My Year with Eleanor

A Memoir (2011)

Noelle Hancock, born and raised in Houston, TX, was the founding writer of Us Weekly’s entertainment blog.  At age 28, she had spent her career writing about celebrities lives and in doing so, forgot to live her own.  When she unexpectedly lost her job, which she found out about during a tropical beach vacation, Noelle is completely devastated and has no idea what to do.

One day, when sitting in a coffee shop, she sees a quote from Eleanor Roosevelt that speaks to her: “Do one thing each day that scares you.”  Noelle realizes there is quite a bit in life that scares her and becomes inspired by Eleanor.  When speaking with her therapist, she decides that on her 29th birthday she is going to take up the challenge of living Eleanor’s words.  She is going to spend a year conquering her fears.  Her parents scoff and wonder aloud how she will survive.  They tell her she should move back home to Texas from New York.  They tell her she should go to law school.

Noelle, however, is determined to see this idea through.  This book is a shared journey with Noelle through her “year of fear”.  We feel her joy, pain, & apprehension as she struggles with such fears as skydiving, climbing Mt. Kilimanjaro and the security of her relationship with Matt, her boyfriend.  In addition, the book is sprinkled with anecdotes about Eleanor Roosevelt – all of which are interesting. This memoir was truly a delight --- it read like a work of fiction, which I thoroughly enjoyed.

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