Year of Yes: How to Dance It Out, Stand In the Sun and Be Your Own Person by Shonda RhimesYear of Yes: How to Dance It Out, Stand In the Sun and Be Your Own Person by Shonda Rhimes

Year of Yes: How to Dance It Out, Stand In the Sun and Be Your Own Person

byShonda Rhimes

Paperback | September 13, 2016

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The instant New York Times bestseller from the creator of Grey’s Anatomy and Scandal and executive producer of How to Get Away With Murder shares how saying YES changed her life. “As fun to read as Rhimes’s TV series are to watch” (Los Angeles Times).

She’s the creator and producer of some of the most groundbreaking and audacious shows on television today. Her iconic characters live boldly and speak their minds. So who would suspect that Shonda Rhimes is an introvert? That she hired a publicist so she could avoid public appearances? That she suffered panic attacks before media interviews?

With three children at home and three hit television shows, it was easy for Shonda to say she was simply too busy. But in truth, she was also afraid. And then, over Thanksgiving dinner, her sister muttered something that was both a wake up and a call to arms: You never say yes to anything. Shonda knew she had to embrace the challenge: for one year, she would say YES to everything that scared her.

This poignant, intimate, and hilarious memoir explores Shonda’s life before her Year of Yes—from her nerdy, book-loving childhood to her devotion to creating television characters who reflected the world she saw around her. The book chronicles her life after her Year of Yes had begun—when Shonda forced herself out of the house and onto the stage; when she learned to explore, empower, applaud, and love her truest self. Yes.

“Honest, raw, and revelatory” (The Washington Post), this wildly candid and compulsively readable book reveals how the mega talented Shonda Rhimes finally achieved badassery worthy of a Shondaland character. Best of all, she “can help motivate even the most determined homebody to get out and try something new” (Chicago Tribune).
Shonda Rhimes was born in Chicago, Illinois on January 13, 1970. She received a BA in English literature with creative writing from Dartmouth College and a MFA from the USC School of Cinema-Television. She was awarded the prestigious Gary Rosenberg Writing Fellowship. Rhimes is the creator and executive producer of the television serie...
Title:Year of Yes: How to Dance It Out, Stand In the Sun and Be Your Own PersonFormat:PaperbackProduct dimensions:352 pages, 8.38 × 5.5 × 1 inShipping dimensions:8.38 × 5.5 × 1 inPublished:September 13, 2016Publisher:Simon & SchusterLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:1476777128

