Thursday, May 12, 2016

Audiobook Review: "Year of Yes" by Shonda Rhimes

Year of Yes Shonda Rhimes
Published: November 10, 2015
ISBN: 9781442396203
Genre: Memoir
Source: Personal Copy (Audible)
Highly Recommended

You might enjoy this book if you like: Anything on ABC on Thursday night, memoirs by introverts, memoirs by strong women, Cristina Yang, books about being generally awesome

Note: There are many shortages in this world, but GIF's from Grey's Anatomy is not one of those things and, let's face it, this review requires me to use as many of them as I can.

The mega-talented creator of Grey’s Anatomy and Scandal and executive producer of How to Get Away With Murder chronicles how saying YES for one year changed her life―and how it can change yours, too.

With three hit shows on television and three children at home, the uber-talented Shonda Rhimes had lots of good reasons to say NO when an unexpected invitation arrived. Hollywood party? No. Speaking engagement? No. Media appearances? No.

And there was the side benefit of saying No for an introvert like Shonda: nothing new to fear.

Then Shonda’s sister laid down a challenge: just for one year, try to say YES to the unexpected invitations that come your way. Shonda reluctantly agreed―and the result was nothing short of transformative. In Year of Yes, Shonda Rhimes chronicles the powerful impact saying Yes had on every aspect of her life―and how we can all change our lives with one little word. Yes. 

My Thoughts:
I think it is important, before I start spouting off about how this audiobook rocked my world, to let you all know where I stand with Shondaland.  I have never watched Private Practice or How To Get Away With Murder (yet...Netflix may change that) and I only made it through one season of Scandal before I got fed up and turned it off.  However, I am in a long term relationship with Grey's Anatomy.  It's not a perfect relationship--I've been tempted to break it off many times and have even "gone on a break," but I always, always come back.  I stuck through the hard times--when McSteamy was killed off--and the bad times--all that ghost sex with Denny--yet, I'm still there for you, the hospital now known as Grey-Sloan Memorial Hospital.  My husband doesn't understand this and has a standard monologue that I hear every.single.Thursday.night when he finds me watching it--you know, how can I watch this silly soap opera?--things like that.  But even that isn't enough to get me to break it off with TV's character with the worst luck ever.  Never fear, Meredith Grey, I'm there for you.

So, here's the deal.  If I was a wizard and lived in that world, Shonda Rhimes would be my patronus.  I actually didn't know much about her until I listened to this book, but then I realized that she was like me in so many ways.  She's also, by her own admission, like Cristina Yang, which means I'm like Cristina Yang...and that makes me happy, but I digress.

Shonda Rhimes is an introvert--I know, that surprised the heck out of me, too.  And, as a fellow introvert, I get her need to insulate herself from the world and the fear she feels when in comes to trying new things.  Her project--to say Yes to everything that scares her for a year--starts out timidly, but then ends up changing her life.  I'll admit, some of the things she she said yes to really resonated with me.  Her chapter on saying yes to being healthy is one of the best I've read or heard.  It's not a "diet" and she doesn't really tell you what to do (well, she does reluctantly at the end of the chapter, but it really isn't anything that we haven't heard before), but her discussion on what led to her weight gain and how she dealt with it emotionally was excellent.

Because she spends much of her life writing TV shows, her book is heavy with references to those shows.  This is partly because many of the cast members have become close family members and partly because parts of her life are reflected in the shows she writes.  As I said, I only watch one of her shows, but I had no problem following what she was writing about.  Of course, I watch the show that has been on the air the longest, and her "flagship" show, so most of the references do come from Grey's Anatomy, so that did help things.  But I don't feel that you need to have watched any of her shows to follow her story.

Rhimes also serves as narrator for this audiobook, which did make me a bit nervous.  Writers who can deliver on the page can't always deliver in the studio and I knew that a high level of personality would be needed for this.  Rhimes delivers wonderfully.  In fact, I never really felt that she was reading her book, but rather just talking to me.  When I first heard about this book, I wasn't sure if I should read it or listen to it--and now I am very happy that I opted for the latter (but I may still invest in a print copy for reference.  Trust me, you will definitely want to revisit parts of this book!)

I cannot recommend this audiobook (or book) enough.  Even if you don't find it as inspiring as I did, I can guarantee that you will find it entertaining.  Shonda Rhimes is one of a kind and well worth your time!

I was not solicited for this review and I received no compensation for this post.

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