny afterhoughts: “Say Whatever you Want,” “Do Whatever you Like,” “Be Whoever You Are.” At one point, she has Seth Meyers write a chapter, which is interesting on the one hand to get his perspective; on the other, write your own damn book. There is no cohesive thread, and the chapters read not even like essays, but more like blog posts or a BuzzFeed list (see chapter on her Parks and Rec castmates.)

Lists and categories. C'mon Amy, you can do better.
Lists and categories. C’mon Amy, you can do better.

She also divulges little about her life that couldn’t be discovered from an in-depth Rolling Stone interview. This is where I found the biggest difference between Poehler’s and Kaling’s and Fey’s books. The latter two writers revealed some vulnerability, and I could connect with them on some “Celebrities, they’re just like us!” level. Now it’s not Amy’s fault that she was born to the head cheerleader and captain of the football team, or that she’s always been a cute, petite, blonde, popular, and had boyfriends, but the one thing – the ONE thing – that could have exposed any struggle, she didn’t want to talk about. She simply refused to talk about her divorce. Now, I get not wanting to go into any messy divorce details, but she didn’t even go into her courtship with Will Arnett, her husband of ten years and the father of her two children; meanwhile, ex-boyfriend Matt Besser is featured quite a bit. There are certainly ways of discussing the heartache of your marriage dissolving without giving a blow-by-blow account. Was it a surprise? Were you in therapy? Something other than fake book titles for the divorce book you would write. Amy held us at arm’s length, for sure.

Amy Poehler is funny, at times this book was funny, but ultimately, it was relatively shallow, and left me feeling like she thought she was doing me a favor for writing it. No thanks. If you weren’t that into it, and you weren’t going to tell me something real, then don’t write a G-D memoir.


Whatever Wednesday: Stacks o’ Books 2015

My traditional goal is to read 24 books per year. Two a month seems ambitious but totally doable to me. I realized though that I’ve been adding books to my library faster than I can read them, and that I’m now on a cycle of starting books and not finishing them. It’s just…So.Many.Books. Check out our office library.


Awesome, right? There are two more bookshelves behind me, as well as boxes of books in the garage. Hence, it’s easy for me to lose a book that I am dying to read, or forget which book I really really wanted to read next, in these shelves. Being a goal-oriented person, I decided to select and set aside the bulk of what I most want to read this year. At this time, anyway. After all, I don’t want to spend another year missing out on reading In Search of Lost Time. Ha.

I tried to make the winning group 50-50 as far as fiction and non-fiction. Once chosen, I put them on my bedframe right above my head…and next to the emergency dark chocolate.


Some are book club selections (#1, 13, and 19); one is inspired by a Beyonce song (#7), another is reading for an upcoming trip (#14), and the fat one came out of what happened in Ferguson over the summer (#16). Number 5 is the latest addition to the pile. I wasn’t planning on reading it again anytime soon, but with the news of the impending release of Harper Lee’s sequel, I was inspired to re-read the classic sooner rather than later. My guilty pleasure is selection 10. I’m not too much of a mystery person, but I’ve read all of the Agatha Raisin mysteries and, as noted in my bio, I have a strange fascination with reading about bad food in the English countryside, so this series feeds into my obsession. Lastly, I found no. 8 via a random post on my cousin’s Facebook wall. It reminded me of the Dobermans my lola (Filipino for grandma) had, which went missing and were later found on a spit to be eaten by squatters. Poverty sucks.

As of today, here’s the list, obviously subject to change and in no particular order:

  1. The Magus – John Fowles
  2. On Beauty – Zadie Smith
  3. The Dud Avocado – Elaine Dundy
  4. The Street of Crocodiles – Bruno Schulz
  5. To Kill a Mockingbird – Harper Lee
  6. Eleonor & Park – Rainbow Rowell
  7. Americanah – Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
  8. Dogeaters – Jessica Hagedorn
  9. Giovanni’s Room – James Baldwin
  10. Something Borrowed, Someone Dead: An Agatha Raisin Mystery – M.C. Beaton
  11. The New Capitalist Manifesto – Umair Haque
  12. The Overachievers – Alexandra Robbins
  13. Yes Please – Amy Poehler
  14. The Other Side of Paradise: Life in the New Cuba – Julia Cooke
  15. The Raft is not the Shore – Thich Nhat Hanh and Daniel Berrigan
  16. Parting the Waters: America in the King Years 1954-1963 – Taylor Branch
  17. Knowledge, Power, and Black Politics – Mack Jones
  18. The Beautiful Struggle: A Father, Two Sons, and an Unlikely Road to Manhood – Ta-Nehisi Coates
  19. Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Coast Trail – Cheryl Strayed

I’d ask you what you all are reading, but I fear I’d run out of shelf space. So excited to dig in!