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My Year with Eleanor: A Memoir

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“I honestly loved this book.” —Jim Norton, New York Times bestselling author of I Hate Your Guts“Eleanor taught Noelle that, first and foremost, Courage Takes Practice. Her yearlong quest to face her terrors, great and small, is moving, enriching, and hilarious—we readers are lucky to be along for the ride.” —Julie Powell, bestselling author of Julie & JuliaIn the tradition “I honestly loved this book.” —Jim Norton, New York Times bestselling author of I Hate Your Guts“Eleanor taught Noelle that, first and foremost, Courage Takes Practice. Her yearlong quest to face her terrors, great and small, is moving, enriching, and hilarious—we readers are lucky to be along for the ride.” —Julie Powell, bestselling author of Julie & JuliaIn the tradition of My Year of Living Biblically and Eat Pray Love comes My Year with Eleanor, Noelle Hancock’s hilarious tale of her decision to heed the advice of First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt and do one thing a day that scares her in the year before her 30th birthday. Fans of Sloane Crosley and Chelsea Handler will absolutely adore Hancock’s charming and outrageous chronicle of her courageous endeavor and delight in her poignant and inspiring personal growth.


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“I honestly loved this book.” —Jim Norton, New York Times bestselling author of I Hate Your Guts“Eleanor taught Noelle that, first and foremost, Courage Takes Practice. Her yearlong quest to face her terrors, great and small, is moving, enriching, and hilarious—we readers are lucky to be along for the ride.” —Julie Powell, bestselling author of Julie & JuliaIn the tradition “I honestly loved this book.” —Jim Norton, New York Times bestselling author of I Hate Your Guts“Eleanor taught Noelle that, first and foremost, Courage Takes Practice. Her yearlong quest to face her terrors, great and small, is moving, enriching, and hilarious—we readers are lucky to be along for the ride.” —Julie Powell, bestselling author of Julie & JuliaIn the tradition of My Year of Living Biblically and Eat Pray Love comes My Year with Eleanor, Noelle Hancock’s hilarious tale of her decision to heed the advice of First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt and do one thing a day that scares her in the year before her 30th birthday. Fans of Sloane Crosley and Chelsea Handler will absolutely adore Hancock’s charming and outrageous chronicle of her courageous endeavor and delight in her poignant and inspiring personal growth.

30 review for My Year with Eleanor: A Memoir

  1. 5 out of 5

    Diane

    Sometimes the right book comes along at just the right time in our lives. This turned out to be such a book for me. (Which is surprising because I almost abandoned it. I'm glad I stuck it out to the end.) "My Year with Eleanor" is a memoir of a young woman who decides to face her fears. Noelle Hancock was inspired by an Eleanor Roosevelt quote: "Do one thing every day that scares you." Noelle was 29 and had just been laid off from her media job in New York City. She had no idea what to do next an Sometimes the right book comes along at just the right time in our lives. This turned out to be such a book for me. (Which is surprising because I almost abandoned it. I'm glad I stuck it out to the end.) "My Year with Eleanor" is a memoir of a young woman who decides to face her fears. Noelle Hancock was inspired by an Eleanor Roosevelt quote: "Do one thing every day that scares you." Noelle was 29 and had just been laid off from her media job in New York City. She had no idea what to do next and realized she had slowly been insulating herself from the world, allowing her anxiety to control her life. She avoided her friends and rarely went out, always blaming her long work hours. But really, she was filled with fear and found it easier to stay in her apartment instead of socializing or trying new things. She started seeing a therapist, Dr. Bob, who explained how damaging a life of avoidance and isolation could be. "Anxiety can foster depression, impair your physical health, damage your relationships, and reduce your effectiveness in the world ... But if you allow yourself to fully experience fear, eventually you'll learn how to face it without being overwhelmed by it." Noelle realized that her anxiety was closely tied with her habit of perfectionism, which is the fear of making mistakes. "There are two sides to perfectionism. At its best, it's motivating and inspires you to set high goals for yourself. But it can also get out of control. Perfectionists can turn into workaholics because their efforts never feel good enough. They engage in all-or-nothing thinking about their performance -- if it isn't perfect, it's horrible. They give up easily. They procrastinate on goals, waiting for inspiration to strike or the timing to feel right. They avoid social situations if they aren't feeling 'on.' They organize their lives around avoiding mistakes and end up missing wonderful opportunities." Noelle decided to spend a year focusing on facing her fears. Some were smaller ones, such as being afraid to complain about a bad restaurant meal, or being afraid to leave the house without wearing makeup. Others were bigger, like a fear of heights, public speaking and of death. To combat her fear of heights, Noelle first took a trapeze lesson, and then went skydiving. She also addressed her fear of flying by taking several plane trips and she even had a lesson with a fighter pilot. She also got talked into going cage diving with sharks, to spending quiet time at a religious retreat, to interviewing her ex-boyfriends about their relationship, and to doing karaoke. I liked the chapter when she focused on her fear of public speaking by entering a stand-up comedy contest, and she did really well! I also appreciated her section on death, when she spent a week volunteering at a funeral home, and she became more at peace with the idea of dying: "Fear of death was the fear of being nothing. The fear of being so easily erased, your presence on earth replaced by someone else. Eventually, everyone who remembered you would die and you would be forgotten. It would be as if you were never there at all ... Death was the biggest uncertainty in life. You never knew when it would come for you. When it did, you were stripped of everything familiar. You couldn't take anything with you. You had to go alone. All fears were a process of letting go, I realized, and death was the ultimate release. You accepted that the world would go on without you." Throughout these experiences, Noelle was also practicing mindfulness, trying to focus her mind on being in the present instead of worrying about the past or the future. That mindset was especially helpful when she decided to hike Mount Kilimanjaro. It wasn't clear exactly which fear she was conquering by climbing the highest mountain in Africa, but it made for a good travelogue. I love outdoor adventures and was happy the book closed with such an experience. (Update: I remembered that Noelle was also trying to kick her addiction to sleeping pills, which she wouldn't be allowed to take on the mountain hike due to the reduced oxygen levels. But that wasn't the main fear she had, just an interesting side effect.) So why was this book the right one at the right time? Because I also struggle with perfectionism and anxiety, and I have also been encouraged by that famous Eleanor Roosevelt quote. (I even have it printed on a coffee mug!) And recently a good friend of mine died, so I found the chapter on death to be comforting. I also enjoyed the biographical bits of Eleanor that the author included. Noelle read several books about the former first lady during her year-long project and shared some interesting historical details. Eleanor Roosevelt was an inspiring figure and I intend to read some of the biographies Noelle recommended. I almost gave up on the book in the first few chapters because the author's voice was a bit whiny and wishy-washy, but as her project continued, she became stronger and more likeable, and I even found her stories inspiring. "What I discovered was that, in taking on tangible challenges, I'd grown into someone who could handle the intangibles. That life was not about attaining; it was about letting go. When I looked back, nothing was ever as bad as I thought it would be. In fact, it was usually better than I could have imagined. I learned that we should take each moment both more and less seriously because everything passes. The joyful moments are just as fleeting as the terrible ones." Recommended for those who like year-long project memoirs, introspective writing or "Eat Pray Love" fans. Rating: 3.5 stars rounded up to 4