ISBN - 13:9781476777122


Rated 2 out of 5 by from A little disappointed The concept of the book was great- saying yes to your fears, putting yourself out there, doing more things with and for your friends and family etc. and how that can be rewarding. Shonda Rhimes was also very relatable and open about her fears which I really liked. However, the book could have been written in half the length because there was a lot of over dramatization and repetition, sometimes in a fun way but it was done so often that it became redundant and even annoying sometimes. I found myself skipping over paragraphs because they seemed to repeat the same idea over and over. There was a lot of wit, humour and entertainment but it was mingled with distasteful, over the top dramatization. I also think that the writing lacked the balance between entertainment and substance that really good autobiographies have. I wouldn't recommend it.
Date published: 2019-02-09
Rated 5 out of 5 by from So Relatable I read this in just a few days! The writing is so enjoyable to read but her issues and stories are so relatable I found myself a lot in the pages. I've been a big fan of all of her shows and had no expectations for the book but she did not disappoint I thoroughly enjoyed it! Good pick for a book club!
Date published: 2019-01-22
Rated 2 out of 5 by from meh I was excited to read this book after all the hype it received, as well as it featuring a promising concept (and coming from an experienced writer)...but I was disappointed. Rhimes' book was less of a story about her year of trying new things and more of a sassy, disjointed monologue about several topics pertaining to her life. I found the writing slightly condescending in moments and almost like she was dumbing it down for the reader. There are some fun anecdotes that are relatable, but not enough to make me gush over the book. Overall, though I was hoping to come away from it as a 'must-read' title, I would not recommend this to anyone as a life-changer. Maybe I need to lower my expectations and stick to her TV shows. #plumreview
Date published: 2018-07-26
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Loved this Book! I picked this book up on a whim, and I'm so glad I did... Shonda writes with a style that completes reflects her personality; it's easy to read, it's funny, it's touching, it's relatable... I loved it, and would totally recommend it to anyone who's feeling a little 'stuck' in their life...
Date published: 2018-07-26
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Very motivational! I loved Shonda's description of stress/emotional eating. Really hit home. She's a very motivational writer and she really captures your attention.
Date published: 2018-07-21
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Loved it Such a great book! I love Shonda for her realness and honesty in this book! Highly recommend you read it.
Date published: 2018-06-06
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Inspiring I really liked this book. Rhimes is a wildly successful woman who shares the same insecurities and worries as everybody else. Her decision to say yes to everything that scared her was terrifying for her, but she did it anyway, because she wanted to grow. I loved it!
Date published: 2018-05-29
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Fantastic MUST READ if you're a fan of any of Shonda's shows. It changed my perspective on how I interact in my own life, and has got me saying Yes to more things as a result! Definitely a positive read.
Date published: 2018-05-08
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Fun Read The author seems very real, very honest, very relatable.
Date published: 2018-04-22
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Great read Fun and easy to read. Being an introvert is very relatable.
Date published: 2018-03-10
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Very insightful This book made me appreciate myself more. Yes, to me. Shonda has opened up a new perspective of life. This book is life changing if you allow it.
Date published: 2018-03-09
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Yes! to this book! I really enjoyed this book. It was funny and really relatable for someone who is an introvert.
Date published: 2018-03-03
Rated 5 out of 5 by from A soft, amazing book I love Shonda Rhimes and her outlook on life is not typical of a "Hollywood-type" attitude. You'll find that you have more in common with her than you thought. Her idea of year of yes is such an amazing one, I'm considering implementing it in my life.
Date published: 2018-02-27
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Say yes to this book I knew of Shonda Rhimes. I'd heard of her, probably seen the few pictures of her here and there, and definitely loved her work. Now, I absolutely love her. I don't like biographies but this book pulled me in from the first page. For those with poor reviews, I recommend you give the audiobook a chance. I don't know if I would've "gotten" her otherwise. Hearing her MAKES this book what it is. An interesting glimpse into the life of one of the most successful TV writers, one making a hugeeee difference when it comes to "diversity" (she calls it normalized) and all of the little things that make her unique. I also think this book will be appreciated a LOT more by fellow introverts. You know, the ones who like people but don't always want to be around them. The ones who have a lot to say but love to stay in room corners, out of the limelight, out of the chaos. The ones who like to think, imagine, dream, do and live. Shonda Rhimes is one of us and she is an F.O.D.
Date published: 2018-02-19
Rated 4 out of 5 by from A great read I received this book as a gift and have since recommended it to several other people to read. She has this powerful way of bringing you into her story....probably why she's the most successful writer on TV right now!
Date published: 2018-01-24
Rated 3 out of 5 by from I liked it I liked this book and I think you would like it more if you watch Grey's Anatomy. I watch Shonda's other shows but she often talks about the characters from Greys. It was light and easy to read.
Date published: 2018-01-19
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Great book! Shonda is the same wonderful storyteller in books as she is on TV! Fantastic writing, inspiring, and funny, too! Shonda leads you through her Year of Yes, but also admits to her struggles - a must have for me in any self-improvement book because I believe it brings the reader along on the journey, rather than isolating them. I loved this book! Will read again :)
Date published: 2018-01-09
Rated 4 out of 5 by from So Good! Shonda is as funny as she is encouraging in this extremely relatable read!
Date published: 2018-01-01
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Amazing Book - I would read it again I loved this book. I found it fairly easy to read. You could hear Shonda's voice in her writing (similar to Grey's Anatomy). Very honest and motivating book.
Date published: 2017-12-29
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Say Yes To This Book funny, insightful, and potentially life changing. this book will give you the inspiration to make changes in your life!
Date published: 2017-12-28
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Amazing Book! It's safe to say Shonda Rhimes can do no wrong! Very interesting book with many important 'take-aways'. Highly recommend for Shondaland fans!
