Tiny Beautiful Things: Advice on Love and Life from Someone Who's Been There by Cheryl Strayed

9/07/2018

Tiny Beautiful Things: Advice on Love and Life from Someone Who's Been There
Author: Cheryl Strayed
Publisher: Atlantic Books
Publication Date: 25th March 2013
Buy: Amazon | Book Depository | Wordery

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.

I wasn't Cheryl Strayed's biggest fan when reading Wild. I thought she was entitled, self-centered, and foolish when it came to her lack of planning. I felt the book lacked depth. The flashbacks to her former life not enough to explain her choices and behaviour. Had I read her Dear Sugar columns first, I don't doubt that my enjoyment of Wild would have increased tenfold.

For several years, Cheryl Strayed was the anonymous internet agony aunt for The Rumpus. Each letter in this collection is responded to with compassion, honesty and from a place of personal experience. It's clear she has lived through and witnessed an awful lot of pain in her life. That pain has made her who she is today, and allowed her to respond to those letters like no agony aunt I have ever read. If you can relate to just one letter in this collection then it is completely worth reading.

"Love is the feeling we have for those we care deeply about and hold in high regard. It can be light as the hug we give a friend, or heavy as the sacrifices we make for our children. It can be romantic, platonic, familiar, pleading, everlasting, conditional, unconditional, imbued with sorrow, stoked by sex, sullied by abuse, amplified by kindness, twisted by betrayal, deepened by time, darkened by difficulty, leavened by generosity, nourished by humour, and loaded with promises and commitments that we may or may not want to keep. The best thing you can possibly do with your life, is tackle the mother-fucking shit out of love."

Her responses to the letters I could relate to, felt like they were written for me. Words from a very kind, caring, but honest friend. Her words on grief and love made me cry. If you're a fan of Dolly Alderton's Everything I Know About Love, I think you will really enjoy this. If you've suffered bereavement, difficult relationships, difficult friendships, family problems, wedding problems or just generally want to become a better human being, then I implore you to read this.

"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."

Verdict: Story - 5/5
Writing - 5/5
Insight - 5/5
Enjoyment - 5/5
Overall - 5



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