Thursday, February 19, 2015

What I'm Reading: Not That Kind of Girl vs. Yes Please


In November and December 2014 the A Beautiful Mess Book Club selected Lena Dunham's Not That Kind of Girl and Amy Poehler's Yes Please. I was really pleased when I found out that these books were selected for the book club because 1) I loved watching Lena Dunham on Girls 2) Even though I haven't been a huge fan of Amy Poehler's comedy, I respected the positive impact she's made for women in comedy and her book had good reviews. Naturally, when I approached these books (in audiobook form) I expected that I would prefer Dunham's book to Poehler's because I've been more drawn to Dunham's TV and movie work, so I was surprised that I felt like I had less in common with Lena after reading her book, but I gained an even bigger appreciation for Amy Poehler after reading her book.

Thoughts on Not That Kind of Girl

I think that I expected the book version of Lena Dunham to be a more relatable, down-to-earth, toned-down version of her character, Hannah, from Girls, but instead I felt that Lena was just as neurotic and privileged (if not more so) than her character and so I found it difficult at times to relate to her.  

Topics I could relate on:
  • Struggles with body image and self-esteem
  • Finding a career path
  • Staying in a dead-end relationship for too long
  • Fearing death
  • Feminism
Topics I could not relate on:
  • Sharing a bed with a sibling from childhood through the teen years.
  • Sharing a bed and cuddling with strangers throughout college.
  • Having artistic parents with ties to the NYC arts scene.
  • Lack of appropriate social boundaries.
There were some topics I could relate with, such as the calorie counting during high school, but I felt like she took a lot of things to the extreme (i.e. pages and pages of calorie counting lists) to the point where I thought she'd lost her mind. In summary, I thought I would like this book, but I guess I'm just "not that kind of girl" (pun intended). 

Thoughts on Yes Please 
Amy Poehler's narrative style had the tone of an older and wiser sister or best friend which was like a breathe of fresh air following Lena's preachy/ whiny tone. The celebrity cameos  throughout the book made reading the book feel like party. As I mentioned before,  I'm not really a fan of Amy's comedy endeavours but, after reading this book I gained more respect for Amy Poehler as a woman, mother, and comedian. 

Things I liked from this book:

  • Amy's willingness to talk about a time she handled a situation poorly and admit she was wrong (namely, the time Amy performed an SNL skit as Dakota Fanning and referenced Dakota's upcoming film, Hurricane Mary, which was based on a true story).
  • The celebrity guests.
  • Amy's childhood Christmas story where her brother Greg wakes her up and Amy says "Let's go wake up Greg and see what Santa brought us," and Greg gets wide-eyed and says, "I AM Greg!"
  • Amy's stories from her improv and SNL days (like how she met former SNL co-host, Seth Meyers).
  • Amy's 'take no crap' attitude. 
  • The chapter where she volunteered in Haiti.
  • Favorite quote: "Treat your job like a bad boyfriend."

If you're looking for a fun, comedy read and you can't decide between reading Not That Kind of Girl or Yes Please, I'd recommend that you stick to watching Girls on HBO and read Amy Poehler's Yes Please.

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