The Year of Yes

Review of Shonda Rhimes Year of Yes

THE YEAR OF YES sounds like a scary yet wonderful idea doesn’t it? Ever wonder what the woman behind Thursday night thinks about or how she talks to friends, well you’re about to find out. The Year of Yes is straight from Shonda Rhimes herself, the wonderful creator behind Grey’s Anatomy, Scandal and How to Get Away with Murder. Shonda owns Thursday night TV not only that she slays it. It is that fact alone that made me buy this book and my god am I glad I did.

I’m embarrassed to admit that I never took a second to think about how stressful it must be to have that amount of power, I mean she OWNS Thursday night, it’s named after her!! Or even stop and think that at some point she wasn’t this legend of television. It honestly blew my mind that she was ever scared, that the woman who brought us Christina Yang and Olivia Pope could have ever doubted herself. Yes, this book might have fulfilled some greater need to connect to my favourite shows but it gave me motivation and inspiration I didn’t even know I needed.

I am not lucky. You know what I am? I am smart, I am talented, I take advantage of the opportunities that come my way and I work really, really hard. Don’t call me lucky. Call me a badass.

Shonda’s year of yes is a tale of self love and growth that I think is so important. As women we all continually made to judge and question ourselves, from our body to how we use our brain. This is a story about coming above this, to truly learning to accept yourself, flaws and all, and love yourself and showcase it to the world as this life shattering accomplishment to realise that hey the world already loved me I just needed to love myself.

I’ve read a lot of reviews about this book and a lot of them are put off or even downright angry at Shonda’s writing style so let me be clear THIS IS NOT A NOVEL OR A SCRIPT, yes you might feel like she’s storytelling at times but SHE IS A STORYTELLER, that is her job so except it. This is a down to earth story from the bottom of her heart written in a beautifully crafted conversation style. It is written with the intention to be a conversation between friends so yes it is less formal than one might expect from her but people she has told you her life in black and white, flaws and all for us to learn from so do that — learn from her, learn from her experiences, learn to make the most out of your life don’t moan about her writing style choices.

Happiness comes from living as you need to, as you want to. As your inner voice tells you to. Happiness comes from being who you actually are instead of who you think you are supposed to be.

I love the written word, any type be it poetry or comics I simply adore it. I adore honest words, words that ring so true the settle in my heart and linger there as if to say ‘stop everything and listen to me, ponder me a little longer.’ This book is the perfect balance between those stop and listen moments to laugh out loud and can’t stop smiling to yourself moments. I don’t think a book as ever had me in tears and full body smiles in the same morning train ride. The people next to me starred in case you were wondering. But Shonda did just that, reading the commencement speech she gave at Dartmouth in 1991 I was uncontrollable. Granted that probably as a lot to do with the fact that it was the same day I got an email confirming my MA graduation date but we’ll pretend that’s not important.

Shonda’s words are powerful, they are potent and they are down right honest. Don’t believe me? I guess you’ll just have to read the book yourself so we can talk about (or multitask and listen on Audible). But I’ll leave you with this little excerpt from her Dartmouth commencement speech…

When people give these kinds of speeches, they usually tell you all kinds of wise and heartfelt things. They have wisdom to impart. They have lessons to share. They tell you: Follow your dreams. Listen to your spirit. Change the world. Make your mark. Find your inner voice and make it sing. Embrace failure. Dream. Dream and dream big. As a matter of fact, dream and don’t stop dreaming until all of your dreams come true.

I think that’s crap.

I think a lot of people dream. And while they are busy dreaming, the really happy people, the really successful people, the really interesting, engaged, powerful people, are busy doing…

Dreams are lovely. But they are just dreams. Fleeting, ephemeral, pretty. But dreams do not come true just because you dream them. It’s hard work that makes things happen. It’s hard work that creates change.

About the author
Staci West is an obsessive compulsive traveller who is currently dealing with a chronic case of coffee addicition. Symptoms include blackouts from online shopping sessions, a ferocious passion for everything colourful and energy levels that exceed a normal human capacity. On the advice of her carer and companion, Kendall her yellow labrador, she created L&L, a down to Earth lifestyle blog, as a distraction for her pathological need for shoes.

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