Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Book Reviews: 'Not That Kind of Girl' by Lena Dunham and 'Year of Yes' by Shonda Rhimes

1. Not That Kind of Girl, by Lena Dunham: I have recently started watching Dunham's HBO series Girls and when I learned that a lot of the series' storylines are based off of her real-life experiences, I was intrigued, because a lot of them are relatable (I'm playing fast and loose with the term relatable and you'll totally understand what I mean if you've seen Girls.) Anyway, so when I found out Dunham wrote a book of essays, I was even more intrigued and I quickly bought it. Dunham is one of those writers that writes with such honesty, such integrity and such full disclosure. That's definitely what Not that Kind of Girl brings. Her stories and essays were so beautifully written and relatable that I felt it deeply. I recently saw a list of books on Buzzfeed that people submitted to help with anxiety, and I think this book definitely falls into that category (even though it wasn't on that list). Dunham herself suffers from anxiety and OCD and her stories about them are written in a way that would make people who suffer with the same issues feel not alone. I definitely recommend Not That Kind of Girl to anyone who is feeling depressed or alone, or just in the mood for stories that are heartfelt, honest and often hilarious. 5/5 stars.

2. Year of Yes, by Shonda Rhimes: I knew I wanted to read this book from the moment Rhimes began promoting it. I had only known her to be the mastermind behind Grey's Anatomy, Private Practice, Scandal and How to Get Away with Murder and not much else. Well, my friends, after reading Year of Yes I not only view Shonda Rhimes in a whole new light, but myself. The book is basically half memoir, half self-help in the sense that Rhimes not only tells her story, but tells how she got over a lot of her issues and how others can too. Crippled with social anxiety, stage fright and highly introverted, Rhimes used her nature to say no to the things that scared her, but after her sister pointed out that she never says yes to anything, Rhimes decided that for an entire year, she would say yes to all the things that scared her. She not only did it, but she found so much success with it that she didn't just stop after the year was up; it's still going on. Being an introvert myself, I took a lot of Rhimes' advice to heart, for example, how to take compliments from people, which until I read about her struggles with it in Year of Yes, I didn't even realize I had the same problem. "Thank you, smile, shut up." Rhimes also talks about how Cristina Yang, one of the original Grey's Anatomy characters portrayed by Sandra Oh, was a creation of hers through which she vicariously expressed all the things she couldn't express herself. It's just a really hilarious and uplifting memoir, and I highly recommend it. 5/5 stars.

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