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Book Nook: Shirlene Evans Bridgewater reviews ‘Year of Yes’ by Shonda Rhimes

Shirlene Evans Bridgewater

Shirlene Evans Bridgewater, a Horseshoe Bay resident, freelance writer, poet, and retired English teacher, was inspired by 'Year of Yes,' which reveals how one word — yes — can change a person’s life for the better. Staff photo by Suzanne Freeman

EDITOR’S NOTE: The Picayune Book Nook is published periodically in The Picayune Magazine. Book lovers of all ages are invited to send their reviews of no more than 250 words to bookreview@thepicayune.com. Please include contact information. Reviewers must be Highland Lakes residents. 

“Year of Yes: How to Dance it Out, Stand in the Sun and Be Your Own Person”

Written by Shonda Rhimes; published by Simon & Schuster, 2015

BOOK SUMMARY: Shonda Rhimes’ usual response to social and business engagements was “NO!” until her sister challenged her to say “YES!” to life. In her memoir “Year of Yes,” Rhimes, with humor, courage, and self-discovery, shares her one-year journey to becoming her authentic self.

Reviewed by Shirlene Evans Bridgewater, a poet, retired English teacher, and Horseshoe Bay resident

“This book is not fiction,” declares Shonda Rhimes in her memoir “Year of Yes: How to Dance It Out, Stand in the Sun and Be Your Own Person.” So, with vulnerability, revelations, and wit, Rhimes peels her layers to expose an introvert who always said “NO!” to most situations in her life. You read that right! THE Shonda Rhimes — creator and executive producer of the mega-hits “Scandal,” “Grey’s Anatomy,” “Bridgerton,” and “How to Get Away with Murder,” among other TV dramas — was an introvert who feared taking on challenges.

Prompted by a conversation with her sister, Rhimes challenges herself to change, and in so doing, she slays her personal demons and crushes her fears to decidedly go beyond her self-imposed limitations. She begins to say “yes” to parties, press conferences, interviews, and speeches and “yes” to letting others help with her three daughters. As she evolves, she even sheds more than 100 pounds. 

“The cruelty with which I treated myself is no longer tolerated,” Rhimes said. “My ‘Year of Yes’ (is) about … Love.” 

It was also about choosing to not withdraw and to not commit her “own slow form of suicide,” which the book shows took courage and saved her life.

I’m inspired by this Black woman trailblazer in Hollywood, whose Shondaland enterprise denotes talent, power, and mega-millions. I know she will continue to create powerful entertainment with a new internal lens. 

“Year of Yes” is an excellent read to begin the new year, even for those who do not make resolutions. It is a great roadmap for how to become more “real” and to seek joy in all the nooks and crannies of life. Now that’s a good book!