Jan 10 2019

Rave #BookReview During #Boutofbooks 24

Today’s challenge:

Synopsis Rewrite

Take a favorite book and re-write the synopsis (book description) from the point of view of the non-main character

It was difficult to pick which book I wanted to use for this. I’m going with this one because I think I can do the challenge well using the Nick character.
Please note that this is how I imagine the Nick character thinks. These are not the sort of thoughts I personally would have, but rather the thoughts I believe this villain has.

Olivia has turned into a cunning young lady. Sneaky sneaky, she thinks she has me over a barrel because her little plan to slip off to college worked. I allowed it to work. Sometimes you have to give slack on the leash. That doesn’t mean the choker chain has come off. Oh no. A fact I remind her of again and again. Still, it isn’t enough. I need to retrain her. Olivia isn’t as obedient as she was when I first took our relationship to the next level. Somehow, crossing into the age of legal adulthood has made her brazen and disrespectful. It’s possible she thinks her body is her own. Maybe she’s even considering sharing that body with someone else. As if I’d allow her to share my property! Her body, and her trust fund, will always be mine.

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Day of the challenge: Day 4
What I read today:
Year of Yes: How to Dance It Out, Stand In the Sun and Be Your Own Person by Shonda Rhimes

Total number of finished books: 1
Titles of finished books:
Year of Yes: How to Dance It Out, Stand In the Sun and Be Your Own Person by Shonda Rhimes

My GOALS during Bout of Books 24:

  1. Finish reading 3 books
  2. Take part in the challenges
  3. Write 3 book reviews

Book Review:

Year of Yes: How to Dance It Out, Stand In the Sun and Be Your Own Person by Shonda Rhimes

5 star rating image on the blog of @JLenniDorner

Try Something New
Author I Haven’t Previously Read
Debut Book #DebutAuthor

Trope Challenge
MC returns to hometown Trope


This was an amazing read, an emotionally powerful autobiography. Year of Yes is about what Shonda did, about how saying yes improved her life (which was already an incredibly successful and enviable life, but there was still room for improvement). It’s not a self-help book, yet it would be so simple to apply what she did to one’s own life and, probably, result in self-helping. This is the first book like this Shonda Rhimes has written. (Seems funny that she’s a debut author, considering that she writes all time and has won many awards for doing so. But this is her first of this kind of book.)

When she wrote that she is more comfortable with books than new situations, I felt I could relate. The part about F.O.D. — I’ve lived that. When she wrote “I make stuff up for living,” man, that’s a version of what I’ve been expressing for years. That I don’t write for this reason or that reason, I write because that’s living, that’s why I’m here, that’s the reason this soul is in this body. (Maybe the soul would have had an easier go in a different body, but perhaps it’s all just fuel for the pages.)

When Shonda equates writing to running five miles, I’ve never heard it put that way before. That really makes a lot of sense to me. And how interruptions drive a writer nuts, wow, that’s so accurate and true. “We can try to cohabitate, but if you lure me away from writing, intentionally or not, it won’t go well.” Yeah. I’ve had that conversation. I get what she meant.

There’s a part in Chapter 12 about finding your tribe, about the fear of being alone, about wanting to feel less marginalized by “peers;” I really understand what she’s talking about here. Being introverted and wanting to be alone, yet needing to feel like you aren’t alone. I seriously relate to that on such a deep level.

And then, right on the next page, she talks about NORMALIZING. How that’s what the movement should be called instead of diversifying/ needing diverse characters, books, shows, etc. I don’t know how I never thought about it this way before. She’s so right! It is about making our fictional worlds better reflections of our real ones. I really love that. I hope that, in our lifetimes, we see diversity exist so much in fiction that it does become normal, the standard.

Chapter 9, “Yes to Joining the Club,” I suggest that everyone drop what they’re doing, run out to a bookstore or library, and read this chapter right now. Maybe stop along the way to get tissues. I cried. I’m rarely ever hit that hard emotionally. Reading about the group effort of those women, I don’t know, maybe it made my heart swell until tears came out. Perhaps it is because reading that gave me hope for myself and my fellow Native Americans. Speeches like that are why I’m part of the #HeForShe movement. Bravo. I actually had to set this book down because it moved me so emotionally that I “needed a minute” to process.

“Say yes to staying conscious.” That line had me laughing so hard that my spouse thought something was wrong with me. (“J’s finally flipped, gone round the bend. Time for the whitecoats to haul him away.”) Maybe it’s extra funny because I needed a laugh. Seriously, this book is an emotional journey.

I love that, near the end of the book, she goes back to Chicago to give a voice to a statue. There’s something really deep about that, something amazing about different art forms coming together.

There’s a section (in the paperback edition I read) with color photos. They’re great and I highly recommend viewing them. There’s even one of Jenny McCarthy (Shonda’s, not the other one; this one is pro-vaccination). Even the copyright page of this book has a line of humor.

I enjoyed the book far more than I expected. I mean, it’s Shonda Rhimes, I’m already a fan, so I figured it would be good. But this was so much better than I thought. I’d suggest it to all the fans of her shows, to anyone who is “diverse” and hopes to one day be “normal” or wants someone else like you to look up to. And to anyone who has shut themselves away for any non-medical-life-and-death reason. I do like the cover. The gold silhouette of a woman jumping for joy is pretty accurate (as this book is aimed more at women, but I liked it anyway). I got this book as a gift a year ago. I thought I’d have to wait until January to read it, that it would give me step by step instructions for a year… I was wrong. Read it any time. Waiting is dumb. Waiting is an excuse. Waiting is blowing up perfectly good train tracks.

I have read other autobiographies. I’ve read other self-help type books. I’ve never read anything quite like this though. This is more. This is like when people talk about the difference between American .89 cent sliced white bread versus some other country’s small village bread baked by the elders and served fresh. And yeah, you might think “eh, bread is bread,” but then you taste it and your tongue relays to your brain “OH, THIS IS WHAT TASTEBUDS ARE FOR.” That’s the experience of reading this book. I would absolutely read another book by Shonda, if she writes one.

“My happy ending is not the same as your happy ending.” Those words of wisdom should be quoted all the time. Dozens of memes. There should be tee-shirts and mugs and other such paraphernalia. Honestly, I think she may have cracked the code to the path to world peace with that line.

Finally, I want to wish Shonda Rhimes a happy birthday on January 13.

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