You’ve probably watched the hit TV shows Private Practice, Scandal, Grey’s Anatomy and How To Get away With Murder, or at the very least heard of them. This book is by their creator Shonda Rhimes, director at Shondaland, the company that creates these epic television series depicting mostly black, female protagonists fighting against all odds to slay their dragons and emerge winners. This wasn’t always the case for Shonda, until recently (2014 when she went on this journey).
The 311-page book starts with a prologue titled “full frontal” where she states, “A lady never shows her soul outside the boudoir”, and for her this includes the very unnatural act of writing about herself. However unnatural it may be to Shonda, she does a sterling job pulling the writer into her mind before she was the creator of all these celebrated shows, before she had an army of writers chipping into her body of work, before the fame and during it all.
The Year of Yes focuses on how in 2014, Rhimes took on the year, thanks to her sister’s comment “you never say yes to anything”. Shonda calls these “the six startling words”. Six words that dared her to do more with her life, the opportunities that came her way through her sheer hard work and being in the moment instead of watching life pass by. And so, as though on a whim, she decided to say yes to everything, for a year. Just imagine that, saying yes to everything for a year. Yes family, friends, work that fulfils you, yes, even when afraid, feeling the fear and doing it anyways. Simply, yes.
Rhimes previous habit of saying no was not rooted in self-love. This almost self-destructive pattern that had her on the verge of a health catastrophe because of her weight is what she writes she was conquering. It reads like a cross between random journal entries and stories about her life and that of the people around her, that aid in relevance, like a supportive cast to a main actor.
Rhimes confesses how she used to eat, drink, and binge watch television series, instead of responding to invites of the exclusive events and opportunities that came her way. The thought of going out to events, meeting people, speaking in public or doing interviews would send jolts of fear into her so bad, if she went through with it, she’d have no memory of what happened. She decided to say yes to all these things.
Year of Yes is a cross between a memoir and self-help book. A book written by a woman with grit for others like her, others who want to be like her, television enthusiasts and production students alike.
Year of Yes inspires us to take on the New Year early. It’s a book to read at this time of year, that will inspire you to not live life inside your head, but get off the sofa and do what makes your soul leap with joy. Have a great year and may you say yes to the new experiences, new opportunities and lovely new books.