Thursday, January 28, 2016

Book Review: Year of Yes by Shonda Rhimes

Title: Year of Yes:  How to Dance it Out, Stand in the Sun, and Be Your Own Person
Author: Shonda Rhimes
Enjoyment Rating: ****
Source: Audible
Content Alert: Acknowledgement of sex, swearing

Shonda Rhimes is one of my guilty pleasures. I watched Grey's Anatomy with an almost religious fervor when my kids were little, and I still tune in to TGIT for Scandal and How to Get Away with Murder. Heck, I even watched every episode of Off the Map. And as much as I may mock the Shonda Rhimes dramatic monologue, you know I'm a secret fan.

And it's a good thing, because Year of Yes is basically one extended Shonda Rhimes dramatic monologue. The story starts when Rhimes's sister says to her, one Thanksgiving, "You never say yes to anything," and Rhimes decides that for a year, she's going to get out of her comfort zone and say yes to opportunities for growth in her path. These range from giving commencement addresses and losing half her body weight to playing with her children and having the courage to end relationships. There's a lot to be learned here about the ruts we tend to let ourselves fall into, and how to get out of them. I have talked with lots of friends about how much I love her chapter on "doing it all." Rhimes contends that there's no way we can do it all, and her nanny is the only way she's even able to pretend, but even then, when she's succeeding in one aspect of her life, she's letting other areas slide. That was so refreshing for me to hear (trying to write, right now, with a child actually sitting on my lap watching YouTube). I also really loved her insights into her characters, and how ambitious, arrogant intern Christina Yang (from Grey's Anatomy) represented who she was early in her career and powerful, isolated, morally ambiguous Olivia Pope (from Scandal) represents some of how she has felt as she's achieved more success. This is a really fun read, whether or not you're a fan of Shondaland like I am.

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