Review: Year of Yes

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Yes! Sharing another review while the book is still relevant and on everyone’s minds!  Today I’m reviewing Shonda Rhimes’ Year of Yes: How to Dance It Out, Stand In the Sun and Be Your Own Person.

With three hit shows on television and three children at home, the uber-talented Shonda Rhimes had lots of good reasons to say NO when an unexpected invitation arrived. Hollywood party? No. Speaking engagement? No. Media appearances? No.

And there was the side-benefit of saying No for an introvert like Shonda: nothing new to fear.

Then Shonda’s sister laid down a challenge: just for one year, try to say YES to the unexpected invitations that come your way. Shonda reluctantly agreed―and the result was nothing short of transformative. In Year of Yes, Shonda Rhimes chronicles the powerful impact saying yes had on every aspect of her life―and how we can all change our lives with one little word. Yes. (Goodreads)

I’m thrilled to give Year of Yes five out of five stars.

People who don’t know me might not know that I’m a longtime fan of both Scandal and How To Get Away With Murder.  Heck, I used to follow Grey’s Anatomy (but I could never get over that Denny Duquette thing).  So when Shonda Rhimes, creator of those shows, writes a book, it’s going to pique my interest.

What I love about this book is that it is not the not-so-humble not-really-self-deprecating memoir that I’ve come to expect of public figures. In fact, Year of Yes could really be classified as a self-help book.  So there we have it, two genres I don’t typically like: memoir and self-help.

Year of Yes is a journey into the challenges faced by an introvert, a person who always says no, and what it takes…to completely change everything.  And I love that type of self renewal.  What would it mean to completely reverse the way that you treat social engagements, professional recognition, and the way you relate to yourself?  Shonda Rhimes has lived that story, and she’s sharing it in Year of Yes.

But what distinguishes Year of Yes from other self-help books and memoirs is the biting humor, the sass, the ownership of herself and her beliefs, and the lies. Yes, the lies.  Because she admits that she’s a liar and makes things up for a living from the first page, and I think that her honesty is wonderful and endearing.  I’m not a liar, I’m not good at making things up, I’m not even that good of a storyteller – but this woman has made her career out of it.  In addition to fangirling, I think it’s high time we recognize her for owning that.

I should note that some people decidedly do not love this book as much as I do. They find it rambling. They take offense to her allusion to being a “quiet librarian in Ohio” (sidenote: as a mildly loud librarian in Pennsylvania, I call shenanigans on those people, because y’all, stop taking yourselves so seriously).  I think your love of Year of Yes will completely relate to how you feel about yourself, where you are in your life, if you’re in the need for rejuvenation and inspiration, and whether you want to let yourself love it. And me? I say yes to this book.

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