Book Review: tiny beautiful things by Cheryl Strayed
Life can be difficult and uncertain. It can be triumphant and joyous. And for readers, through it all, Sugar was there to share advice with the humor and compassion of a trusted friend.
For years, author Cheryl Strayed served as the once-anonymous online columnist “Sugar” at The Rumpus literary magazine, where thousands of people wrote to her with questions about relationships, grief, mortality, sex, and every condition in between.
With touching humanity and razor-sharp insight, Sugar turned the advice genre upside down, developing a huge cult following. This book compendium brings together the best of the Dear Sugar columns, along with never-before-published pieces that reveal a kind of radical empathy--a quality that is so important in the modern day.
Sugar is tender, but nothing gets sugarcoated. The author absorbs each person’s letter and responds from a place that offers safety, guidance and hope. But the language is straightforward and real. Sugar won’t talk down to you, because she’s been there too, as she reveals while unfolding stories from her own life.
Strayed originally wrote these columns for no pay, contributing to The Rumpus website from 2010 to 2012. Her memoir Wild, documenting her solo hike along the Pacific Crest Trail, was published in 2012, and in 2017 tiny beautiful things was adapted for the stage, debuting at NYC’s Public Theater.
It’s awkward calling this a self-help book. It is first and foremost simply a collection of letters, of individual stories, that offer an unembarrassed, kind and wrenchingly honest glimpse into the real lives of real people.
If you’ve ever faced adversity, or struggled with a choice -- which is to say, if you are human -- this book comes highly recommended.
by Mitzi Gordon, 2020