  2. 4 out of 5

    Emily

    I read this for a book club, or I probably would have abandoned it. I found the first part of the book incredibly difficult to get through - the entire concept of the "year of fear" felt self-indulgent and gimmicky. Noelle spends the first few weeks of her year signing up for activities like trapeze classes and trying to hook up in closets at weddings, and then writing about it in a way that's supposed to be breezy and funny but ends up being cliched and cringeworthy. It's even worse because the I read this for a book club, or I probably would have abandoned it. I found the first part of the book incredibly difficult to get through - the entire concept of the "year of fear" felt self-indulgent and gimmicky. Noelle spends the first few weeks of her year signing up for activities like trapeze classes and trying to hook up in closets at weddings, and then writing about it in a way that's supposed to be breezy and funny but ends up being cliched and cringeworthy. It's even worse because then she contrasts herself against Eleanor Roosevelt, whose life story is incredibly rich, nuanced, and interesting. (Typical Noelle Hancock contrast: "Eleanor Roosevelt spent extensive time flying thousands of miles to field hospitals during the second world war and providing aid and comfort to the wounded. I had hoped for my own stories like this, making milkshakes in the oncology ward of a hospital.") Then she goes into her therapy sessions with "Dr. Bob" (someone who I fully believe is made up) and has surface-level conversations about What It All Means. But then, against all odds, the story started to pick up about halfway through once Noelle stopped writing solely about the scary things she was doing "every day" and started really exploring what fear means and what fears are worth conquering. There's a great moment where she practices for and then delivers a stand-up routine at a benefit. She's elated because she's succeeded, but also notes that this fear is different from the rest - while she didn't want to skydive or fly a combat jet, she's always wanted to make people laugh, but didn't know if it was possible. I really liked this distinction. She also gets deeper into discussing mindfulness as a way to cut down on anxiety, worry, and fear, three emotions that are related through adrenaline and are akin to positive emotions like excitement. I found her later experiences more interesting to read about, and she hits her stride writing about the skydiving trip - it's genuinely funny. The pieces about Eleanor Roosevelt feel even more shoehorned into the book as it progresses. I think this would have been much better as a memoir or as a collection of essays. I honestly started skimming some of the facts about Eleanor's life. I'd rather read the autobiography myself than get a slimmed-down version through the lens of Noelle Hancock. Two asides on the content of the book - the sleeping pills (omg) and her boyfriend, "Matt." (view spoiler)[The sleeping pills section is honestly one of the craziest things I've ever read! Progressing from one shot of whiskey to five (!) prescription drugs per night that cause hallucinations is bananas. That's the point where I became more invested in Noelle and her "journey" (ugh, kill me). I found this riveting, even when she tried to say that working with cancer patients was what inspired her to give up the pills. And as for Matt, I spent the book convinced that there was no WAY that they ended up together. I found the wedding announcement for "Matt" and another woman in the NYT after finishing the book. I am validated. (hide spoiler)] Also, if you're wondering where you've seen Noelle Hancock before, she was briefly viral on Buzzfeed for moving to the Caribbean on a whim, which must have been after she finished this book. She ends her essay for Cosmo with "not all those who wander are lost." Never change, Noelle.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Michelle

    I think they call this genre "stunt nonfiction" - do something for a year, blog about it and then get a book deal. I had two of these books to read, this one and one about a Kiwi guy whose goal was to work on every continent in the world before he was 30. When I started Noelle's book, I found it quite irritating. Judging by the photo on the back cover she's attractive, she's got the perfect boyfriend, a well off family, she's able to live off her savings and get freelance work while she looks for I think they call this genre "stunt nonfiction" - do something for a year, blog about it and then get a book deal. I had two of these books to read, this one and one about a Kiwi guy whose goal was to work on every continent in the world before he was 30. When I started Noelle's book, I found it quite irritating. Judging by the photo on the back cover she's attractive, she's got the perfect boyfriend, a well off family, she's able to live off her savings and get freelance work while she looks for another job. So why is she seeing a psychiatrist? It sounded so indulgent. I thought I should abandon this book and read the other. I'd heard the guy on the radio, he was one of these upbeat, practical, believe in your dreams kind of guys, and i thought "well he's not sitting around whining". But funnily enough, I finished Noelle's book and enjoyed it, and decided to abandon the other book. The fact is, many of us live pretty charmed lives and yet we're still timid and cautious, still whiny and fearful when we should be celebrating our good fortune and living in the present. I identified with Noelle, and just didn't want some Kiwi version of Anthony Robbins making me feel worse! Noelle did what she set out to do - she did something that made her scared every day. She wrote about her heroine, Eleanor Roosevelt, who was certainly a great woman (I'm not American so know little about her). I would have liked to have known more about the little fears she had, and what she did, but what we got was the big fears and big adventures - sky diving, cage swimming with sharks, Mt Kilimanjaro. Most ordinary people aren't going to have the money to do those big things, so the little fearful things may have been more relevent to those readers with kids and mortgages :)