Date published: 2017-12-04
Rated 4 out of 5 by from I love this book! I loved this book so much that I bought one for my daughter too :)
Date published: 2017-11-20
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Simply terrific! Shonda is so witty, inspiring and funny and I loved every word! The inside scoop on what it's like to be the writer, the brain behind Grey's Anatomy was super amazing too!
Date published: 2017-10-18
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Light, inspiring read I enjoyed this thoroughly. Shonda is inspiring, funny, and honest. Great!
Date published: 2017-10-15
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Fun, light read Funny, honest and refreshing
Date published: 2017-09-11
Rated 3 out of 5 by from okay read I didn't find it particularly inspirational.
Date published: 2017-08-18
Rated 5 out of 5 by from AMAZING!! I loved reading this book and learning about the creator of 3 of my favourite shows!
Date published: 2017-04-05
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Great read. This book is fun to read because of all the Hollywood behind-the-scenes type of information .Shonda Rhimes is inspirational and you really feel yourself rooting for her to break out of her shell. However, she does so much bragging about being Shonda Rhimes and how successful she is, I had to subtract a star. It got to be too much by the middle of the book.
Date published: 2017-02-19
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Say Yes to this book! I am a huge fan of Shonda's shows to I jumped all over this book. I actually got the audiobook and it was awesome. Shonda is such an every day person with a huge passion for her work and you can easily relate to her problems and thoughts. This book inspires me to say yes to more things and get me out of my comfort zone more. #plumreview
Date published: 2017-02-16
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Great read for the beginning of 2017! Very real and inspirational. Makes you want to own up and take responsibility and start doing!
Date published: 2017-02-05
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Great book. I enjoyed this book. Shonda writes open and honestly about juggling her incredibly busy professional life and 3 kids. I found her book to be inspirational. Great read.
Date published: 2017-02-03
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Great to Start a New Year With!! I read this book as part of my book club (not sure if I would have picked it up on my own), but I loved it!! She has a great voice in the book, just like talking to a girlfriend!! A must read!
Date published: 2017-01-30
Rated 5 out of 5 by from One of My Faves of 2016! I loved this book because it was relatable, funny and Shonda's voice comes through on every page. She gives a really honest look at the changes she makes in her life. I've also listened to this on audiobook, and hearing her read the book brings it to life even more. #plumreview
Date published: 2017-01-25
Rated 5 out of 5 by from AMAZING I love the way Shonda Rhimes writes, whether for her shows or for this book its just fabulous enjoyable works of art. I love this book and it really was honest and truthful. Brings things into perspective
Date published: 2017-01-22
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Started so strong 3.5 stars Let me start this review by saying that I am a die-hard 'Grey's Anatomy' fan and have seen every show at least twice so when I saw that Shonda Rhimes book was up first for my book club, I was excited to pick it up. At first, this book was everything I was hoping it would be... funny, interesting and very easy to read. Turns out that pre- "Year of Yes" Shonda is very similar to myself and I was able to easily identify with many of the situations she found herself in, and dreading. I loved reading along as she worked her way around her fears and tackled many of them head-on and proved that, even when it seems hard and/or scary, putting yourself out there is worth it in the long run. Where I feel the book fell short and, for me, moved from 5-star territory down to 3.5-star, was after that year was up. Whether it was that the book was too long or the chapters feeling like they belonged in another book, I can't for sure say why my feelings started to change. The voice of Shonda just seemed to go from a relatable person to someone that I found myself not really liking... she came across a little obnoxious and a little to entitled (yes, I know she's the Queen of Tv, but you know what I mean). I'm overjoyed that she found her happy but... I just had a bitter taste in my mouth as I finished reading. Overall, it was definitely a worthwhile read but just fell a little flat at the end and I honestly feel like it could have been so much more.
Date published: 2017-01-19
Rated 5 out of 5 by from best book to start the year right and keep it that way Actually motivational and leaves you on a positive high well after you've finished. Its a fantastic start to the year.
Date published: 2017-01-13
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Shonda Nailed this! I was very surprised how much I enjoyed this book. I could barely put it down, it was exactly what I needed to hear and would recommend this book to anyone! She truly inspired me to start crossing things off and to stop fence sitting ideas and dreams
Date published: 2017-01-05
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Definitely recommend! I'm happily surprised at how much I liked this book! I read through this book at quite a pace because I couldn't put it down! It was well written, funny, and inspiring. Definitely would recommend!
Date published: 2016-12-27
Rated 5 out of 5 by from SHONDA!!! insightful, motivating and important read. I love everything Shonda does, and this was no different
Date published: 2016-12-21
Rated 5 out of 5 by from I loved it What an interesting read! Very engaging style, quite thought-provoking content. I'm so glad I read this, in one sitting no less!
Date published: 2016-12-20
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Shonda Rhimes does it again! I have been a fan of Shonda's writing for well over a decade and I loved her book, reflecting on herself and life as she sees it. Her take on parenting was fascinating! (Definitely not a book suitable for just mothers. Women in all walks of life should be able to find themselves in it.)
Date published: 2016-12-05
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Revolutionary Completely exceeded my expectations, which were already abnormally high. It's not just what she says, it's how she says it. Beautiful epiphanies from an eloquent and engaging narrator equate to a seamless flow of impacting truths. I absolutely loved it and think everyone should add it to their library.
Date published: 2016-12-01
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Wow! I bought this and read it in about 2 days. I just could not put it down. Shonda Rhimes tackles issues that are relevant to a lot of women today and inspires us to not be afraid of taking chances and tackling projects that seem unachievable.
Date published: 2016-11-28
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Absolute Magic This book was everything I wanted. Shonda Rhimes has proved to me that her list of endless talents continues. I read this in two days and it changed how I lived my life.
Date published: 2016-11-13

