Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Published: November 10th, 2015
Genres: Memoir, self-help, Non-Fiction
My Rating: 5 Stars
(The blurb for this book was going to be longer than my review, so I did chop a bunch of it. However, the main points remain.)
Before her Year of Yes, Shonda Rhimes was an expert at declining invitations others would leap to accept. With three children at home and three hit television shows on TV, it was easy to say that she was simply too busy. But in truth, she was also afraid. Afraid of cocktail party faux pas like chucking a chicken bone across a room; petrified of live television appearances where Shonda Rhimes could trip and fall and bleed out right there in front of a live studio audience; terrified of the difficult conversations that came so easily to her characters on-screen. In the before, Shonda’s introvert life revolved around burying herself in work, snuggling her children, and comforting herself with food.
And then, on Thanksgiving 2013, Shonda’s sister muttered something that was both a wake-up and a call to arms: You never say yes to anything.
This wildly candid and compulsively readable book reveals how the mega-talented Shonda Rhimes, an unexpected introvert, achieved badassery worthy of a Shondaland character. And how you can, too.
I’m not a big self-help book person. However, my friend Jen is. I have bullied her into reading my fair share of books, and the way she talked about this one, I knew I had to check it out.
I’m not a big fan of Shonda Rhimes shows, I hadn’t watched Grey’s since, like 2010 when my favorite character was killed off. I never got into the other Thursday Night shows. I know who Shonda Rhimes is, and I know she worked her behind off to have her own night of television, but truth be told, as much as Jen quoted this book to me and talked about how much I would enjoy it because of the writing style and the message, I was tentative, to say the least. The idea that saying “yes” to things can change your life seems kind of obnoxious and very neurotypical to me. You can’t “yes” your way out of an anxiety disorder. It doesn’t work that way. But, nevertheless, I listened.
This is a good book, it’s funny and thoughtful and I was able to relate to it more than I thought I would. I think it’s the writer in me that understood the life of a writer that she was talking about– although I write weird fan-fiction about the Revolutionary War and she writes Thursday Nights on ABC.
Rhimes discusses how, even though she seemed to have the world she was unhappy. I think this is something that everyone eventually realizes, we may seem happy to everyone else, but at the end of the day when we’re about to go to sleep when we recap the day for ourselves, are we really happy?
For Shonda Rhimes in 2013, the answer was “no.” So she did something about it.
Her book explores that journey, she started to say “yes” to things that wouldn’t have because she was scared, and it changed everything. I have found this a little in my own life. I’ve decided to just do things instead of waiting until I had someone to do them with. That was a huge step for me. And now, on Thursday, I’m flying across the country by myself to attend a conference. I never would have done that if I didn’t start saying yes to doing things by myself.
The whole point of this book was to re-evaluate what is happening around you and see how you can make yourself happier in your day to day life. I think that’s a great message. My life isn’t going to be photo shoots and making speeches at Dartmouth– no one is going to call me up and ask me to guest star on their TV show as myself. My yeses going to the movies by myself and driving an hour to see an author talk, even though I can’t find anyone to tag along.
This book is funny, and smart, and made me think about things. Is some of it neurotypical BS? Yes, absolutely, but a great deal of it can be used no matter who you are or what you do. I think it’s worth checking out. I enjoyed it, and I think you will to, whether you’re looking for new ways to improve yourself or not.
Until next time Internet,