After Da Vinci and Knecht, it’s time for a different voice - a palette cleanser while I figure out where to go next. Less religion and warfare. More humour. Preferably female-driven.
I don’t know where I heard about the book. It’s not the kind of thing I would normally read, what with the subtitle “How to Dance it Out, Stand in the Sun, and Be Your Own Person” sounding an awful lot like a self-help book intended for people who live in homes without a mandatory one-dance-per-day-minimum and no expertise in following around sunbeams.
Whatever review I saw made me curious, so I go for it.
Glad I did.
Favourite Scenes/ Quotes
I laugh when she described her battle to bring store-bought treats to school in the face of the PTA’s rule that all treats must be made at home during meaningful mother-child bonding sessions.
I like this:
“Shonda, how do you do it all? The answer is this: I don’t. Whenever you see me somewhere succeeding in one area of my life, that almost certainly means that I am failing in another area of my life.”
And of course the Dartmouth commencement address that provides the hook for the first part of the book is a glimpse behind the scenes of speech writing (spoiler: she procrastinates), stage fright, and the good that can come from ignoring both of those things.
There is absolutely nothing in this book that suggests you can follow three easy steps to be “just like Shonda”. There’s nothing in the book that even suggests you should try to be like her. That’s refreshing for book in this memoir-with-a-moral genre.
“Year of Yes” isn’t the kind of classic book that you force down everyone’s throats, like medicine. It’s not going to be for everyone. But for someone who takes transit every day and looks for excuses to smile while stuck underground waiting for TTC “signal problems” to clear, face pressed again strangers' Canada Goose coyote fringe, this (audio)book is perfect.
Consider my palette cleansed.
Liking the memoir genre. Wanting more of the intellectual/philosophically questy-business of Glass Bead Game.