I don’t really watch TV. If I do, I stream. Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon Prime are my jam.
Which means I don’t watch TV on Thursday night.
Which means I don’t really know what it means to “own Thursday night.”
However, I still know who Shonda Rhimes is. She’s a boss, and I make it my business to know powerful, boss bosses. Shonda Rhimes is a powerful television producer and writer. Her long list of credits include Grey’s Anatomy, Private Practice, Scandal, and How to Get Away with Murder, as well as her newest show The Catch. She has her OWN production company, aptly named Shondaland. She devastates people on a regular basis. Even I have seen the Denny/Izzie Grey’s Anatomy’s episodes that leave people as sniveling shells of the former selves. (And, of course, me too.) I had a friend who just started streaming Grey’s Anatomy who watched the episode for the first time this month, and she Facebook posted about how she remembered her friends being broken years before. All she could do now was drink wine and sob. That’s how good Shonda Rhimes is. 10 years old and that episode is still going strong.
So when my friend Nicole shoved Year of Yes; How to Dance It Out, Stand in the Sun, and Be Your Own Person by Shonda Rhimes into my hand, I said, “Yes, please.” Maybe I don’t have cable, but I respect a woman who has her own night of TV. I wanted to know everything and anything there is to know about Shonda Rhimes. My friend also said that as a new Mom, she thought I could relate.
The premise behind Year of Yes is simple. Ms. Rhimes’ sister made a passing comment at Thanksgiving about how Ms. Rhimes always never said yes to anything. It struck her so fiercely, and no matter how many ways she tried to deny it, she couldn’t find that statement false. Ms. Rhimes than resolved to celebrate her own “Year of Yes” – a year where she would say yes to every and any opportunity that came her way. The results are thought-provoking, hilarious, and deeply moving.
Ms. Rhimes takes you with her as she tentatively says yes when she wants to scream “NO!” – from giving a commencement speech at Dartmouth, to appearing on Jimmy Kimmel, to attending an event at the Kennedy Center and sharing a box with President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama. She shows that by saying “YES!” to you, sometimes you are saying “NO!” to something bad for you, whether it be habits, food, or even people.
I’ve heard this book described both as a memoir and also as self-help. I’ve also heard people complain that Ms. Rhimes goes on and on,
meandering, and that she’s perhaps self-indulgent. To all those ideas and complaints, I quite disagree. Year of Yes is a creation. It’s a theatre piece, it’s a television show, it’s a novel, it’s a movie. The story unfolds. Shonda Rhimes is taking the reader on a journey, just like she does on television, and you don’t know where she’s going to take you. Everything isn’t going to happen in order, chronology doesn’t matter, but how you feel does. If you are a person who reads memoirs as a genre, you might not like this book because it isn’t quite that. If you like reading self-help, you might not like this book either because it doesn’t quite fit in that genre.
If you respect the art of creation, appreciate it, and are mesmerized by those that engage in that creation, I think you will love this book. I certainly did! I put my hand in Shonda’s and went on her journey. And it was exhilarating! I bet every Thursday night is like that for millions of Shonda fans.
I might need to start watching TV. On Thursday.
Have you read Year of Yes? What did you think?