  4. 4 out of 5

    Amy

    This book is horrible! I would not even give it a star if it were possible. I like the premise of this book, about conquering your fears and becoming a better person. In fact, I did a similar project myself years ago. What really turned me off about this book wasn't the poor quality of the writing or the author's selfishness; rather, I felt the book was disrespectful to Eleanor Roosevelt in many ways. The author used her as a gimmick. Eleanor Roosevelt overcame her fears and used that empowermen This book is horrible! I would not even give it a star if it were possible. I like the premise of this book, about conquering your fears and becoming a better person. In fact, I did a similar project myself years ago. What really turned me off about this book wasn't the poor quality of the writing or the author's selfishness; rather, I felt the book was disrespectful to Eleanor Roosevelt in many ways. The author used her as a gimmick. Eleanor Roosevelt overcame her fears and used that empowerment, wisdom, and tenacity to help others. I doubt she would be amused with crude stand up comedy or risk taking (such as skydiving or going in a shark cage) just for the sake of doing something that doesn't last. This is the equivalent of someone using Jackie O as their fashion icon by putting on a string of pearls wearing ripped jeans and a stained, ill-fitted T-shirt. When will publishers learn that the year of whatever gimmick has lost its appeal, especially when they whine about things that everyone faces such as losing a job or a loved one.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Rebecca

    (3.5) Inspired by Eleanor Roosevelt, who said, “You must do the thing you think you cannot do” and “Do one thing every day that scares you,” Hancock, a former entertainment blogger, decided to live by the latter dictum for a year. She does karaoke and stand-up comedy, tries circus trapeze classes and skydiving, volunteers at a funeral home and climbs Mount Kilimanjaro. Along the way, she also faces some more personal situations with the help of her therapist, like her sleeping pill addiction and (3.5) Inspired by Eleanor Roosevelt, who said, “You must do the thing you think you cannot do” and “Do one thing every day that scares you,” Hancock, a former entertainment blogger, decided to live by the latter dictum for a year. She does karaoke and stand-up comedy, tries circus trapeze classes and skydiving, volunteers at a funeral home and climbs Mount Kilimanjaro. Along the way, she also faces some more personal situations with the help of her therapist, like her sleeping pill addiction and her ho-hum relationship with “Matt.” The writing is really natural and funny (even her stand-up routine made me laugh), and the E. Roosevelt references are solid and not overdone. Why hasn’t Hancock published a book yet about her seven years living in the Virgin Islands?! We can only hope one is in the works. Favorite lines: “I’d been interviewing Joaquin Phoenix for a freelance article when he’d stopped me and asked, ‘Is this really what you want to be doing with your life? Writing about people who do interesting things instead of doing interesting things yourself?’” “This was the problem with blogging, I thought. I’d been busy but I hadn’t felt useful.” (guilty as charged!) Eleanor Roosevelt: “The most unhappy people in the world are those who face the days without knowing what to do with their time. But if you have more projects than you have time for, you are not going to be an unhappy person. This is as much a question of having imagination and curiosity as it is of actually making plans.” Her therapist, Dr. Bob: “You make decisions with imperfect information and achieve imperfect results. The alternative is to never make a decision and never achieve results.” “I was so utterly content that I was slightly wistful. It was the feeling I got when I was about to finish a really great book. I was nostalgic for this moment even as I was still in it.” A readalike: Sorry I’m Late, I Didn't Want to Come by Jess Pan

  6. 4 out of 5

    Laura Murdoch

    Noelle Hancock, author, reads on the wall of her favorite coffee shop the quote by Eleanor Roosevelt to do something every day that scares you. Since she was recently laid off from her job as an entertainment blogger, she decides she has the time and the resources to take Eleanor's advice. She does things like sky diving, diving with sharks, and hiking Mt. Kilimanjaro as well as running down the hall of her apartment building naked. I liked the concept of stepping out of your traditional comfort Noelle Hancock, author, reads on the wall of her favorite coffee shop the quote by Eleanor Roosevelt to do something every day that scares you. Since she was recently laid off from her job as an entertainment blogger, she decides she has the time and the resources to take Eleanor's advice. She does things like sky diving, diving with sharks, and hiking Mt. Kilimanjaro as well as running down the hall of her apartment building naked. I liked the concept of stepping out of your traditional comfort zone. I've even since consciously tried to make an effort to do "scary" things. I was mildly amused by some of the book, but completely bored with other parts. I LOVED reading the parts about Eleanor's life and personality. I wasn't into Noelle's self centeredness, indulgence and complete whininess. (I decided she and I would probably not be friend IRL.) In hindsight I wish I had spent my time reading about Eleanor instead of Noelle. That said, I'm putting more books about Eleanor on my to read list.

  7. 5 out of 5

    K

    Objectively, this isn't the greatest or most literary memoir I've ever read, or even the most inspiring. That being said, if you're a therapist working with anxious clients who would like to recommend a book that isn't overly clinical or self-helpy, this is a good choice. It's a readable and engaging story which relates to both exposure and mindfulness concepts and can inspire some good, relevant discussion. Objectively, this isn't the greatest or most literary memoir I've ever read, or even the most inspiring. That being said, if you're a therapist working with anxious clients who would like to recommend a book that isn't overly clinical or self-helpy, this is a good choice. It's a readable and engaging story which relates to both exposure and mindfulness concepts and can inspire some good, relevant discussion.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Stacia

    A pretty fun book overall. It's in the category of books where an author decides to do something for a year & then write a book about it. In this case, the author is having a young-life (age 28 or 29) crisis after she got laid off from work. She decides to follow advice from Eleanor Roosevelt & face her anxieties by doing one thing a day that scares her. `(There is some debate about that really being an Eleanor quote, but c'est la vie -- the book still works regardless.) The book highlights the A pretty fun book overall. It's in the category of books where an author decides to do something for a year & then write a book about it. In this case, the author is having a young-life (age 28 or 29) crisis after she got laid off from work. She decides to follow advice from Eleanor Roosevelt & face her anxieties by doing one thing a day that scares her. `(There is some debate about that really being an Eleanor quote, but c'est la vie -- the book still works regardless.) The book highlights the bigger things she faced/did & goes from being more frivolous in the beginning to more mature by the end. If you're looking for light non-fiction, this may be something to check out. A solid 3-star book filled with humor & adventure. I enjoyed it.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Annie

