AUTHOR: Noelle Hancock
INFO: Hardcover, Memoir, 290 pages
PUBLISHED: Harper Collins, 2011
SOURCE: Received from Publisher for Review and Book Tour
FROM GOODREADS: After losing her high-octane job as an entertainment blogger, Noelle Hancock was lost. About to turn twenty-nine, she'd spent her career writing about celebrities' lives and had forgotten how to live her own. Unemployed and full of self-doubt, she had no idea what she wanted out of life. She feared change—in fact, she feared almost everything. Once confident and ambitious, she had become crippled by anxiety, lacking the courage required even to attend a dinner party—until inspiration struck one day in the form of a quote on a chalkboard in a coffee shop:
"Do one thing every day that scares you."
Painfully timid as a child, Eleanor Roosevelt dedicated herself to facing her fears, a commitment that shaped the rest of her life. With Eleanor as her guide, Noelle spends the months leading up to her thirtieth birthday pursuing a "Year of Fear." From shark diving to fighter pilot lessons, from tap dancing and stand-up comedy to confronting old boyfriends, her hilarious and harrowing adventures teach her about who she is, and what she can become—lessons she makes vital for all of us.
MY TAKE: This was a tough book for me to rate and review. It was one that I enjoyed greatly at times and then became mildly irritated with at certain points.
I agreed to be on the tour because the "memoir" was promoted as being akin to Julie Powell's "Julie and Julia" which I adored. The fact that I have always admired the amazing and inspirational Eleanor Roosevelt really sealed my decision to read this book.
My Year With Eleanor does have that certain something that made Julie Powell's story so engrossing. Noelle Hancock writes with a light touch that makes you keep turning the pages; even if only to find out what absurd or mind-blowing thing she comes up with to try next. I don't know that this year long escapade was quite what Mrs. Roosevelt had in mind, but we should all take inspiration where we find it. The author did a nice job of keeping Eleanor in the limelight alongside her. I found that I learned many things about the great lady that I didn't know.
There were several laugh out loud moments during the story which is always a plus for me. This is not to say there aren't some serious issues also being touched upon as she is trying to get her footing on a path that isn't clearly defined in places. Her visits and dialogue with her psychiatrist were thought-provoking and funny at times. I liked that her close friends played a large role in her adventures and that she didn't come across as the solo, sword-wielding Amazon who could conquer everything in her path by herself.
The age difference between myself and the author as well as the places we are in our lives may be a factor in some of the irritation that I mentioned above. I can't quite relate with the need to "find oneself" at almost thirty years of age. In my circle that task had mostly been accomplished seven to ten years prior and we were working on polishing what we'd become. The notion of spending a year running around doing impractical and improbable things still doesn't fly with me or sit well, especially when I consider the financial aspect.
That being said, the book was enjoyable for me as a light women's fiction type read even though it is marketed as a memoir. I think readers of a closer age or with similar life experiences as the writer will be really able to relate to the tale. I also encourage those who are interested to read the actual books from Eleanor Roosevelt herself. Noelle's book has reminded me how great a lady she was and how much she had to offer us.
~~~~~ Disclaimer: All opinions expressed on this blog are 100% my own. I do not receive monetary compensation for my reviews but do utilize affiliate links. I may receive books in order to facilitate a review, but this does not guarantee a good review - only a completely honest one. Each review post denotes how I obtained the book.