Monday 30 November 2015

GoodRead - Year of Yes

One of my favourite storytellers is Shonda Rhimes. For those of you who aren't aware of her, Shonda is the creator of hit shows Grey's Anatomy, Scandal, Private Practice and is one of the executive producers of How To Get Away with Murder (which I am very obsessed with. If you follow my Twitter, you know how obsessed I am with that show!), so when I first heard that Shonda was writing a book (last year, maybe?), I got very excited. Shonda is writing a book! SHONDA RHIMES IS WRITING A BOOK! I didn't care what it was about, I WANTED/NEEDED IT!

So, a few weeks ago, I discovered that it was going to be published in the UK, I got excited. Then I discovered that there was an audiobook and, oh yeah, Shonda was reading it herself, I went from excited to "I AM GETTING THIS! GET OUT OF MY WAY, I AM BUYING THIS!!!". And because the lovely people at Midas PR gave me an extra credit for, I got this a few days after I finished After Alice by Gregory Maguire (review here) and started within ten minutes of downloading it.

Shonda Rhimes is a powerhouse of storytelling. Hugely successful TV shows, given a whole night of her shows (which is unheard of. Ever), a mother of three children, Shonda has a lot of reasons to say no to events. No to media appearances, no to speaking engagement, no to that huge Hollywood party, no no no.

One Thanksgiving (2013? Sorry, can't find my notes!), Shonda was telling her sister about these events, when her sister asked "Are you planning on going to any of these?", surprising Shonda. And when Shonda answers no, her sister mutters under her breath "You never say yes to anything."

Shonda realises that she is scared of saying yes. Nothing new to fear if you say yes. So, realising this, Shonda makes a challenge for herself. For one year, she has to say yes to everything that scares her. And soon, Shonda realises the power of the word Yes and how it changed her life...

I'm going to say this right here and now: I loved it. I'm going to be unashamed about that. I was sucked it and devoured the audiobook within 5 days (Started on the Sunday, finished on the Thursday - and that has NEVER EVER happened with me and an audiobook.).

What I found wonderful is that Shonda is very real. She speaks about her insecurities and how she overcame them, her realisations over her life and the people over her life and how she overcame them. She also wrote in a style I really liked - she was funny, truthful and she wrote in a "It's just you and me" style, which is refreshing in a non-fiction book. Plus, Shonda realised questions in me that made me go "She's speaking the truth here", "I need to say yes more", "I never thought of that before" and "Do I agree with this?"

From some of the reviews I have read, there might be one or two problems some readers might have. To some people, Shonda never really addressed why she said no - but I disagree. She admitted very early on that she's an introvert and she struggled with shyness all her life. Other people might find her "It's you and me" writing a tad grating but, listening to it via audiobook, I never had this problem. In some respect, having Shonda read it outlaid helped hugely, but I think if I had the book, I would have flown through it.

I think people who love Shonda's shows will love this. I devoured this and, hopefully, I will get a hardback copy of Year of Yes for Christmas. If not, I will be buying it in the sales...

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