Book Review: Year of Yes

My semester finally ended. I only posted once since the election to say I made two months straight of running at least three times. I have also made it a third month. Boom. I’ll pick back up when we return from holiday travels.

I digress…

I haven’t posted much because 2016 turned into a dumpster fire last month and I have been in a mood, to say the least. While I have found ways to channel my frustration and anger into working with nonprofits and civic events, there is still plenty of sadness in my heart. I’m sure you get it.

I bought Year of Yes by Shonda Rhimes over the summer. I didn’t get a chance to start reading it until the semester ended. While I was disappointed to wait so long to read it, I now realize I am reading it at exactly the right time.


First, this quote happened:

“Dreams are lovely. But they are just dreams. Fleeting, ephemeral. Pretty. But dreams do not come true just because you dream them. It’s hard work that makes things happen. It’s hard work that creates change.”

It’s hard work that creates change. That’s where we are now. It is time to put in the work. This means acknowledging the realities we face. This also means acknowledging privilege we may have and using it to advocate with others (Shonda says this better near the end of the post).

I have been so incredibly flustered with what has happened the past month. I am not just talking about Voldemort being elected. I’m talking about how hate-filled racist rhetoric is rampant. I’m talking about a variety of people not feeling safe. The biggest shock for me was how unsurprised people who are constantly feeling microaggressions were not floored by the election results. Sad? Yep. Scared? I’m sure. Surprised? No.

The Saturday after the election Dave Chappelle was on SNL, where a skit perfectly depicted this. A bunch of white liberals sat shocked that the US could elect Trump and two black men were not surprised at all (you can watch it here).


After the election I started to look for more ways to get involved, both at a university and civic level. I joined Alliance, went to Allies training, and volunteered with the Bobcat Pride Scholarship Fund at school. I went to a women’s event to get more involved locally and am headed to the capital tomorrow.

This section of Shonda’s commencement speech at Dartmouth really spoke to me:


Aaaaaaand this will be my life goal for 2017 and the years that follow: don’t be an asshole.

We need to look beyond ourselves and help others. This can look a billion different ways. But the point remains the same: reach out. How can you take your talents and use them to advocate with causes you believe in? Figure that out, then make it happen.

This is my first book review. I am not giving it stars or a grade. It will be a simple scale: read it or don’t read it.

Year of Yes: Read it.


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