Read from the Book

Year of Yes 1 NO “You never say yes to anything.” Six startling words. That’s the beginning. That’s the origin of it all. My sister Delorse said six startling words and changed everything. She said six words and now, as I write this, I have become a different person. “You never say yes to anything.” She didn’t even say the six startling words. She muttered them, really. Her lips barely moving, her eyes fixed intently on the large knife in her hands as she was dicing vegetables at a furious pace, trying to beat the clock. yesyesyes It’s November 28, 2013. Thanksgiving Day morning. So obviously, the stakes are high. Thanksgiving and Christmas have always been my mother’s domain. She has ruled our family holidays with flawless perfection. Food always delicious, flowers always fresh, colors coordinated. Everything perfect. Last year, my mother announced that she was tired of doing all the work. Yes, she made it look effortless—that did not mean it was effortless. So, still reigning supreme, my mother declared she was abdicating her throne. Now, this morning, is Delorse’s first time stepping up to wear the crown. This has made my sister intense and dangerous. She doesn’t even bother glancing up at me when she mutters the words. There is no time. Hungry family and friends will bear down on us in less than three hours. We have not even reached the turkey-basting segment of the cooking process. So unless my sister can kill me, cook me and serve me with stuffing, gravy and cranberry sauce, I am not getting her full attention right now. “You never say yes to anything.” Delorse is the eldest child in our family. I am the youngest. Twelve years separate us; that age gap is filled by our brothers and sisters—Elnora, James, Tony and Sandie. With so many siblings between us, growing up, it was easy to feel as though the two of us existed in the same solar system but never visited each other’s planets. After all, Delorse was heading off to college as I was entering kindergarten. I have vague childhood memories of her—Delorse cornrowing my hair way too tightly, giving me a braid headache; Delorse teaching my older brothers and sisters how to do a brand-new dance called The Bump; Delorse walking down the aisle at her wedding, my sister Sandie and me behind her holding up the train of her gown, our father at her side. As a child, she was the role model of the kind of woman I was supposed to grow up to be. As an adult, she’s one of my best friends. Most of the important memories of my grown-up life include her. So I suppose it is fitting that she is here now, muttering these words at me. It is fitting that right now she’s the one both telling me who I am supposed to grow up to be and standing at the center of what will become one of the most important memories of my life. And this moment is important. She doesn’t know it. I don’t know it. Not right now. Right now this moment doesn’t feel important at all. Right now, this feels like Thanksgiving morning and she’s tired. She got up before dawn to call and remind me to take the twenty-one-pound turkey out of the refrigerator to settle. Then she drove the four blocks from her house to mine in order to do all the cooking for our big family dinner. It’s not quite eleven a.m. but she’s already been at it for hours. Chopping, stirring, seasoning. She’s working really hard. And I have been watching her. It’s not as bad as it sounds. I’m not doing nothing. I’m not useless. I’ve been handing her things when she asks. Also, I have my three-month-old daughter strapped to my chest in a baby sling and my one-and-a-half-year-old daughter on my hip. I’ve combed my eleven-year-old’s hair, turned off the TV show she was watching and forced a book into the child’s hands. And we’re talking. My sister and I. We’re talking. Catching up on all the things we have missed since, well . . . yesterday or maybe the day before. Okay. Fine. I’m talking. I’m talking. She’s cooking. I’m talking and talking and talking. I have a lot to tell her. I’m listing for her all of the invitations that I’ve received in the last week or so. Someone wants me to speak at this conference and someone invited me to go to that fancy party and I’ve been asked to travel to such-and-such country to meet that king or to be on a certain talk show. I list ten or eleven invitations I received. I tell her about all of them in detail. I will admit to you right now that I toss in a few extra juicy bits, spin a few tales, lay some track. I’m purposely boasting a little bit—I am trying to get a reaction out of my big