Monday, September 7, 2015

Book review: Tiny Beautiful Things: Advice on Love and Life from Dear Sugar by Cheryl Strayed

I'm a sucker for advice columns. I've been trying to kick the habit recently (except for the excellent Ask A Manager which I will never lose) when I realize how much time it was sucking away from my day. I never read Dear Sugar, though, and after reading this book, I deeply regret it. I loved this book. I. Loved. This. Book.

Sugar is so empathetic, and she listens well, and shows the writer that she has heard them and that she understands their problems and she sympathizes. She then usually relates a story from her own life that has parallels to this writer's problem. Then she points out a line or two from their letter that really seem to get to the heart of the matter, and often points out where the writer is telling Sugar that she already knows what he/she should do. Finally, she is supportive in telling the writer that he/she CAN do what it is they ought to do. She might go back to her own story and explain how going through the bad stuff makes things good afterward. The problems cover everything from addiction, abuse, unrequited love, despondency, and everything in between. Over time we even feel like we get to know Sugar herself and her family (Mr. Sugar and the little Sugars). I appreciate her openness, her passion, her supportiveness, and her willingness to say the hard things (nicely).

I wanted this book to last forever. I wanted to gobble it up in one night. I wanted to read everything through without stopping. I wanted to savor each essay and ponder them. I wanted to read them all out loud to my husband (I read about three.) I wanted the book to go on and on forever. I wanted to read letters that exactly described problems in my life. I was grateful the letters talked mostly about problems far from my own. I sent one letter and answer to a college student I mentor.

I am now very tempted to get Ms. Strayed's novel, her first book, and read it. (Although I will call it a novel loosely since it seems to mirror her family life very closely.) THANK YOU to Ellen Urbani for giving me this book! And Thank you to Cheryl Strayed for writing it.

I was given this book as a gift by Ellen Urbani at a WNBA event.

1 comment:

Ellen Urbani said...

So glad you liked (loved!) TINY BEAUTIFUL THINGS, Carin. I feel exactly the same way about it. Cheryl is such a blessing in my life, and I'm happy to have been able to share her with you. Looking forward to chatting about your favorite essays when I see you at SIBA next weekend! xoEllen