Sep 25, 2013

Tiny Beautiful Things

First and foremost - thanks for all the birthday wishes, and congratulations to Kelly who won my birthday giveaway! Shoot me an email to claim your books!

Tiny Beautiful Things: Advice on love and life from Dear Sugar by Cheryl Strayed

My rating: 5 stars

Overview from Goodreads: Life can be hard: your lover cheats on you; you lose a family member; you can’t pay the bills—and it can be great: you’ve had the hottest sex of your life; you get that plum job; you muster the courage to write your novel. Sugar—the once-anonymous online columnist at The Rumpus, now revealed as Cheryl Strayed, author of the bestselling memoir Wild—is the person thousands turn to for advice. Tiny Beautiful Things brings the best of Dear Sugar in one place and includes never-before-published columns and a new introduction by Steve Almond.  Rich with humor, insight, compassion—and absolute honesty—this book is a balm for everything life throws our way.

Holy crap you guys. This book was amazing. And by amazing I mean that doesn't even begin to cover it.

I had heard of this book, but going into it I knew nothing about Cheryl Strayed - I have not read Wild, and I had never heard of Dear Sugar. Imagine my utter delight when I started reading responses to letters where the writing was clever, honest, and at times incredibly raw.

I couldn't put it down.

There are some heavy topics covered in these letters - and Cheryl (or Sugar), has some just as heavy replies. She admits freely to not having an answer to everything, but she draws on her own experiences to relate to the letter writer and even though I haven't had some of those experiences, I felt that drawing me in.

I did not include all the quotes that were flagged in the picture above (you're welcome), but I do want to share a few with you: 

"Nobody will protect you from your suffering. You can't cry it away or eat it away or starve it away or walk it away or punch it away or even therapy it away. It's just there, and you have to survive it. You have to endure it. You have to live through it and love it and move on and be better for it and run as far as you can in the direction of your best and happiest dreams across the bridge that was built by your own desire to heal." (29-30)

"We are all at some point - and usually at many points over the course of a life - the woman hanging on the end of the line. Allow your acceptance of that to be a transformative experience. You do that by simply looking it square in the face and then moving on. You don't have to move fast or far. You can go just an inch. You can mark your progress breath by breath." (113)

She even tapped into my love and appreciation of artists (in any form).

"A lot of artists give up because it's just too damn hard to go on making art in a culture that by and large does not support its artists. But the people who don't give up are the people who find a way to believe in abundance rather than scarcity. They've taken into their hearts the idea that there is enough for all of us, that success will manifest itself in different ways for different sorts of artists, that keeping the faith is more important than cashing the check, that being genuinely happy for someone else who got something you hope to get makes you genuinely happier too." (261)

This book is all letters so it's easy to digest a little at a time, which was helpful every so often as I needed a break to reflect on what I'd read.

"Most things will be okay eventually, but not everything will be. Sometimes you'll put up a good fight and lose. Sometimes you'll hold on really hard and realize there is no choice but to let go. Acceptance is a small, quiet room." (351-352)

Have you read this book? (If not, what are you waiting for?) Have you read anything else by Cheryl Strayed?


Kelly (She Wears a Red Sox Cap) said...

Ah, SO excited that I won!!! I can't wait to read all 3 of these books and go crazy with the bookmarking myself :)

Lisa from Lisa's Yarns said...

I am glad you read this since I recommended it to you - I always get nervous when I really endorse a book like I endorsed this one! I still have one more post that I want to do. That will come in October hopefully.

I love this book, but I am in the minority and did not love Wild. I enjoyed it but did not find Strayed to be all that likeable in the book... But I think it's still worth checking out.

Nora said...

Yup, read it and loved it thanks to both you and Lisa! There were some great parts on boundaries that really spoke to me (and D! I read them out loud to him), loved the part on acceptance, overcoming tough things and all the other little a-ha moments.

Stephany said...

I haven't read this book yet, but only because I want to buy it for Kindle because I'm sure I will be highlighting all over the place! :) Very soon.

I read Wild by her and I LOVED it. It was SUCH a good book. I did not expect to love it as much as I did, but I loved the realness and vulnerability in her words. She's not perfect, never claims to be, made some stupid mistakes, but I can't fault her for that. We all do, in our own ways. :) Highly recommend!

Michelle said...

That quote from page 261 made me cry! I'm going to have to pick this up soon. Thank you for sharing!

Amber said...

I also really loved this book and flagged many many quotes in it. I think Strayed is an incredibly gifted writer and really enjoy her stuff.

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