sister. I want her to be impressed. I want her to think I’m cool. Look, I was raised in a great family. My parents and siblings have many wonderful qualities. They are universally pretty and smart. And like I said, they all look like fetuses. But the members of my immediate family all share one hugely disgusting criminal flaw. They do not give a crap about my job. At all. None of ’em. Not a one. They are frankly disturbed that anyone would be impressed by me. For any reason. People behaving toward me as though I might be vaguely interesting bewilders them deeply. They stare at one another, baffled, whenever someone treats me as anything other than what they know me to be—their deeply dorky, overly verbal, baby sister. Hollywood is a bizarre place. It’s easy to lose touch with reality here. But nothing keeps a person grounded like a host of siblings who, when someone requests your autograph, ask in a truly horrified tone, “Her? Shonda’s autograph? Are you sure? Shonda? No wait, really, Shonda? Shonda RHIMES? Why?” It’s super rude. And yet . . . think of how many bloated egos would be saved if everyone had five older brothers and sisters. They love me. A lot. But they are not gonna stand for any celebrity VIP crap from the kid in Coke-bottle glasses they all saw throw up alphabet soup all over the back porch and then slip face-first in the vomit chunks. Which is why right now I’m verbally tap-dancing around the room, shaking it like I’m competing for a mirror-ball trophy. I’m trying to get my sister to show any sign of being impressed, a glimmer that she might think I’m remotely cool. Trying to get a reaction from these people I’m related to, well, it has almost become a game for me. A game I believe that one day I will win. But not today. My sister doesn’t even bother to blink in my direction. Instead, impatient, possibly tired and likely sick of the sound of my voice going on and on about my list of fancy invitations, she cuts me off. “Are you going to do any of these things?” I pause. A little taken aback. “Huh?” That’s what I say. “Huh?” “These events. These parties, conferences, talk shows. Did you say yes to any of them?” I stand there for a moment. Silent. Confused. What is she talking about? Say yes? “Well. No, I mean . . . no,” I stammer, “I can’t say . . . obviously I said no. I mean, I’m busy.” Delorse keeps her head down. Keeps chopping. Later, when I think about it, I will realize she was probably not even listening to me. She was probably thinking about whether or not she had enough cheddar grated for the mac and cheese she had to make next. Or deciding how many pies to bake. Or wondering how she was going to get out of cooking Thanksgiving dinner next year. But in the moment, I don’t get that. In the moment, my sister keeping her head down? It MEANS something. In the moment, my sister keeping her head down feels purposeful. Deep. Challenging. Rude. I have to defend myself. How do I defend myself? What do I— At that exact moment (and this is so fortuitous I decide the universe loves me), Beckett, the sunny three-month-old baby strapped to my chest, decides to spit up a geyser of milk that runs down the front of my shirt in a creepy warm waterfall. On my hip, my prudish one-and-a-half-year-old, the moon to Beckett’s sun, wrinkles her nose. “I smell something, honey,” she tells me. Emerson calls everyone “honey.” As I nod at her and dab at the smelly hot milk stain, I pause. Take in the mess in my arms. And I have my defense. “Beckett! Emerson! I have babies!! And Harper! I have a tween! Tweens are delicate flowers! I can’t just go places and do things!!! I have children to take care of!” I holler this across the counter in my sister’s general direction. Wait. Speaking of taking care of stuff . . . I also have to take care of a little something called Thursday nights. Ha! I do a victory shimmy across the kitchen and point at her. Gloating. “I also have a job! Two jobs! Grey’s Anatomy AND Scandal! Three children and two jobs! I’m . . . busy! I am a mother! I’m a writer! I run shows!” Bam! I feel totally triumphant. I’m a mother. A mother, damn it. I have children. THREE children. And I’m running two television shows at one time. I have more than six hundred crew members depending on me for work. I’m a mother who works. I’m a working mother. Like . . . Beyoncé. Yes. Exactly like Beyoncé. I am bringing home the bacon AND frying it up in the pan. It’s not an excuse. It’s a fact. No one can argue with that. No one can argue with Beyoncé. But I forgot that this is Delorse. Delorse can argue with