Emily Cab, August 12, 2013 (view all comments by Emily Cab)
I've been hearing a lot of praise lately for Cheryl Strayed's "Wild" and "Torch," but I haven't read many reviews of this fantastic collection of her "Dear Sugar" advice columns. I'm so glad I have this on my shelf. "Tiny Beautiful Things" will motivate and inspire you to try harder, reach higher and feel a little bit better about the fact that sometimes when you try harder and reach higher, you'll fall flat on your face. Strayed has a knack for reading between the lines and pointing out hard truths to her readers, all in a way that makes you feel like she really knows you and is pulling for you. And, as always, Strayed is just plain funny. I'm not the sort to read advice columns or self-help books, but this book stopped me in my tracks. Whether you devour it in one sitting as I did or whether you read a column once in a while when you're down in the dumps, I know "Tiny Beautiful Things" will leave you better off than you were before.
madbirdesign, January 30, 2013 (view all comments by madbirdesign)
Tiny Beautiful Things is a unique book that is so much more than a collection of advice columns. Strayed's writing is profound, thoughtful, joyful, and generous. This is a book I'll keep handy, re-reading my favorite essays and getting another dose of insight, wisdom, and compassion.
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Elizabeth Rosner, January 30, 2013 (view all comments by Elizabeth Rosner)
Brilliant, original, timely. By turns hilarious and heartbreaking --- but always devastatingly honest and relentlessly compelling. I've recommended this book countless times and will continue to do so.
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"Publishers Weekly Review"
by Publishers Weekly,
"Strayed (Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Coast Trail), in this collection of advice (some previously unpublished) for readers of her column 'Dear Sugar' on therumpus.net, chooses thought-provoking questions from her readers and listens deeply to their emotional content. In casually intimate prose (to a struggling writer: 'dear sweet arrogant beautiful crazy tortured talented rising star glowbug') and literary grace, she creates moments of wise, compassionate insight in often startlingly personal miniature memoirs, cradling gentle but practical guidance with enough humor to cement Strayed's presence as both a mentor and the most understanding of friends. Sugar can be tough and honest (to the same struggling writer: 'buried beneath all the anxiety and sorrow and fear and self-loathing , there's arrogance at its core'), but she's never mean: in Sugar's world, we all deserve love unconditionally, but also owe it to ourselves to act in the world to be the best, most authentic selves that we can be. For a regrounding in the beauty of what it means to be flawed and gorgeously human, for answers that feel real whether we've been able to ask the right question, Strayed's caring little essays offer surprisingly rich comfort. Agent: Zachary Shuster Harnsworth Agency. (July)" Publishers Weekly (Starred Review) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
by Sarah Hepola, Salon,
"These pieces are nothing short of dynamite, the kind of remarkable, revelatory storytelling that makes young people want to become writers in the first place. Over here at the Salon offices, we're reading the columns with boxes of tissue and raised fists of solidarity, shaking our heads with awe and amusement."
by Sasha Frere-Jones, The New Yorker critic,
"Sugar doesn't coddle her readers — she believes them, and hears the stories inside the story they think they want to tell. She manages astonishing levels of empathy without dissolving into sentiment, and sees problems before the reader can. Sugar doesn't promise to make anyone feel good, only that she understands a question well enough to answer it."
by Aimee Bender, author of The Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake,
"Powerful and soulful, Tiny Beautiful Things is destined to become a classic of the form, the sort of book readers will carry around in purses and backpacks during difficult times as a token or talisman because of the radiant wisdom and depth within."
by Meakin Armstrong, Guernica editor,
"Sugar's columns are easily the most beautiful thing I've read all year. They should be taught in schools and put on little slips of paper and dropped from airplanes, for all to read."
by Samantha Dunn, author of Failing Paris,
"Dear Sugar will save your soul. I belong to the Church of Sugar."
by Jessica Francis Kane, author of The Report,
"[Sugar is] turning the advice column on its head."
by The New Republic,
"Charming, idiosyncratic, luminous, profane....[Sugar] is remaking a genre that has existed, in more or less the same form, since well before Nathanael West's Miss Lonelyhearts first put a face on the figure in 1933....Her version of tough love ranges from hip-older-sister-loving to governess-stern. Sugar shines out amid the sea of fakeness."
by Molly McArdle, Library Journal (starred review),
"This beloved Internet advice columnist, using the pseudonym Sugar, revealed herself in early 2012 to be the acclaimed novelist and memoirist Strayed. First appearing on the Rumpus in 2010, her column 'Dear Sugar' quickly attracted a large and devoted following with its cut-to-the-quick aphorisms like 'Write like a motherf*cker' and 'Be brave enough to break your own heart.' This collection gathers up the best of Sugar, whose trademark is deeply felt and frank responses grounded in her own personal experience; in many ways, it is a portrait of Strayed herself. She answers queries on subjects ranging from professional jealousy to leaving a loved partner to coping with the death of a child. VERDICT: Part advice, part personal essay, these pieces grapple with life's biggest questions. Beautifully written and genuinely wise, this book is full of heartache and love. Highly recommended."
by Kirkus Reviews,
"Strayed offers insight into the world of online advice through her collection of letters sent to 'Dear Sugar,' her once-anonymous column for the online magazine The Rumpus. Sugar's Golden Rule — 'Trust Yourself' — pushes the author and her readers to embrace themselves and not be afraid of asking life's complex questions....Strayed's practical advice mixes with abundant personal anecdotes in which she illustrates to the addressee the reasoning behind her counsel. Admittedly not versed in psychology, her responses are sensitive and comprehensive, and her self-reflection projects understanding and sympathy....The author's comforting yet stern writing style connects readers to each contributor's plight and the subsequent response to their cry for help. Appealing to Dear Sugar fans and self-help seekers alike, this 'collection of intimate exchanges between strangers' demonstrates that wisdom doesn't come only from age, but also from learning from the experiences of others. A realistic and poignant compilation of the intricacies of relationships."
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