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January 2016

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Year of Yes by Shonda Rhimes

Written by , Posted in Reviews

4 Stars

VIBE-Vixen-Shonda-Rhimes

I’ve seen every episode of Grey’s Anatomy. I’ve stuck with it through LVAD wire cuts, Dead Denny visions, the Seattle Grace / Mercy Death merger, plane crashes, bombs, active shooters, you name it. I’ve stuck with it (and almost always enjoyed it) even when she takes extreme dramatic license with the details of how catastrophic emergency response in Seattle would work. (Side note: Shonda, feel free to call me if you’d like to talk about how a mass fatality would be handled in this city that I love.)

Between Grey’s Anatomy, Scandal, and How to Get Away With Murder, Shonda Rhimes has created worlds that may not act like ours most of the time (thank goodness), but that actually look like ours. Not everyone is white. Or a dude. Or straight. Or cis. Not everyone wants to get married, or have kids. Her worlds are awesome.

It makes sense, then, that she would be able to write a compelling memoir / personal growth book.
The year (actually 18 months) of yes started with a flippant remark her sister made, about how Ms. Rhimes was always turning down invitations and pretty much just staying at home when she wasn’t working. After realizing this was a frighteningly accurate description of her life, she decided she would say yes to all invitations. She’d give a commencement address. She’d agree to be interviewed by Jimmy Kimmel.

That might seem to be a bit hard to relate to if you aren’t currently fending off invites to the Vanity Fair Academy Awards after-party, but I got it. Yes, she’s extraordinarily successful in her career, but that doesn’t guarantee happiness. So she started saying yes in other ways, like yes to ridding herself of toxic relationships. And yes to herself, in the form of taking better care of her health. I found what she had to say interesting and compelling, and pretty darn motivating.

I listened to the audio version, which is read by Ms. Rhimes. With the audio book comes the inclusion of three talks she gave as recorded at the events, which was a really cool idea. Hearing her actual address to Dartmouth grads (instead of reading the words) gave them more life, in my mind.

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