*You’re probably familiar with the name Shonda Rhimes. If not, you’re familiar with THESE names: Scandal, Grey’s Anatomy, and How To Get Away With Murder. Those television shows are three of Rhimes’ babies, and thanks to them, she owns network TV’s Thursday nights like they haven’t been owned since the Huxtables were around.
If you’re a Shondaland fan, you’ll like her new book, Year of Yes. It’s basically a trip through the tackling of a few of the writer’s own demons, including (very surprisingly) crippling self-doubt and insecurity. Rhimes says she found herself habitually saying “no” to anything that scared her or was outside of her comfort zone, which included all public speaking engagements.
After receiving challenges of sorts from her sisters — who are hysterically candid with her, according to the book — Rhimes embarked on her “year of yes”, agreeing to agree to every opportunity that came her way.
Year Of Yes is undoubtedly making an impact. Scandal star Kerry Washington recently referred to it as required reading. That’s a bit like Jesus saying the bible is required reading, but it’s significant, nonetheless. And speaking of Jesus, at least one church was inspired to embark upon its own “year of yes” this year, after the pastor read the book.
I said if you’re a fan of Rhimes’ dramas, you’ll LIKE the book — but you may not love it. Rhimes’ writing style mirrors the repetitive speech patterns of her beloved characters. Those patterns are always entertaining and are most often hilarious during our favorite dramas. However, on the printed page, without the likes of actors like Viola Davis, Kerry Washington, and Ellen Pompeo to breathe life into them, those patterns can be static.
I read Year Of Yes during a flight recently, and at one point, I could have almost jumped out of the plane sans parachute so that I could avoid one…more…word. One more word! I’d have done almost anything I could to avoid one more word. One more!
I’m glad I talked myself off of the virtual ledge, as those maddening passages in Year Of Yes are relatively few, and the book was worth the time I spent sharing Rhimes’ journey from self-doubt through acceptance to self-love. But more than anything, Rhimes’ book is a testament to the acting genius of Davis, Washington, Pompeo and the rest of Shondaland’s exemplary team of Thespians. Without their exceptional gifts, Rhimes’ words just don’t sing.
That said, I’d recommend picking up a copy of Year Of Yes and taking Rhimes’ journey of self-discovery with her. If you’re a Shondaland fan, the book is practically screaming out to you: pick me, choose me, love me…BUY me!
Shonda Rhimes’ Year Of Yes is available at retail and digital outlets everywhere.
Michael P Coleman is a Sacramento-based freelance writer whose penis will never be on a dead girl’s phone. However, he really wants you to be his person. Connect with him at michaelpcoleman.com or on Twitter: @ColemanMichaelP