First off, our March book was Year of Yes by Shonda Rhimes. I tried to condense my review but seriously I had too many thoughts and words.
I LOVED this book.
I have been watching Grey's Anatomy since the beginning. I did get into Scandal for a bit there, but then fell off the wagon because I really dislike Fitz and it seemed like it was going that way and excuse me Scott Foley is way cuter.. Okay, not the point. Point is - I know who Shonda Rimes 'is' but um, I was never particularly interested in reading this book. I had no desire to learn more about her. At all. If you had asked me to pick her out of a line up, I couldn't have. I knew nothing about her except that she wrote one of my favourite shows and killed a lot of my favourite characters.
So, don't you love when expectations are blown out of the water?
If you are looking to read this to learn more about Greys, Scandal or whatever, or if you are hoping to be a writer or a TV show writer, you might be disappointed. I saw a few reviews that people thought she was egotistical or bragging, and she wouldn't get to the point, or didn't talk about her shows enough. Here's the thing, though. This book isn't your typical memoir type book, it's not about the person exactly. It's about more than that, in my opinion.
If you think this is the book that will get you off the couch and be a doer, realise your dreams or be your own person - I don't know if it will, it might, but I don't know. I'm not really one to be inspired by books exactly, I might feel inspired in the moment but it doesn't normally last long enough for me to do something. I'm inspired other ways. But it might inspire you.
I got teary so many times with this book. Why, you ask? Did she talk about Lexie, or 'pick me, choose me, love me'? No, she didn't.
Many moons ago, I was a negative unhappy person, surrounded by negative unhappy people, destined to live a negative, unhappy, boring, pointless life. I don't have a pivotal point like Shonda that turned it around for me, and it was a long time before I could look back and see how far I'd come. Sometimes I am still negative, but I am not unhappy.
I didn't have a year of yes. I didn't have a fear to overcome. I didn't have to tell myself to say yes to things because I've never had a problem doing that. I've also never had a problem saying no to things. My problems were allowing myself to be a shitty person surrounded by shitty people, and not accepting me for who I was. That's why I loved this book.
One of my favourite parts:
Shonda has some issues with friends not being who she thought they were, they weren't happy with her success or positive changes, she had basically created fictional versions of these friends - I think perhaps we've all been there. I was a super negative, bitchy, unhappy person and when I decided to change and try and be a better me, I had a friend who hated that. She just could not stand to let me change.It's like when you lose weight, some crappy people will try and sabotage you to feel better about themselves. Our friendship ended badly, and it hurt, but I walked out of it stronger and more sure of myself.
I know this is a bit rambly, but that's what I am talking about. You don't need a year of yes, saying yes to invitations or learning how to say no. You need to learn how to say yes to yourself. Everyone is different. What works for you doesn't work for me. Instead of trying to change to match someone else, instead of discounting our own happiness because we don't want to make someone else feel bad, instead of feeling like you should be doing this or that and if you aren't, you're wrong - instead of all that, be sure of yourself, who you are and what you want.
Whether that is some awesome TV writer, a CEO, the next president of the US, or it might just be some weird Australian living in Kentucky with her husband and 3 cats. If you'd told her 15 years ago that she'd only have 3 friends and would not care at all about pleasing other people, she'd have laughed - actually, she'd probably have cried and asked how she could make it better, how to make people like her, how could she change... I hate that.
I wouldn't change anything, because I am who I am, yadi yadi yada, but I hate that I hated myself because there were people who didn't like me. I tried to be who I thought they wanted me to be, and when they still didn't like me, I hid. It's so much easier to ignore people than it is to try and convince them to like you. Eventually, I learned to like myself, and that is enough. I don't care if you don't like me, and I don't mean that in a mean way. I'd love for you to like me, but not at the expense of myself.
I said Yes to myself, and that is why this book blew me away, not because of good TV shows or how Shonda turned her life around. It's because I felt validated. The book didn't validate me, it just helped me feel validated, if that makes sense. My past, my now and my future. It doesn't have to work for you, it doesn't have to be your happy ending.
Moving right along...
Our April book will be The Love That Split the World by Emily Henry.
From Amazon: Natalie is a teenager on the cusp of growing up in this romantic/sci-fi story of love in a small town. Her adoptive parents believe that preparing to leave for college may be to blame for the recurrence of "visitations" they thought therapy had put an end to. However, when Natalie meets Beau, an attractive boy she's never seen before, she must rush to uncover the truth behind the visitations and her new ability to slide between two realities in order to save him. While the romance and sci-fi aspects will feel reminiscent of many other teen novels, an original plot and likable characters will win over readers. The author weaves in elements of Native American folktales that give the novel impressive depth for a debut effort. Complicated family relationships and complex coming-of-age emotions will offer young adults much to relate to.
Sigh, pretty covers get me every time.
We will be discussing The Love That Split the World on the 3rd of May.
Also, a special announcement. Our May book will be Exposure to a Billionaire by Ann Menke.
From Goodreads: Exposure to a Billionaire is a fictional account based on author Ann Menke's twenty-five-year-plus career as a corporate flight attendant. She takes readers on an adventure spanning the globe and gives them an inside look into the world of flying the rich and famous. Get ready for the heroine, Anna St. James, to take off on a fast-paced journey into the exclusive club of private airplanes, yachts, exotic travel, and greed, while trying to stay true to herself.
The author is giving away free copies of this book to all book club members - in ebook or paperback form, your choice. Just fill out the google form below, let me know if you have any issues.
If you have trouble viewing or submitting this form, you can fill it out in Google Forms.
Exposure to a Billionaire ARC
For the Literary Ladies Book Club May selection
Please note that we won't be chatting about this one until the 7th of June, we just wanted to post about it now to give you all plenty of time to request your copy of the book!
If you read Year of Yes we'd love to hear your thoughts or have you link up with us.