    Ummm so I really did love this book, but for reasons to follow I could not in good readerly conscience give it 5 stars. I don't even feel totally comfortable giving 4 stars. I think the book, as a concept, had a lot of potential. I’m a big fan of the Eleanor Roosevelt quote the book is centered around (“Do one thing every day that scares you”) and Eleanor herself in general. However, I found it very difficult to connect with author Noelle Hancock (former gossip blogger). The way she talks about o Ummm so I really did love this book, but for reasons to follow I could not in good readerly conscience give it 5 stars. I don't even feel totally comfortable giving 4 stars. I think the book, as a concept, had a lot of potential. I’m a big fan of the Eleanor Roosevelt quote the book is centered around (“Do one thing every day that scares you”) and Eleanor herself in general. However, I found it very difficult to connect with author Noelle Hancock (former gossip blogger). The way she talks about other people raised my eyebrows a few times. For example: “Celebrities provided me with constant material by getting arrested, getting too fat, getting too thin…” Raise your hand if you don’t think gossip bloggers have the right to place judgment on other peoples’ bodies. Ditto “Couldn’t I just take an Ativan or something? Lifestyle changes were for the morbidly obese. Or hoarders. A lifestyle change? I mean, get serious.” Ditto again calling a woman trashy for having a bunch of tattoos. It’s not funny. It’s not cute. Statements like that just make her seem like a jerk. I get that how a person appears on paper may not tally closely with who they really are, but from what I see here, Noelle and her friends are all rather vain, boring, shallow people. (When her best friend finds out she’s going to Tanzania to climb Kilimanjaro, she says “Namaste, bitch. Oh, and bring me back an orphan baby. Obviously.” When that same friend hears about people being held up at machete point in Tanzania, she quips, “Ohmigod, that’s so authentic!”) There are also some parts that are clearly not meant to be insulting but are nevertheless. When she sees a quadriplegic given food by his friend, she comments, “I wondered if he had always been paralyzed. And if so, had they become his friends before the paralysis or after? And which would say more about their character?” Uh, I don’t see how it says anything about their character either way? Presumably they’re friends with him because he’s a cool dude and they mesh well, not because he’s quadriplegic? And they didn’t just stay friends with him post-quadriplegia because they have “good character” but because, I dunno, they like being friends with him? Like it just subtly makes being friends with a disabled person out to be a charity move. Noelle and her friends are funny, though, I’ll give them that. In a catty, ya’ll-are-the-worst kind of way. And then again, Noelle has some odd moments of insight that made me like her. “Part of me wondered if this was simply an exercise in self-indulgence. Shouldn’t I be serving others? Then I remembered what my theraist had said about anxiety reducing our effectiveness in the world. Wasn’t living a fearful life also self-indulgent?” Also, by ⅔ of the way through the book, she really does make you root for her. Particularly the Kilimanjaro and the stand up comedy chapters, I was really happy and fulfilled watching her conquer her fears. Most significantly, this book came along at the right time for me and made me feel a lot of things and think of things different and recharacterize some things about my life. So I am grateful to it, and recommend it, for that reason.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Audra (Unabridged Chick)

    I confess right now that I was a bit dubious when I started this memoir, apprehensive that I -- not much of a celebrity gossip fan -- wouldn't enjoy what this former celebrity blogger had to say or care about her year of transformation. Boy, was I wrong. By page five I was ready to like Hancock and by page twenty or so, was totally charmed by her. Erroneously I had mentally decided Hancock's Manhattan-centered world and celebrity blogging meant one thing, but in reality, she was like any of my fri I confess right now that I was a bit dubious when I started this memoir, apprehensive that I -- not much of a celebrity gossip fan -- wouldn't enjoy what this former celebrity blogger had to say or care about her year of transformation. Boy, was I wrong. By page five I was ready to like Hancock and by page twenty or so, was totally charmed by her. Erroneously I had mentally decided Hancock's Manhattan-centered world and celebrity blogging meant one thing, but in reality, she was like any of my friends: overly dedicated to work, sociable but anti-social, insecure, apprehensive, and a little bit paralyzed by 'what now?'. Frankly, I wanted her to be my friend. Actually, one of the aspects of Hancock's book that stood out to me was her small coterie of loyal friends, who featured in her adventures as much as she did. I so appreciated that Hancock's journey allowed for others to participate and that in sharing the story with us, she highlighted those relationships and connections. I also enjoyed Hancock's sense of humor: she's wry and sarcastic (without being cutting) with a lovely sense of introspection that allows for reflection that felt meaningful rather than self-absorbed. Even though this seems a bit like a trendy project-a-year memoir, I found this book to be insightful, charming and inviting. As someone who is greatly inspired by women from history, I adored Hancock's premise and found it to be deeper than a mere gimmick. I'm a few years past 30 but I feel some of the same apprehensions about who I am and where my life is heading, and Hancock's book gave me ideas for being bolder and braver as well as some comfort that I'm not alone in my feelings. A real delight to read!

  11. 5 out of 5

    Maija

    This is another of those "do-something-for-a-year-and-write-about-it" books, which is so trendy, but I thought this one was well-written. After losing her blogging job, Noelle becomes inspired by an Eleanor Roosevelt quote about fear and decides to spend a year doing things that scare her. One of the best parts was the stories she mixed in about Eleanor's life. I knew very little, and it was neat to learn what a cool, revolutionary lady she was. I am inspired to read more about her. She wrote th This is another of those "do-something-for-a-year-and-write-about-it" books, which is so trendy, but I thought this one was well-written. After losing her blogging job, Noelle becomes inspired by an Eleanor Roosevelt quote about fear and decides to spend a year doing things that scare her. One of the best parts was the stories she mixed in about Eleanor's life. I knew very little, and it was neat to learn what a cool, revolutionary lady she was. I am inspired to read more about her. She wrote thousands of articles, speeches, and hung with cool people like Amelia Earhart! She also had a very non-traditional relationship with her husband, and she wasn't the typical weak politician wife by any means. Some of the things Noelle did are obviously scary (skydiving, climbing Mt Kilimanjaro), but she also tackled some of her own personal challenges (relationships, sleeping pill addictions). To me, the scariest part would be writing about some of these things. She is very honest and opens herself up to the reader about her insecurities and weaknesses. At first, I was skeptical - oh, poor tall blonde girl who went to Yale, how rough your life is - but I came to be a fan of her, as she did really challenge herself and admitted how lucky/privileged she is. She was also pretty funny. The book wasn't perfect, but I think that's part of it - a lot of her fear was about not being perfect. I related to many of the fears she expressed, and it was the right book for me to read at this point in my life.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Deyanne

