Wednesday, February 28, 2018

Book Review: Year of Yes

Happy world book day!

Well, it's about time ain't it?  But yes the book review for Year of Yes is finally here! But I tell you, it is well worth the wait because Year of Yes is one helluva' book, and this is going to be a cracking review!

If you follow me on Instagram, you may have seen me post this picture on the 27th January with the promise of a review, then this one on the 24th February just to let the world know that I hadn't forgotten to honour my word. In fact, it had been so long since I began the book that by the time I was ready to start the review, I had to swing back to the first chapter for a quick reminder on how it starts.

Who is Shonda Rhimes?
OK, now what is Year of Yes? It's the memoir of the author and screenwriter Shonda Rhimes,  served with a measure of humour, and finished off with a sprinkle of motivation. But before I go on, I think I need to share with you a little bit about Shonda Rhimes. 

If Meredith Grey, Olivia Pope, and Annalise Keating are names you have heard before or are acquainted with then you may know that they are all names of characters written into existence by the magnificent Shonda Rhimes. Hers is the famous name behind the Shondaland production company. Rhimes has written and produced Private Practice, Scandal, How to Get Away with Murder and Grey's Anatomy. All are prime time TV dramas. 

Her shows dominate American television space on Thursday nights (and can be found on Netflix), and coined the phrase TGIT - thank God It's Thursday!  because of their popularity. It's difficult to imagine that such an accomplished woman should have any insecurities, second guesses, moments of hopelessness and a life of chaos right? Well, this is where the book comes in. Because as Shonda Rhimes, shares her"behind the scenes" and swings the door wide open to her world of family and script writing.

About the book
The book's first chapter begins with six startling words, 'You never say yes to anything'. These words, uttered by her sister, one Thanksgiving morning are the six words which serve as a wake-up call. They are a call to action which sends Shonda down a trajectory of adventure and learnt lessons. She discovers that the simple word, 'yes' is a game changer. As a reader, you'll follow Shonda as she describes a series of episodes much like her critically acclaimed shows. 

An example is her comical description of her many failed attempts to imitate one of Whitney Houston's hairstyles despite her best efforts, and the frustration she went through to recreate the look until the day she realised it was a wig. Not even Whitney could achieve Whitney's hair! What I love is how she applies these scenarios to significant life lessons. In the aforementioned scenario, she teaches that it's folly to beat yourself up trying to copy or compare yourself to someone when you don't know their secrets. 

My opinions
Rhimes, is a totally talented writer (well, you'd know that if you watch any of her shows), and this totally shines through in Year of Yes. She has a way of guiding us through her train of thoughts, just as she would think them. Rhimes writes openly and honestly, which gives the book an added charm. I love is her vulnerability and conversational style. 

She teaches us that whilst it's important to 'stop living on the edges of the room' and to embrace opportunities, it shouldn't come at the detriment of your peace and happiness. She gives an insight into what it is to live at the intersection of being black, a woman, and a mother with a job. This really is a book which serves women.

I think one of my best takeaways is the fact that if Shonda didn't do what she did if there was no Olivia Pope, or Annalise Keating, there would be no lead woman of colour on TV filling a powerful role. The TV watching world would be longer subjected to black women in the stereotypical ratchet queen, sidekick of mami figure roles (until Black Pather of course!)

I won't tell you how she closes the book, and what she leaves us with because that would be telling too much! But I will say that the book ends with a section of  Questions and Topics for Discussion - a nice feature which makes the book appropriate for book clubs and study groups

Would I recommend this book? Totally Yes! Buy this must-read here

Currently watching How to Get Away With Murder.



  1. Hmmmm....sounds like a great read. Shonda sure is a brilliant author with all dem shows under her belt. Thanks for sharing sis.

    1. It really is a great read. Not a waste of time at all. Do you watch any of her shows by any chance?

  2. The only show that I watch of Shonda's is how to get away with murder and I am addicted. When I get time to have time to read I will def. check out that book. Thanks for the recommendation.

    1. I love HTGAWM. I am currently watching it too! I am only on season 2 though. Please do drop an email once you've read it. I'd love to know how you find it.

  3. Great review!and You capture her messages so well. One of my fav reads ����

    1. Thank you Booky. It's definitely up there. I just love the way she is so honest with it!

  4. HTGAWM opened my eyes to the talent that Shonda truly is. I always heard the name in passing. Even when i watched Grays Anatomy it was just about the love for medicine, never did i know i'd be captured by a legal story like that. Shes definitely worth all the hype

    1. The show is absoloute fire! Shonda Rhimes is a powerhouse of a writer. To be fair, I neve watched Grays Anatomy, buts its popularity tells me its a great show.


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