A few years ago there was a flurry of books written by female comedy writers: Tina Fey's Bossypants, Mindy Kaling's Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? and Lena Dunham's Not That Kind of Girl. I read all of them.
When Amy Poehler's book came out, I was a bit fatigued of the "it all started with improv and then I committed to writing for television in Chicago / New York" narrative, so I didn't rush to order it.
Six years later, I finally read it. It was fun to be reminded of all of Poehler's Massachusetts connections. Her grandparents lived in Watertown, she grew up in Burlington and she went to Boston College. She talks about the years she lived on Strathmore Street in Brighton, a super popular street for undergrads and graduate students. I have three friends who lived on that block!
What I appreciated most about the book was her honesty. She talks openly about how unstable her early years were in New York. How she and Seth Meyers became best friends. How she met Will Arnett and how 10 years later their marriage dissolved. How hard it is to raise children with a full-time job. And maybe the most moving chapter, her experience starring in Parks & Recreation.
In the book, Amy gives beautiful advice about humility. That chapter is anchored by a story about a sketch she did on SNL that made fun of a real person with disabilities. Poehler didn't know at the time she was referring an actual person, she thought the writers came up with the name. She talks through how she found out, how she eventually worked up the courage to contact the person and how freeing it was to have the opportunity to apologize. I can't imagine it was easy to relive all of that for the book, but she confronts it head on.
One interesting thing about the physical book is that the hardcover version has pages printed on glossy paper which makes it incredible heavy. Like, too heavy to hold at night while reading in bed. My guess is they did it because the book includes so many color photographs, but damn! That this was tough to lug around.
I'm curious, have you read it? What did you think?
*Image courtesy of The Chicago Tribune.