    I liked this memoir but I didn't absolutely love it. What I appreciated was the honesty. Reminiscent of: Eat, Pray, Love, Julie and Julia, 1000 Miles in a Hundred Days or The Happiness Project, the author is searching to truly find herself and redefine who she is. Based on a quote by Eleanor Roosevelt, "Do one thing every day that scares you," the author pursues a year of fear. Some of her exploits are funny (trapeze lesson) while others (service in a hospital) are poignant. However, what I enjo I liked this memoir but I didn't absolutely love it. What I appreciated was the honesty. Reminiscent of: Eat, Pray, Love, Julie and Julia, 1000 Miles in a Hundred Days or The Happiness Project, the author is searching to truly find herself and redefine who she is. Based on a quote by Eleanor Roosevelt, "Do one thing every day that scares you," the author pursues a year of fear. Some of her exploits are funny (trapeze lesson) while others (service in a hospital) are poignant. However, what I enjoyed most were the carefully interspersed insights on Eleanor Roosevelt's life. I was surprised at just how little I knew of the trials and personal challenges of ER. I didn't relate to Noelle (the author's) age, sexual exploits, and the fear challenges that she chose. For me this book was not inspirational; however, I do respect her courage and especially her honest portrayal of that year. Smooth style. If I were still teaching in the classroom, there were excerpts that I could have lifted for modeling memoir.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Julie

    This was rated 3.5 jewels on my blog: http://onebookshy.blogspot.com 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 sealed my decision to read this book. My Year With Eleanor does have tha This was rated 3.5 jewels on my blog: http://onebookshy.blogspot.com 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 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 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 quite 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 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 close age or with similar life experiences as the writer will be really able to relate to the tale. I also encourage readers who are interested to read the 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.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Jessica

    "I'm not presumptuous enough to think I'll ever be as fearless as Eleanor. But she taught me that courage is a muscle. It needs to be exercised often or it'll weaken." (pg. 290) I really liked the concept behind this book. I've often considered what my own life would look like if I did one scary thing every day, so I was interested in Noelle's journey and how she applied that quote to her life. She tackled a mixture of big adventures (cage-diving with sharks, skydiving, trapeze) and more everyday "I'm not presumptuous enough to think I'll ever be as fearless as Eleanor. But she taught me that courage is a muscle. It needs to be exercised often or it'll weaken." (pg. 290) I really liked the concept behind this book. I've often considered what my own life would look like if I did one scary thing every day, so I was interested in Noelle's journey and how she applied that quote to her life. She tackled a mixture of big adventures (cage-diving with sharks, skydiving, trapeze) and more everyday challenges (asking her credit card company to lower her rate, confrontation, interviewing her exes about their relationship). The big adventures were entertaining, but she spent most of her page time on those rather than on the "smaller" (but no less important) challenges. I would have liked to have seen more discussion of how she dealt with assertiveness and speaking up, for example. The section on Mt. Kilimanjaro was very good as well, but it was unclear to me how exactly this fit into her "Year of Fear." The light, humorous, sometimes introspective writing style was also enjoyable. Noelle included her close friends in many of her challenges and their comments cracked me up. Noelle wrote about her fears in a sympathetic and funny way. I particularly enjoyed this passage while she was learning trapeze: "I looked over my shoulder toward the ladder and sighed. The only thing scarier than jumping off this platform was the prospect of going down that ladder backward. I wondered if they'd made it rickety on purpose to prevent people like me from backing out. I decided that I'd be okay with remaining on this coffee-table-sized platform for the rest of my life. I'd make it work. I could get a job manning the platform like Hank. I could get every meal delivered. "I live on the top floor," I'd tell the delivery guy." (pg. 26) Since her Year of Fear project was inspired by Eleanor Roosevelt's famous quotation, Noelle also seemed to feel the need to include biographical information on Eleanor as well as tie her own adventures into Eleanor's life--which I didn't really care for. Those parts never felt connected with the rest of the book. However, I am interested in reading more about Eleanor Roosevelt now and have added several biographies of her to my 'to-read' list. I did also find this book inspiring; I won't be skydiving any time soon, but the author made some good points about fear and anxiety that got me thinking.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Karen

    LOVED this book more than I thought I would. Hits on a lot of ideas close to my heart, sometimes it was uncomfortable to read because it was so accurate. I've always loved Eleanor Roosevelt's "do one thing every day that scares you" line, which is the basis of the book. Noelle, the author spends the year between her 29th and 30th birthday doing just that. The fears she overcomes range from physical ones like diving with sharks, to every day ones like renegotiating a bill. The book is intersperse LOVED this book more than I thought I would. Hits on a lot of ideas close to my heart, sometimes it was uncomfortable to read because it was so accurate. I've always loved Eleanor Roosevelt's "do one thing every day that scares you" line, which is the basis of the book. Noelle, the author spends the year between her 29th and 30th birthday doing just that. The fears she overcomes range from physical ones like diving with sharks, to every day ones like renegotiating a bill. The book is interspersed with quotes from Eleanor and facts about her life. I need to go read an ER biography now. Noelle is on Twitter, I was able to send an "I love your book" tweet and she replied to it :-) There's a link to some of her adventures on YouTube so it was fun to see them after reading them. I think everyone can benefit from reading this, the ideas and advice are there for everyone, I hope to take a lot of them away with me.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Jenny

    3.5 stars. I admire Hancock's courage to actually try to do one scary thing a day. I found myself both admiring her courage (she did some things I would NEVER do...even though they really scared her) and wondering how important it really is to conquer your fears. On the one hand, I know that changing our thinking can really help us overcome fear...most of the things we fear will never actually happen. And I know that conquering fears can be very motivating and empowering. On the other hand, ther 3.5 stars. I admire Hancock's courage to actually try to do one scary thing a day. I found myself both admiring her courage (she did some things I would NEVER do...even though they really scared her) and wondering how important it really is to conquer your fears. On the one hand, I know that changing our thinking can really help us overcome fear...most of the things we fear will never actually happen. And I know that conquering fears can be very motivating and empowering. On the other hand, there are things that I really, really don't enjoy or want to do and don't know that there is a good reason to do them. I did like hearing both the quotes from Eleanor Roosevelt as well as some of the advice from her therapist...some great gems in there. This reminded me a bit of The Gifts of Imperfection which I read in January. This, of course, is a memoir and the other is a self-help book...but they both discussed fear and self doubt and its impact on you.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Kit