anyone. Delorse puts down her knife. She actually stops cooking and puts down her knife. Then she raises her head to look up at me. My sister, the biggest winner in our family’s genetic Powerball, is in her fifties. Late fifties. Her sons are grown men with degrees and careers. She has grandchildren. And yet I am often asked if my fifty-seven-year-old sister is my child. The horror of it is sometimes too much. So when she raises her head to look at me, she looks more like a saucy fourteen-year-old than she does my eldest sibling. Her saucy-fourteen-year-old face eyes me. “Shonda.” That’s all she says. But it’s said with such confidence . . . So I blurt out— “A single mother.” Now, that is shameless. You and I both know it. Because while the technical definition of “single mother” fits me—I am a mother, I am single—its cultural and colloquial meaning does not. Trying to appropriate that term as if I am a struggling mom doing my best to put food on the table makes me an ass. I know it. You know it. And unfortunately? Delorse also knows it. I need to put an end to the conversation. I raise an eyebrow and make my bossy face. The one I make at the office when I need everyone to stop arguing with me. My sister does not give a crap about my bossy face. But she picks up her knife again, goes back to chopping. “Wash the celery,” she tells me. So I wash celery. Somehow the smell of fresh celery, the motion of the washing, Emerson’s joy as she splashes the water over the counter, it all lulls me into a false sense of security. Which is why I am not prepared. I turn. Hand her the wet, clean celery. And I’m surprised when, still chopping, Delorse begins to speak. “You are a single mother but you are not a single mother. I live four blocks away. Sandie lives four blocks away. Your parents live forty minutes away and would love to stay with the kids. You have literally the best nanny in the world. You have three amazing best friends who would step in and help at any time. You are surrounded by family and friends who love you, people who want you to be happy. You are your own boss—your job is only as busy as you make it. But you never do anything but work. You never have any fun. You used to have so much fun. Now, all of these amazing opportunities are coming your way—once-in-a-lifetime opportunities—and you aren’t taking advantage of any of them. Why?” I shift, uncomfortable. For some reason, I do not like this. I don’t like anything about this conversation at all. My life is fine. My life is great. I mean, look around! Look! I’m . . . happy. Ish. I’m happyish. Kind of. Mind your own business, Delorse. You are annoying, Delorse. People aren’t supposed to Benjamin Button so your face is clearly the result of a pact with Satan, Delorse! You know what, Delorse? You smell like poop. But I don’t say any of that. Instead I stand there for a long time. Watching her chop. And finally, I answer. Putting just the right amount of casual arrogance in my voice. “Whatever.” And then I turn away, hoping to indicate that the conversation is over. I head over to the sitting area, where I gently settle an already napping Beckett into the bassinet. I place Emerson on the changing table for a fresh diaper. In a moment, I’ll go upstairs and try to find a spit-up-free shirt to wear for dinner. The fresh diaper is on. I put Emerson on my hip, lay her head on my shoulder, and we swing back around to face my sister as I head for the stairs. That’s when she says it. The six words. Mutters them. Almost under her breath. As she finishes chopping the onions. Six startling words. “You never say yes to anything.” For a single beat, time stops. Becomes a clear, frozen moment I’ll never forget. One of the paintings that will never be taken from my mental wall. My sister, in a brown hoodie, her hair in a neat knot at the nape of her neck, standing there with that knife in her hand, head down, the little pile of white onion pieces on the cutting board before her. She tosses the words out there. “You never say yes to anything.” Tosses the words out there like a grenade. You never say yes to anything. Then my sister slides the onions over and begins chopping the celery. I head upstairs to change my shirt. Family and friends arrive. The turkey cooks perfectly. Dinner is delicious. The grenade lies there in the middle of everything. Quiet. Camouflaged. I don’t think about it. You never say yes to anything. Thanksgiving Day comes and goes.

Editorial Reviews

“You’ll want to standup and cheer when she takes control, remakes her life, and learns to loveherself.”