Monday, February 11, 2013

Book Review: Tiny Beautiful Things by Cheryl Strayed

When I put this book on my hold list at the library, I didn't know anything about Cheryl Strayed or her advice column, Dear Sugar, featured on The Rumpus.  I honestly still haven't ever even been to the website for The Rumpus to see more of her advice columns, although I really meant to after reading the book.  I'll have to add it to my blog feed at some point because Strayed really impressed me with her advice.  She is simultaneously loving and patient, but also straight-shooting and blunt.  Everyone's life could be improved by some piece of advice given throughout the book.

I think Strayed is certainly talented.  As I mentioned above, her advice is put forward in a gentle, loving tone, but she also addresses issues head on and doesn't coddle readers.  She can be painfully honest, but does it in a way that is devoid of judgment.  One of the worst qualities in an advice columnist is a lack of self-awareness and humility, and Strayed does an amazing job of incorporating her own mistakes in a way that shows she is down to earth and doesn't have lofty ideas of her own success.

Entertainment Value
Whether or not you agree with all of Sugar's advice, there is something for everyone in this book.  I appreciate that Strayed shows a huge amount of respect for various belief systems.  For example, even though I have a much more traditional view of human sexual mores than Strayed does, I felt like I could still relate to the ideas behind her advice, even when I didn't agree with the actual advice, if that makes sense.  Or, at least, I felt like she would be ok with my belief systems as well.

I loved it.  I highly recommend reading it, even if you don't agree with everything Strayed stands for.  And, as I was typing this, I added Dear Sugar to Google Reader. :)


  1. I need to do a review of her book WILD for my blog. Did you read that? I can't remember. I really liked the book, but hopefully she's better these days with making good decisions...if you read the book, you'll know what I'm talking about.

    1. Wendy - I haven't read Wild, but I've heard a lot about it. From what I've heard, I think it would drive me nuts, so I've avoided reading it. In her Sugar persona, she talks frequently about her mistakes in the past and what she's learned from them - I'm just not sure I want to read her justifications for those mistakes, which is what I've heard happens in Wild.

    2. The things she tried to get away from is exactly what she did out there on the trail! I rolled my eyes a few times, but I learned that when somebody is determined, they can get it done. It was incredible what she was able to do mentally and physically out there. I'll have to check out her column.

  2. I definitely want to check this out, I loved Wild.