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Wednesday, July 13, 2011

My Year with Eleanor...Review

About the book:
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."
—Eleanor Roosevelt

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.

While the book sounded fascinating, my first reaction was that it would be an excuse to capitalize on the whole, I'm-going-to-do-something-related-to-someone-famous-and-then-write-a-book-about it thing.  I had no idea who Noelle Hancock was when I started reading this book.  I don't follow celebrity/gossip blogs or magazines.  I don't read US Magazine in print or online.  I don't even watch television, so I don't always recognize celebrities anyway. 

I was so happy to find this to be an engaging and inspiring memoir.  Noelle is honest in admitting her fears and her faults.  So much of what she writes, I can relate to and understand.  I was once confident, but often I now find myself timid and unable to believe in my abilities.

Sitting in a coffee shop one day, Noelle found herself inspired by the Eleanor Roosevelt quote, "Do one thing every day that scares you".  Realizing that she'd let herself become crippled by anxiety and fears, Noelle took this to heart and began her  "Year of Fear".  She went skydiving and shark diving.  She climbed Mount Kilimanjaro, renegotiated interest rates, took trapeze lessons and interviewed old boyfriends about why they broke up with her.

Along the way, she read books about and by Eleanor Roosevelt and learned about the insecurities that Eleanor herself overcame. Many of Eleanor's own thoughts and experiences are included alongside Noelle's.

What I loved is that the book isn't simply an account of Noelle's adventures, but an intelligent, perceptive book about looking at one's self and discovering hidden strengths and courage. Noelle's narration is, at times, hysterically funny yet very insightful and often hit very close to home.

While I could have done without the profanity and occasional vulgarity, this is still an eloquent and inspiring account of one woman's year of discovery.

Thanks to Trish at TLC Book Tours for the opportunity to review this book.  You can learn more about Noelle Hancock here.  You can purchase your own copy here.  You can see other reviews and tour stops here.

Monday, July 11: Book Reviews by Molly
Tuesday, July 12: Bibliosue
Wednesday, July 13: 2 Kids and Tired Book Reviews
Thursday, July 14: Melody & Words
Tuesday, July 19: Scandalous Women
Wednesday, July 20: Unabridged Chick
Monday, July 25: One Book Shy
Tuesday, August 2: “That’s Swell!”
Wednesday, August 3: The Book Chick
Thursday, August 4: Cozy Little House
Wednesday, August 10: Kahakai Kitchen


Read 7/11

* * * *
4/5 Stars


  1. This looks like a great book for summer! Count me in! I'm also a follower.


  2. I'm a fan of stunt memoirs, so this looks like my kind of book! Thanks for the giveaway. kathy(at)bermudaonion.net

  3. WoW! You and I sound a bit alike, as I've no idea who she is either, and this all certainly hits too close to home in my self-doubt clouds!

    I'd love to win "My Year With Eleanor"!

    And yes, I'm a follower, LOL

    ruthcox at abitosunshine dot net

  4. I am a huge fan of Eleanor Roosevelt and have several favorite quotes. This is a book for me, I'd love to win a copy.

    I already have my email visible in my profile, that bothers me when I try to contact a commentor.

    I am a longtime follower on google reader but didn't realize I wasn't a GFC follower and I corrected that!


  5. At this time in my life this book would be an ideal read . . . knowing who you are and facing risks.

  6. This looks like a book that will have lots of thought provoking moments.

  7. This sounds like an interesting read. Thanks for the giveaway!

    onlychocolate4me at gmail dot com

  8. Hi: Good giveaway. I like to read this book I know will be a good read.

  9. Please enter me in the draw!

    I'm following you on GFC (Darlene), and my email address is darlenesbooknook at gmail dot com. I don't think my email address is hidden in my profile.

    Extra for tweeting:


    Thanks for the giveaway!

  10. Hi Darlene,
    Just dropped in from twitter and am now following here. Great blog and sounds like a great book. Also fun to see we share the same faith. Keep up the great work!
    Dana (LetsBookIt)

  11. I normally read only middle grade fiction, but my daughter is named Eleanor (after Roosevelt and of Aquitaine!) so I would love to read this.
    Msyingling (at) yahoo (dot) com

  12. Excellent review:love a book that draws you in when you didn't think you'd like it! Would enjoy a copy of this book, as I'm a fan of Eleanor Roosevelt's numerous quotes.
    Best wishes and thanks for a chance to win this wonderful giveaway!

  13. Longtime follower in GFC!
    Best wishes and thanks for a chance to win this wonderful giveaway!

  14. I would love to read this book since I love Eleanor quotes and actually the woman hersef.

    I want to follow you on GFC. I don't know where to sign up.

    I tweeted under Carolee888:

    http://t.co/iWG5BHOGiveaway of "My Year with Eleanor'

  15. last year I found an old history book on Eleanor Roosevelt and I enjoyed every aspect of her life. This book you've reviewed sounds brilliant...right up my alley. I'd love to read someone's take on Mrs Roosevelt's strong and positive life as a role model. Thanks for the review :)


  16. I agree with you, I hate jumping through hoops to enter a contest. So please enter me.

    booksnobsblog at gmail dot com

    Oh and I am having a contest that ends 7/31 for an excellent book called Ghellow Road. Stop by and enter.

  17. This book seems like one I would love to read!

    colesammom (at) gmail (dot) com

  18. I'm so glad this turned out to be better than you expected! Thanks for being on the tour.

  19. I'm so glad you liked this book! I too read the book for TLC (although my review won't be up for another week) and found myself laughing out loud and getting teary eyed at many different parts of the book. It was a great read!

  20. This sounds like a great book for me to read out in the backyard this summer! I am particular interested in women authors, I also like Margaret Atwood's book "Lady Oracle".

    I found you through a linky on "The Thrifty Things" blog, it's my first time on your website!


  21. I'm a huge fan of the Roosevelts! Thanks for the giveaway.

    avroradavidovna at gmail dot com