Year of Yes Review


I initially was interested in reading the Year of Yes: How to Dance It Out, Stand In the Sun and Be Your Own Person  after watching an interview with Grey's Anatomy, Private Practice and Scandal Creator, Shonda Rhimes on a talk show. Although I am somewhat embarrassed to admit it, I have been watching Grey's Anatomy from the very first episode and was not aware of who the creator Shonda Rhimes was until recently. The reason I did not know of Shonda, is up until now she maintained a very behind the scenes persona, and refused to do any public appearances. As I mentioned, I have a long history with Grey's Anatomy, starting in 2005  before I was in the medical field. I have stayed a loyal viewer despite the glaring inaccuracies in the medical aspect of the show and hospital culture (I have never in my life seen a doctor transport a patient from a CT Scan, and there are literally no nurses ever at Seattle Grace Hospital) as well the unbelievable melodrama of the show for several reasons. One reason is I really love that Grey's Anatomy brings a human aspect of medicine to the show. The surgeons in the show are empathetic, and consider all ethical implications of the medical decisions they make. They also take the time to get to know and really interact with their patients (like I said the show is not true to life). I also really love that she not only creates complex and powerful characters who are minorities, gays, and women, but also interracial and gay relationships and families are completely normalized in the show. A pet peeve of mine is so often when minorities or gays are portrayed in movies or in television, they are rarely placed in integrated settings. You have all Asians shows, (Fresh off the Boat, Dr. Ken) or all White shows (How I met your Mother, Friends), or all Black shows (Black-ish, Martin). If there are interracial relationships in most TV shows or movies, it is a central plot focus. In Grey's Anatomy a White woman and Latina woman are married, and the focus is not on the fact that they are gay, or are in an interracial relationship, but on normal problems faced in any relationship (you know normal problems such as being a victim in plane crash which leads to a limb amputation by your wife, an orthopedic surgeon, against your will). Being in a interracial marriage with a mixed child, it's nice to see families like ours portrayed on television. Having my longest TV relationship with Grey's Anatomy, I felt as if I wanted to know a little more about the elusive creator behind all of the beloved characters.
The Year of Yes starts out with Shonda at the height of her career. She has three hit shows, including Grey's Anatomy in its 10th season. With all the success in her career and the drama in her shows, her life is for lack of better term, in a rut. She has neglected friends, family, fun and her health, in the midst of being a power house writer and producer. After having the epiphany that she was always saying "no" to herself, she makes a vow for a full year to say yes to everything that scares her. I was a little turned off by the story at first. For all the melodrama in her shows, her life was a huge bore. I am more used to nonfiction being filled with more excitement and comedy, unlike this book. What I realized as I read on, however, the intent of this book is not for entertainment, although some parts are very funny, but more as a self-help or self-motivation book. Her stories of balancing her life as mom of three children and a writer/producer are down to Earth and realistic. She doesn't sugar-coat her inadequacies or insecurities, and by the end of the book I felt like as though she was an Aunt (in my mind as Wendy Williams says) and we were sitting down drinking wine together as she gave me life advice. Overall I would recommend this book not for entertainment value, but as a self-motivation piece.

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