In this poignant, hilarious, and deeply intimate call to arms, Hollywood’s most powerful woman, the mega-talented creator of Grey’s Anatomy and Scandal and executive producer of How to Get Away with Murder reveals how saying YES changed her life—and how it can change yours too.
She’s the creator and producer of some of the most groundbreaking and audacious shows on television today: Grey’s Anatomy, Scandal, How to Get Away with Murder. Her iconic characters—Meredith Grey, Cristina Yang, Olivia Pope, Annalise Keating—live boldly and speak their minds. So who would suspect that Shonda Rhimes, the mega talent who owns Thursday night television (#TGIT), is an introvert? That she hired a publicist so she could avoid public appearances? That she hugged walls at splashy parties and suffered panic attacks before media interviews so severe she remembered nothing afterward?
Before her Year of Yes, Shonda Rhimes was an expert at declining invitations others would leap to accept. With three children at home and three hit television shows on TV, it was easy to say that she was simply too busy. But in truth, she was also afraid. Afraid of cocktail party faux pas like chucking a chicken bone across a room; petrified of live television appearances where Shonda Rhimes could trip and fall and bleed out right there in front of a live studio audience; terrified of the difficult conversations that came so easily to her characters on-screen. In the before, Shonda’s introvert life revolved around burying herself in work, snuggling her children, and comforting herself with food.
And then, on Thanksgiving 2013, Shonda’s sister muttered something that was both a wake up and a call to arms: You never say yes to anything.
The comment sat like a grenade, until it detonated. Then Shonda, the youngest of six children from a supremely competitive family, knew she had to embrace the challenge: for one year, she would say YES to everything that scared her.
This poignant, intimate, and hilarious memoir explores Shonda’s life before her Year of Yes—from her nerdy, book-loving childhood creating imaginary friends to her devotion to creating television characters who reflected the world she saw around her (like Cristina Yang, whose ultimate goal wasn’t marriage, and Cyrus Beene, who is a Republican and gay). And it chronicles her life after her Year of Yes had begun—when Shonda forced herself out of the house and onto the stage, appearing on Jimmy Kimmel Live, and giving the Dartmouth Commencement speech; when she learned to say yes to her health, yes to play and she stepped out of the shadows and into the sun; when she learned to explore, empower, applaud, and love her truest self. Yes.
This wildly candid and compulsively readable book reveals how the mega talented Shonda Rhimes, an unexpected introvert, achieved badassery worthy of a Shondaland character. And how you can, too.
An Amazon Best Book of November 2015: I usually shy away from books with titles like Year of Yes – hokey, I think, or glib. Besides, I don’t need a self-help manual; I like to take my self-empowerment lying down, on the couch. Except… except that Rhimes, the creator/producer of such intelligent TV shows as Grey’s Anatomy and Scandal is not only wiser, funnier, and cooler than your average therapist – she’s also been there, if “there” is the land of the angry, scared and emotionally dysfunctional. Never mind that she graduated from Dartmouth, is a proud and loving mother to her three kids, AND owns Thursday night TV, Rhimes was a mess until her sister made a chance remark at Thanksgiving – “You never say Yes to anything.” That’s when Rhimes decided not only to face her fears but to hug the life out of them. (OK, so some of her fears involve wearing a Carolina Herrera dress, gorgeous shoes and showing up at a star-studded benefit… but hey, fears is fears.) Rhimes found that saying Yes sometimes, paradoxically, also meant saying no, too – as in, and this is my version, Yes, I want to be a thin person. No I don’t want to eat a whole pecan pie in one sitting because I’m more lonely than hungry. She also discovered that self-acceptance doesn’t always go smoothly: as she pithily observes, sometimes the people who loved you when you were angry, dark and “twisty” don’t like to hang around when you lighten up. So what, she says. At least you’ve figured out how to live more or less happily ever after — with yourself. – Sara Nelson
|Author: Shonda Rhimes
||Publisher: Simon & Schuster