    Too much Noelle, not enough Eleanor.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Brooke Mackenzie

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. I absolutely loved this book. I don’t tend to read a lot of non-fiction and this book was part of a book club I am in. I love the fact that Noelle didn’t go on this journey for a book deal, she didn’t for her self and out of her respect and adoration of Eleanor Roosevelt. (She lucked out with having become a book I suppose). I really appreciated her honesty about her struggles with small everyday battles she had like calling her credit card company or telling a person saving seats at the movie t I absolutely loved this book. I don’t tend to read a lot of non-fiction and this book was part of a book club I am in. I love the fact that Noelle didn’t go on this journey for a book deal, she didn’t for her self and out of her respect and adoration of Eleanor Roosevelt. (She lucked out with having become a book I suppose). I really appreciated her honesty about her struggles with small everyday battles she had like calling her credit card company or telling a person saving seats at the movie theatre too bad she was sitting down. I had never considered these fears and yet I completely understood where she was coming from. I would recommend this book to anyone and everyone!

  19. 5 out of 5

    Pam Kirst

    My mother went to a Fresh Air camp when she was a Depression kid growing up in a big city. She was flattered there to be chosen as one of a special troupe of folk dancers who'd perform for some special guests. After the performance, the dancers formed a line and shook the special guests' hands. One lady in particular drew my mother. Mom said to her, "You remind me of Eleanor Roosevelt, but you're much prettier." The lady, my mother said, threw back her head and laughed till tears came. When she got My mother went to a Fresh Air camp when she was a Depression kid growing up in a big city. She was flattered there to be chosen as one of a special troupe of folk dancers who'd perform for some special guests. After the performance, the dancers formed a line and shook the special guests' hands. One lady in particular drew my mother. Mom said to her, "You remind me of Eleanor Roosevelt, but you're much prettier." The lady, my mother said, threw back her head and laughed till tears came. When she got home, my mother's family couldn't wait to hear. "Did you see her? Was she nice?" "Who?" asked my mother. "Mrs. ROOSEVELT! She visited your camp!" Oops. But I always thought it was kind of special to be the daughter of the girl who made Eleanor Roosevelt guffaw. And as I grew older and more curious, I read just about every book I could find on Eleanor, feeling an almost proprietary, familial connection. So, when I found another 'year of' memoir--Noelle Hancock's My Year With Eleanor--I was intrigued, and put it in my shopping bag. I opened it almost as soon as I got home, and read it almost straight through. Hancock found herself on a tropical beach, on a very long overdue vacation, learning that her high profile, high tech job had, in her absence, disintegrated, along with the jobs of many of her colleagues. She was stunned and returned home to an economy that was hostile to her job hunt. In a coffee shop one day--a shop where she was regrouping and where she had been rejected for a job--she saw a quote from Eleanor Roosevelt on the chalkboard: Do one thing every day that scares you. And so Hancock did. She spent a year--the year before she turned thirty-- facing fears, big and small. She took trapeze lessons. She told her father she really hadn't voted for John McCain. She sang karaoke. She swam in a shark cage. She kicked her sleeping pill dependency. She climbed Mt. Kilimanjaro. Along the way, Hancock devoured books on Eleanor Roosevelt, and her own narrative often mirrors parts of Roosevelt's life. Hancock is young enough, when she writes this, to seem to have that invincibility armor that clads our risk-taking youth, but the book gives evidence of real growth; that makes it a truly satisfying read. Full disclosure though: I skipped most of the section where Hancock details a week of job shadowing in a funeral home. I'd just seen a picture of a Krokodil user, and couldn't take any more graphic anatomical detail. Other than that, though, the book is a great read. Hancock has a little bit of a cocky sense of humor--she's kind of a scaredy cat daredevil--but enough substance to make it work and to make me care. Some parts are funny. Some parts are almost parable. I'll end with my favorite parable part, from a conversation Noelle has with her therapist early in the book: "He shook his head. 'Some fears are learned, some we're born with. Get this: There was a study where psychologists placed an infant on a table with a pane of Plexiglas in the center. Now, the baby could easily crawl across the Plexiglas--but almost all the kids refused. Why?' "'Because the Plexiglas made it look like they were going to fall.' "'Kittens and puppies also refused to cross the glass,' he said. 'Then they brought in some baby ducks. Guess what? The ducks walked across without a quack of protest. Now why weren't the baby ducks afraid?' "'Because they have wings?' I venture. "'Exactly.' "I think about this for a moment. ''But if fear is instinctual, aren't we just...stuck with it?' "'If we can experience a seemingly risky situation over and over without harmful consequences, we can train our brains to be less afraid.' "'So you grow your own wings, basically.' "'Exactly.'" Ahhh. May we all continue growing our wings, every day, at every age!

