Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Review: "My Year With Eleanor" by Noelle Hancock

Pop culture blogger Noelle Hancock finds herself at a loose end after being laid off from her job. Used to spending hours flipping between one popular website after another in search of the latest and greatest gossip, Noelle suddenly finds her days stretching out endlessly in front of her. When her therapist encourages her to do more things that scare her in order to connect with the person that she used to be, a project is born. Inspired by Eleanor Roosevelt's quote "Do One Thing Every Day That Scares You" Noelle vows to spend a year doing just that- facing her fears, one day at a time.

I love the concept of My Year With Eleanor. Who among us does not have a laundry list of fears, ranging from the small ones, like spiders or heights, to the larger ones such as rejection and never finding someone special to spend your life with? Spending a year facing those fears that hold us back on a daily basis can be nothing less than helpful when it comes to being the best version of ourselves that we can be. Noelle does just that. Although not every fear that she faces is documented, we do read about her time spent at trapeze school, swimming with the sharks, and climbing Mount Everest, as well as her time spent singing karaoke and working in a funeral home. The chapters about Noelle's climb up Mount Everest were particularly interesting as she overcomes many different fears in an unforgiving environment but manages to emerge triumphant.

We learn a lot about Eleanor Roosevelt's life while Noelle is facing her own fears. I'll admit that I knew next to nothing about Eleanor before reading this book, but I found her life and her attitude about life absolutely fascinating. The information that I learned about her was an unexpected bonus, as Noelle doesn't allow the historical matter to become dry or uninteresting, and instead brings the woman's legacy to life.

A little disappointingly I didn't find myself inspired by this book to go out and face my own fears one day at a time, but I did find Noelle's personal journey to be an interesting one, and I enjoyed learning more about an historical figure that I had little previous knowledge of. Well-written and concise, My Year With Eleanor will appeal to many memoir fans. Thank-you to TLC Book Tours for inviting me along on this tour.

Rating: 4 stars out of 5
Challenges: 2011 100+ Reading Challenge


  1. I'm glad you enjoyed Noelle's journey, even if it didn't inspire you to go on one of your own.

    Thanks for being a part of the tour.

  2. I'm interested that it didn't inspire you to face some of your fears. A couple of the fears you mentioned resonated with me (spiders for one!), and I was reminded that one of my goals is to not be afraid of spiders. Some days I succeed, some days I fail. I wonder how this book might inspire me!