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.Read more...
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.
Publishers Weekly® Reviews
- Reviewed in: Publishers Weekly, page .
- Review Date: 2011-05-09
- Reviewer: Staff
In this lighthearted and often funny memoir, Hancock, who was an entertainment writer at high-profile publications and Web sites like the New York Observer, US Weekly, and PageSix.com, tells of getting laid off shortly before her 29th birthday, suddenly finding herself anxious and aimless: "For the first time in my life, I had no idea what to do." Inspiration came in the form of a framed Eleanor Roosevelt quote hanging on the wall of a cafe: "Do one thing every day that scares you." Hancock makes that her mantra: she debuts at Trapeze School New York and follows up with tap-dancing, shark diving, and flying a plane at civilian mock air-combat school, and, perhaps most terrifying, performing standup comedy. In between adventures, Hancock visits with her funny, savvy therapist, Dr. Bob, and gets closer to her spiritual mentor via extensive reading about and by Eleanor. She brings her experiences to vivid life and, through her interest in and compassion for Eleanor, is kinder to herself; there is plenty to entertain and inspire. (July)
Facing fears with the First Lady
“Do one thing every day that scares you.” Most people reading that quote by Eleanor Roosevelt, if at all disenchanted with themselves for leading less than robust lives, would feel a momentary rekindling of their “inner warrior” attitude. They would take it as a gentle reminder and might silently vow to wrest more out of life, to challenge themselves more frequently, to be a little braver and bolder. But when Noelle Hancock sees it written on a chalkboard in a coffee shop, she adopts it as her mantra—literally! My Year With Eleanor is a delightful memoir of her journey out of fear and anxiety with the former “First Lady of the World” as her imitable guide.
At the book’s opening, Hancock has been seeing a therapist, Dr. Bob, for about a year (a decision that came about, she writes, “when I realized I knew more about Jennifer Aniston than I did about myself”); her lucrative, but less-than-soul-fulfilling job as a blogger for a celebrity-themed website has just gone kaput; and her next birthday looms ahead. When she discusses the Roosevelt quote with Dr. Bob, he says, “This could be a good project for you. You should run with this,” and ultimately, she does.
Delving further into Eleanor Roosevelt’s writings, she is moved and inspired by Eleanor’s life story: her early timidity, her heartbreaks and sorrows, and her eventual triumph over immobilizing insecurity. Buoyed by Eleanor’s example, on her 29th birthday, Hancock begins a year-long struggle to “do one thing each day” that scares her before she turns 30. With no paying job, and her parents still wishing she’d go to law school, she kicks off the project by taking a trapeze class, and after much heart-pounding trepidation, she finally hops from the elevated platform and takes her first “exhilarating and dreadful” plunge toward self-confidence.
With unwavering and witty self-analysis (and Eleanor’s “mentoring”), Hancock embarks on an uncomfortable but never-a-dull-moment voyage of self-discovery and daring. Sometimes her challenges are more physical—sky diving, hiking Kilimanjaro and taking fighter pilot lessons—while some are fear-provoking on other levels—like singing karaoke, doing stand-up comedy or volunteering in a cancer ward. But whether she is confronting terrifying sharks in a diving cage or her tangled feelings about her boyfriend Nick, she demonstrates how thrilling it can be to face your fears. I double-dare you to read this book!