  20. 4 out of 5

    Cristina Guarino

    Full review at my blog, http://cristinaguarino.livejournal.com! I bought My Year With Eleanor at the Union Square Barnes & Noble in Manhattan while waiting on a friend. I was pretty hesitant to buy it, I'll admit, not because I was unsure of the book but because $25 seemed like a pretty steep price to pay for a hardcover that just clears 300 pages. In fact, if the timing weren't so perfect, I'd be kicking myself right now for finding it on Amazon for only $15. But I had a good feeling about the b Full review at my blog, http://cristinaguarino.livejournal.com! I bought My Year With Eleanor at the Union Square Barnes & Noble in Manhattan while waiting on a friend. I was pretty hesitant to buy it, I'll admit, not because I was unsure of the book but because $25 seemed like a pretty steep price to pay for a hardcover that just clears 300 pages. In fact, if the timing weren't so perfect, I'd be kicking myself right now for finding it on Amazon for only $15. But I had a good feeling about the book after reading about it in an AOL feature article, so I went with it. All I can say is that it's exactly the type of book I needed to read, especially at this time in my life. I'm always so concerned with preventing regrets by doing as much as possible that I forget to abide by the whole "Live in the Present" cliche. And while I'm also a very conscious person and always trying to force myself to do so, I feel like I never get to fully relax and just be because my mind is always racing: How is summer almost gone? Did I even do half the stuff I wanted to do? I'm graduating in a year, what am I going to do then? Hancock addresses all of this in her book, which never intended to be a self-help book but rather an entertaining and hopefully inspiring memoir. But her dealings with fears about the past, present, and future helped me a LOT, and I'm sure they've done the same for others. Not only is the book fun, witty, and exciting, it's insightful. I think the best way to describe it is that it wakes the reader up, but not in the urgent "This is your life happening NOW" type of way. Instead, the reader learns through Hancock's experiences to slow down, relax, and breathe through the anxiety and fear in order to overcome obstacles and enjoy them. She teaches you to see things you fear as enriching experiences instead of things to stress about and run away from. That being said, I think my favorite part of the book is that she doesn't pretend to be omniscient. She doesn't preach or talk down to the reader as a lesser being who simply just hasn't learned The Secret yet. Instead, she takes you into her mind through the step-by-step process of her "Year of Fear" project, allowing you to absorb and learn alongside her. I could go on forever about the things I loved about this book, but honestly, I couldn't do it justice. Especially not without spoilers. So, instead, I'll just strongly recommend that anyone reading this gives it a try. I'm probably going to give it a second go, myselfl. :)

  21. 4 out of 5

    Marisa

    I read this book during Dewey’s 24-Hr Readathon this past October and it was a great light happy-go-lucky book to read during a sunny day in the fall. There was a lot of chaos going on in my life, so it was refreshing to read a book about someone else looking for changes in their life. There were some points where I found the author self-indulgent, but on the other hand, who am I to judge someone who’s taking action to make herself happier? At least she didn’t just whine about it without any act I read this book during Dewey’s 24-Hr Readathon this past October and it was a great light happy-go-lucky book to read during a sunny day in the fall. There was a lot of chaos going on in my life, so it was refreshing to read a book about someone else looking for changes in their life. There were some points where I found the author self-indulgent, but on the other hand, who am I to judge someone who’s taking action to make herself happier? At least she didn’t just whine about it without any action. Before reading this book, I didn’t know much about Eleanor Roosevelt so the snippets of her biography where fascinating. I will absolutely be reading more about her life and everything she did in the near future. Much like “Julie and Julia”, the author wasn’t making comparisons to their heroine, but telling how she was inspired to constantly “Do more”. I absolutely loved this book and particularly the quotes at the beginning of each chapter! Highly recommended! Warning: May inspire you to do some crazier things in your life. Who should read it? Folks looking for something that will inspire you to take another look at your daily actions and how you approach things you fear or are intimidated by. See all reviews and more at www.ReadingToDistraction.com or @Read2Distract

  22. 4 out of 5

    Keely

    I originally picked up this book because I think Eleanor Roosevelt is one of the best role models a woman could have. She is full of wisdom and wit and overcame many obstacles in her life to become a great leader and advocate. The author uses a quote from Eleanor Roosevelt to inspire her to conquer her fears for a year. Freshly laid-off from her job in New York, (where she earned 6 figures) the author decides to take a year off and do something everyday that scares her. The result is a story tha I originally picked up this book because I think Eleanor Roosevelt is one of the best role models a woman could have. She is full of wisdom and wit and overcame many obstacles in her life to become a great leader and advocate. The author uses a quote from Eleanor Roosevelt to inspire her to conquer her fears for a year. Freshly laid-off from her job in New York, (where she earned 6 figures) the author decides to take a year off and do something everyday that scares her. The result is a story that could only be accomplished if you had substantial savings, wealthy parents, an incredibly supportive network of friends/spouse, and lived in NYC--or very near the amenities of a big city. I enjoyed Hancock's writing style, it was very conversational with some snarky bits, but the magnitude of some of her antics were very UN-relatable. It did, however, make for exciting reading! Hancock also sprinkles little stories from Eleanor's life throughout the book, which made it even better. Even though the author is not your average 29 yr old, I enjoyed her adventure because of it.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Lori

    Hancock is a funny, snarky writer but that is not enough to carry this memoir to the heights to which it seems to aspire. I like the idea of conquering a fear a day for a year -- and I completely admire Eleanor Roosevelt -- but the book came off as shallow much of the time, not at all embodying ER's ideals. I'm thinking the publisher may be, at least in part, to blame for the fluffiness. And it seems Hancock realized this deficiency, as she sprinkled this concern a few times throughout the book. Hancock is a funny, snarky writer but that is not enough to carry this memoir to the heights to which it seems to aspire. I like the idea of conquering a fear a day for a year -- and I completely admire Eleanor Roosevelt -- but the book came off as shallow much of the time, not at all embodying ER's ideals. I'm thinking the publisher may be, at least in part, to blame for the fluffiness. And it seems Hancock realized this deficiency, as she sprinkled this concern a few times throughout the book. That being said, there were a few fun sections (stand-up comedy being one of my own fears!) and the book is a light read for summer.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Alison

    It's probably unfair, but I struggled to relate to the author, who I thought to be a little immature, naive, and entitled. The concept of this book seemed a bit forced and fabricated, a bit "I need to come up with a good book idea, and what the heck, this one sounds pretty cool", rather than her being truly inspired to address her fears. I found this a little insulting. But I did get some good take aways from the book, and the author grew on me. Her final adventure was a good one, and she had so It's probably unfair, but I struggled to relate to the author, who I thought to be a little immature, naive, and entitled. The concept of this book seemed a bit forced and fabricated, a bit "I need to come up with a good book idea, and what the heck, this one sounds pretty cool", rather than her being truly inspired to address her fears. I found this a little insulting. But I did get some good take aways from the book, and the author grew on me. Her final adventure was a good one, and she had some funny and entertaining stories. I believe I would have enjoyed reading this book more in my early 20s than now in my early 30s.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Erin

    I skimmed through the last 50 pages, tired of Noelle's constant self-reflection. This reads more like a published blog or "Dear Diary." The positive takeaway is that I want to read more by and about Eleanor Roosevelt. I skimmed through the last 50 pages, tired of Noelle's constant self-reflection. This reads more like a published blog or "Dear Diary." The positive takeaway is that I want to read more by and about Eleanor Roosevelt.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Patrick Devlin

