Review of Year of Yes

My second book review is for, Year of Yes by Shonda Rhimes. I will admit, I live under a rock, so I have never seen her shows. Ever. Did I just hear you gasp? Ok, I know it’s a bit odd, but it’s not like I don’t know about “Grey’s Anatomy” or “Scandal.” I mean, I’ve heard of McDreamy and am pretty sure he’s the one that was in “Can’t Buy Me Love” back in the day, right? Fine, you can start laughing at me now. Anyway, when I head about her book, I wanted to read it not because of her, but because it was being buzzed about in the spiritual circles.

What’s It About?

Shonda Rhimes had her life together, so she thought. She is super successful, has a family (albeit in a nontraditional sense), and pretty much anything her heart desires. Yet, she was desperately unhappy. She turned to food to numb the pain while trying to figure out what could possibly be the cause of her angst. It all clicked thanks to her sister’s casually thrown out words, “You never say yes to anything.” After letting these words really sink in, she decided the only choice she had was to begin saying, “Yes.”

My Thoughts

She is so fucking honest it’s refreshing. She begins the book by introducing herself as a liar. “Hi, I’m Shonda and I like to lie.” Yup, how ironic. And, the honesty never ends. She generously allows us in to her pain and embarrassment throughout the book. Of course, you have to question what to believe thanks to her introduction, but something deep inside makes you think that that was just a protective mechanism in case you find something she shares to be a little too much.

Instead, what I found was that I could relate to this woman. I could relate to this single black mom who appears on Oprah and the Jimmy Kimmel show. What?! I can’t believe I even wrote that sentence. But, it’s true. She is every woman. She is judgmental, awkward, shy, fierce, stubborn, and loving. As she unfolds her story and shares how each ‘yes’ brought her closer to the woman she knows she can be, I was taken on a journey that reminded me of the woman I know I can be.

My Takeaway Quotes

Here are a few of my favorites:

“I FLUNG A CHICKEN BONE ACROS THE ROOM AT A COCKTAIL PARTY. While everyone stared at the chicken bone on the white carpet, I pretended that the culprit was not me. True story.”

“Shonda, how do you do it all?” The answer is this: I don’t. Whenever you see me somewhere succeeding in one area of my life, that almost certainly means that I am failing in another area of my life.

“I am scared people will think I like myself too much.”

How I Incorporated It In My Life

I will admit, two years ago, I did a week of yes. I said yes to everything. There were quite a few nights that week when ice cream came before dinner once the kids were on to what I was doing. That was part of what attracted me to this book. I remember that I was more relaxed in that week than I had ever been. My relationship with my boys was more loving. And, they shocked me by not taking full advantage. Turned out, they could control themselves, all. on. their. own. Maybe I didn’t have to be a helicopter parent after all.

So, after reading this, I was motivated once again, not to say yes to everything, but to say yes to much more. Every single no we utter is a door we are closing to life. Through her words I recognized that I had been closing the doors again. I was living ‘safe’. I was inspired to fling those doors wide open and say yes to life. Yes, I will apply for that job – even if I don’t get it or it’s not the right fit, who knows where it could lead. Yes, I will splurge on myself. If I have super soft skin, who knows what confidence that will gain me. Yes, I will wear sparkly things because I like to feel beautiful. Who cares what people think of that.

Conclusion

Saying yes to life is not a new concept. I was concerned that I would get bored with the message. Sure, at times there could be a lull, but Shonda was so candidly honest that I felt like I was having a conversation with a dear friend. One so inspiring that when it ended, I imagine we would run to the nearest river and jump in buck naked. Because, Yes.

I hope you like my book review. If you liked it, if there’s something I missed that you would like to know about in my next review, or have a book suggestion, leave me a comment below.

In light and love,

Melinda

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