Tiny Beautiful Things by Cheryl Strayed

Tiny Beautiful Things by Cheryl Strayed

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.

(Synopsis and image via Goodreads)

Book Details:
Publisher: Vintage
Genre: Essays / Nonfiction / Advice / Men & Women
Published: July 10, 2012
Format: Paperback Trade, 353 pages
ISBN: 0307949338
Source: Purchased


At one time, the author we know as Cheryl Strayed was known as Dear Sugar, an anonymous on-line advice columnist at The Rumpus. Her replies to advice seekers covered everything from sex, cheating lovers, plumbing problems, landing a great job, broke and out of work.

Tiny Beautiful Things brings together all the best of Dear Sugar into one volume with an introduction by Steve Almond. This collection includes some never-before-published letters.

Many have criticized Cheryl Strayed in their reviews of Tiny Beautiful Things. They say she talks too much about self, her responses go on and on and on, her language is often tough and rough, and she gives advice based on her life story. I ask you: If you were writing an advice column, what is your best source for answering these kinds of letters?

I will agree responses may be too long at times, taking a rather circuitous route to get to the core of the answer. However, Cheryl speaks straight from her life experience and that means she speaks the truth as she knows it and speaks it from her heart.

I found this compilation funny, compassionate, sickening, loving, and well done. I will admit to questioning whether I would finish it when I started it, but it picked up momentum and I found myself enjoying a new twist on Dear Abby.


RED FLAG here: The language is rough; something you likely do not want your preteen to be reading. Maybe not even your teen, unless you and said teen have discussed a myriad of potential life situations.

Otherwise, many will love this book and others will hate it. If you enjoy advice columns, buy it or borrow it. If you don’t enjoy advice columns, especially ones with long responses, don’t bother. Personally, I found it a good change from reading novels, memoirs, and historical fiction

Best-selling author, Cheryl StrayedCheryl Strayed is the author of #1 New York Times bestseller WILD, the New York Times bestseller TINY BEAUTIFUL THINGS, and the novel TORCH. WILD was chosen by Oprah Winfrey as her first selection for Oprah’s Book Club 2.0. WILD won a Barnes & Noble Discover Award, an Indie Choice Award, an Oregon Book Award, a Pacific Northwest Booksellers Award, and a Midwest Booksellers Choice Award among others.

The movie adaptation of WILD was released by Fox Searchlight in December 2014. The film is directed by Jean-Marc Vallée and stars Reese Witherspoon, with a screenplay by Nick Hornby.

Strayed’s writing has appeared in THE BEST AMERICAN ESSAYS, the New York Times Magazine, the Washington Post Magazine, Vogue, Salon, The Missouri Review, The Sun, Tin House, The Rumpus–where she wrote the popular “Dear Sugar” advice column–and elsewhere. Strayed was the guest editor of BEST AMERICAN ESSAYS 2013 and has contributed to many anthologies. Her books have been translated into more than thirty languages around the world. She holds an MFA in fiction writing from Syracuse University and a bachelor’s degree from the University of Minnesota. She lives in Portland, Oregon with her husband and their two children.

(Bio and image via Amazon)

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