    Really a great, inspiring and fun book I truly enjoyed reading this book more than any in recent memory. Watching the author do one scary thing a day and how she grew throughout the year was really inspirational.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Ami

    I am a sucker for a great "year in the life" type of memoir. I've read about people who have cut out sugar for a year, grew their own food for a year, homeschooled for a year, didn't buy anything for a year, lived without electricity for a year, and who tried to be happier for a year. Now I can add to that list "faced their fears everyday" for a year. The premise was incredibly intriguing: after discovering a quote from Eleanor Roosevelt (whom I adore), the author felt called to do something that I am a sucker for a great "year in the life" type of memoir. I've read about people who have cut out sugar for a year, grew their own food for a year, homeschooled for a year, didn't buy anything for a year, lived without electricity for a year, and who tried to be happier for a year. Now I can add to that list "faced their fears everyday" for a year. The premise was incredibly intriguing: after discovering a quote from Eleanor Roosevelt (whom I adore), the author felt called to do something that scared her every single day for a year. The execution was...bumpy. There were a few chapters that I thoroughly enjoyed reading- my favorite being Ms. Hancock's journey in climbing Mt. Kilamanjaro. That chapter was beautiful and enlightening and I felt I could take something away from it even though I will never, EVER try something like that. But many of the chapters were Problematic. The biggest issue is that the author is more of a hot mess than I realized, which really shouldn't be a problem. But I didn't discover the complete portrait of her "hot mess" until part way through the book, so I felt somewhat hoodwinked. There was a particular confession that really had me reeling. It wasn't a horrible or crazy admission, but the abrupt shock of it when I thought I had gotten to know the author, really made me feel like I had no idea who she was. This greatly diminished my enjoyment of the book and had me constantly questioning the veracity of what the author wrote afterwards- could I really trust this narrator? Additionally, my own puritanical nature got in my way of enjoying this book. The author grew more and more crass and vulgar in her language as the book progressed. If you swear like a sailor, then embrace it in the first chapter! If I know what I'm getting into at the beginning, then I can deal with it. Don't hide it until I'm invested in your story. This all added to my trust issues. Overall, the idea is great and the information about Eleanor Roosevelt was lovely and a few chapters were delightful to read; but underneath it, I still don't know if I can trust the author.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Lynn

    Memoir of Young Woman Noelle Hancock finds herself vacationing in Aruba when she loses her job during the 2006 recession. She can't find another one and moves from NYC back to Texas Texas with her family. She has a lot of anxieties and fears and uses a quote from Eleanor Roosevelt facing one's fears to do an assortment of activities, including sky diving and climbing Mount Kilimanjaro. I had trouble figuring out what their s book wanted to be for a long time, the quotes from Eleanor Roosevelt we Memoir of Young Woman Noelle Hancock finds herself vacationing in Aruba when she loses her job during the 2006 recession. She can't find another one and moves from NYC back to Texas Texas with her family. She has a lot of anxieties and fears and uses a quote from Eleanor Roosevelt facing one's fears to do an assortment of activities, including sky diving and climbing Mount Kilimanjaro. I had trouble figuring out what their s book wanted to be for a long time, the quotes from Eleanor Roosevelt were great. The writing was fast and frenetic and I wasn't sure what she wanted. There is no real depth to her emotions and everything is "ha ha". Honestly, it reads like a Judy Moody book but a little older. I had the distinct feeling she was more intelligent than she was writing as she details her attempts to google Kilimanjaro or drop names such as Michael Jackson for cute lines. I actually wondered if I should just read Eleanor Roosevelt 's autobiography or a biography of her. This book feels so trivial and light. I felt she was a spoiled well to do person who could afford to go to Aruba, skydiving or whatever. Near the end she does go to Tanzania to climb Mt. Kilimanjaro. She has 10 porters and a guide and does have some insight. A friend jokes that she feels like they're in 1930s British colonialism. You said it! The Tazanians are forced for walk them up and down the mountain and Noelle 's writing is all about her going up and down The mountain. The place, the people, the area are hardly anything next to her climbing this mountain. That's the book. About her.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Jo

    Do one thing every day that scares you. That's the Eleanor Roosevelt line that inspired the author as she approached her 30th birthday. And so she did - taking a trapeze class, skydiving, flying a fighter jet in a dogfight, working in a funeral home, diving with sharks, doing stand up comedy at an open-mic night, climbing Mount Kilamanjaro. She earned the nickname "Fearless" along the way. There's an entire genre of these books - be a midlife woman who feels lost, find an inspirational woman, fo Do one thing every day that scares you. That's the Eleanor Roosevelt line that inspired the author as she approached her 30th birthday. And so she did - taking a trapeze class, skydiving, flying a fighter jet in a dogfight, working in a funeral home, diving with sharks, doing stand up comedy at an open-mic night, climbing Mount Kilamanjaro. She earned the nickname "Fearless" along the way. There's an entire genre of these books - be a midlife woman who feels lost, find an inspirational woman, follow in her footsteps somehow for a year, grow as a person. But Noelle Hancock is engaging even as she follows the formula of self-discovery, and her biographical sketches of Eleanor are well-chosen and thoughtful. Yeah, these are some relatively privileged ways to face your fears, and Noelle is even aware of that from time to time, but that doesn't negate the message. Eleanor's a hellova role model, after all. A very enjoyable read.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Amanda

    This isn't a book that I feel like everyone will love as much as I did. I think because I could so closely relate to Noelle and her fears and anxiety that I understood this book in a way that other friends may not. As she went to counseling, it reminded my of my own counselor and sparked some areas that I had once made improvements but have since let slide. It was almost a refresher course for me. Also, obviously, interwoven into the story is a lot of information on Eleanor Roosevelt. I can't sa This isn't a book that I feel like everyone will love as much as I did. I think because I could so closely relate to Noelle and her fears and anxiety that I understood this book in a way that other friends may not. As she went to counseling, it reminded my of my own counselor and sparked some areas that I had once made improvements but have since let slide. It was almost a refresher course for me. Also, obviously, interwoven into the story is a lot of information on Eleanor Roosevelt. I can't say I've ever given much thought to the former First Lady, but I finished the book so inspired that I almost wanted to read her autobiographies myself.

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