Friday, January 22, 2016

Book Review: Year of Yes

Growing up, we had a rule in our house that each child was only allowed to watch one television show during the school week.  This was before the days of DVR and watching shows online, so if you didn't watch it during prime time, you didn't watch it.  This meant that I had to choose my one show VERY carefully.

Sometime during my junior year of high school, that one show became Grey's Anatomy.  I fondly remember countless number of Grey's parties where my friends and I would gather at each other's house to watch the latest episode. Somewhere along the lines, I stopped watching Grey's, but my appreciation for the writing and creativity never faded.  Fast forward a few years and I've graduated from the one television show a week and am hooked on Scandal and How to Get Away with Murder (I know, lovely sounding shows).

There are a lot of similar characteristics between these three shows, but the main one being the mastermind behind them.  Her name is Shonda Rhimes and she's quickly rising to the ranks of Beyonce in my mind. The Year of Yes is her story of her decision to say yes to all things that make her uncomfortable. She spent a year doing all of those things that made her feel "squishy" (shoutout to City Year!) inside and the Year of Yes is all about that year and the change she underwent.

I loved this book for so many reasons. First, her writing is incredible, which should come as no surprise to anyone who has watched even an episode of her shows. The woman has a way with words. Her writing was on fleek as the children say these days, but really, it was her willingness to be vulnerable that had me turning every page. There were so many times where I just wanted to shout "YAAAASSS!!!" to the feelings she was describing.   She had my introverted self cringing at the thought of going to a big party or giving a speech, just as she did before the year of yes.

Throughout the book, she explores different areas of her life where she began to say yes to challenging things, from her social life to her family to her health.  She began to say yes to going to parties and giving speeches, she said yes to play time with her children and she even said yes to putting down the cake and working out (she lost over 100 pounds!!).

I did feel that some of the things she did and said yes to were only possible because of who she was and her income, which most people don't have.  For example, she hired a personal trainer and had a full time nanny, both of which cost a significant amount of money.  That being said, there are ways to get around that, but it definitely was easier for her because she could afford a lot of things the average person (and definitely single mom) could not.

Overall, I felt like this was such a girl power book and I loved it.  The admiration I have for Shonda Rhimes definitely grew as I was reading this book.  Throughout the year, she herself out of her comfort zone and by the end felt so empowered to do things she wouldn't have even thought possible before.  While I definitely haven't committed to a year of yes myself, I feel like there was so much I could sympathize with after these past seven months.

Do you have any autobiographies/memoirs that you enjoyed?  Why did you like them?