Besides being former SNL cast members from New England and becoming popular by leading comedic television shows, Amy Poehler and Sarah Silverman don't have a lot in common. Their types of humor are vastly different, and their audiences vary wildly as well. Their memoirs reflect their personal styles, and their respective audiobooks, read by themselves, show how important those styles are to how their audiences interact with and relate to them. If you're thinking about reading either Yes Please or The Bedwetter, I'd recommend the audiobook, as both of these women know how to perform, even when they can't see their audiences.
Yes Please by Amy Poehler
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
First thoughts: I LOVE Poehler reading her own book and bringing in other performers (Seth Meyers, her parents) to read various chapters. It really gives credibility to each individual voice. Poehler's audiobook asides are great extra bits that play out through the entire book.
"You do it because the doing of it is the thing."
"Great people do things before they are ready."
"I tried to tell the truth and be funny."
"Good for her. Not for me." (I've found myself repeating this ever since hearing it, anytime I start to get jealous of what another person(woman) has or is doing.)
"Figure out what you want. Say it out loud. Then shut up."
"Ambivalence is key to success."
"If you can surf your life rather than plant your feet, you will be happier."
Content thoughts: Poehler's memoir does talk about her journey to where she is today, and she has chapters on all the important events in her comedic formation, but this is also a self-help/motivation book (as the above quotes demonstrate). Poehler has plenty to say about her own upbringing and coming of age as a woman writer/actor/director/etc, but she also has a few choice words applicable to any person in the process of figuring out who they are and what they want. I appreciated this relatability, and I think this is what makes the memoir work (for me). Memoirs aren't my favorite genre, mostly because I don't care enough about one person's life to read an entire book on it. When the memoir is elevated to empowerment manual, then I'm on board.
Audiobook thoughts: I'm so glad I chose to listen to Yes Please. Poehler is a performer through and through. Her last chapter is a recording of a live reading in a theater, audience laughter and all.
Recommended for: women, aspiring writers and performers, funny people, fans of SNL and Parks and Recreation, those who need a little pep and pick up.
Final thoughts: Yes, please to Yes Please.
The Bedwetter: Stories of Courage, Redemption, and Pee by Sarah Silverman
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
First thoughts: Silverman sure does make a career out of being gross/crude. I'm part jealous, part meh. While it was interesting to hear about her childhood and "backstory," I couldn't always relate to how she got to where she is today (which made it harder to care).
Favorite quote: "Make it a treat." - how to approach life's luxuries so you don't burn yourself out on them.
Recommended for: Anyone who is already a fan would probably enjoy hearing Silverman's origin story, and I think certain young women would benefit from hearing about a public figure's struggles with self esteem, especially around the topic of wetting the bed.
Final thoughts: The Bedwetter doesn't age particularly well - Silverman talks about her role in the Obama campaign and the state of America in 2009, and some passages got a little cringe-y. While there was no way she could foresee the mess we'd be in eight years later, there were parts that were hard to listen to. Also, I don't think I'll ever totally be on board with her voice, which doesn't help an audiobook's case. As a commute companion, though, I could've done worse.
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