A couple of weeks ago, I reviewed Shonda Rhimes’ Year of Yes on the radio. Yes, that Shonda Rhimes: the one who writes fabulous television shows like Scandal and Grey’s Anatomy. So now that I’ve declared on-air to the world that I really enjoyed the book, I feel as though I need to justify my opinion as to WHY I really enjoyed this book. Let’s proceed.
It’s no surprise that this memoir is well written, but what many people will find shocking is the fact that the premise of the book was created out of Rhimes’ realization that she was unhappy. What???? How can someone so intelligent, widely revered, and successful at her chosen career be sad? And no, I know what you’re thinking, she wasn’t on drugs. And no, I know what else you’re thinking, it wasn’t because she was overweight (although she did end up losing weight, and feeling really good about it afterwards). She was allowing her anxieties to determine her day-to-day life. She said ‘no’ to most invitations and opportunities, because she hated being in public. From someone who suffers through various anxieties herself (hello flying in airplanes!), I can totally relate to her struggles and frustrations. So, after her sister mutters under her breath ‘you never say yes to anything’, Rhimes decides to start saying ‘yes’ to everything, including going on Jimmy Kimmel Live! We all won’t have these exciting opportunities handed to us, but this book still has some great lessons for everyone.
Year of Yes reads like a magazine article, as I’m discovering that many celebrity-focussed books tend to do. I have no idea why this is, but my guess is that the publisher is hoping they will entice readers of gossip magazines if they keep the prose simple and colloquial-nothing wrong with that! But Rhimes’ voice really does shine through, and there are many moments where I feel like she’s talking directly to me because she’s painfully honest at all times, which I find really endearing.
I don’t have much to complain about with this book here, it’s a quick to read, includes some fun pictures of Shonda when she was young, and left me feeling inspired and energetic, which I’m sure was one of the main intentions of the author. What more could you ask for in an autobiography/self-help book? My only qualm was the exaggerated conversations she had with the ‘reader’, because it ran on a bit too long at times; it felt like filler to push up the page count, but other than that, it was great.