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Tiny Beautiful Things: Advice on Love and Life from Dear Sugar | [Cheryl Strayed]

Tiny Beautiful Things: Advice on Love and Life from Dear Sugar

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 best-selling memoir Wild—is the person thousands turn to for advice. Tiny Beautiful Things gathers the best of "Dear Sugar" in one place and includes never-before-published columns.
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Publisher's Summary

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 best-selling memoir Wild—is the person thousands turn to for advice. Tiny Beautiful Things gathers 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.

©2012 Cheryl Strayed (P)2012 Random House

What the Critics Say

"A realistic and poignant compilation of the intricacies of relationships." (Kirkus Reviews)

"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." (Sarah Hepola, Salon)

"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." (The New Republic)

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

4.3 (167 )
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Performance
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  •  
    Melinda UT 08-15-12
    Melinda UT 08-15-12 Member Since 2009

    So hooked by audio that I have to read books aloud. *If my reviews help, please let me know.

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    "A Spoonful of Sugar"

    Always leary, am I, when non-clinicians start openly penning generalized advice (beyond dealing with biscuits that won't rise or resistant scuff marks) to people with problems that could be potentially serious or life-threatening--we don't need to look very far to see the inherent problems with such an approach. But after listening, I report that Miss Sugar is wise enough to always advise some medicine with her spoonful of sugar, and for the most part, in her essay-esque responses, directs her sweet peas toward professional counsel/support if needed. Miss Sugar is indeed wise, as well as compassionate and poetic. (*Strayed does have life-experience, obvious in her book Wild.)

    This is an interesting mix -- author/advice columnist, novel/inspirational stories -- but just plugging it in and listening doesn't do it justice. In large doses the stream of advice-hidden-in-a-story becomes repetitive and more about the writer and creative writing than the problem. And with so many prose-filled personal stories, you begin to feel like this columnist not only yearns for the life of a novelist (funny thing), but also lived a life manufactured specifically for recalling and expending advice, which sometimes translates as too convenient, and unbelievable. [Imagine the hint-rich Heloise advising you.."I know mahogany can be problematic, and I'm sorry you have to deal with that hard and unfair fact, I also once owned a stubborn credenza... with a flowing perfect arc, move your cloud-like, lemon-scented cloth with the graceful grain of the wood on your credenza, becoming one with the oiled glistening panel of life recorded in those mahogany rings..." you get it.] But, Miss Sugar seems to pull up, just when you think she is going to drown the question in the reflective pool of her own life, and return to advising.

    On the positive side, is the positive! Strayed is a good writer, and she uses those skills to be both entertaining and inspirational. Often in this book you will pick up some sparkling gems of wisdom. I was impressed with her good-karma emphasis on not only being a better person, but hoping for better for those around you, getting the whole team across the finish line. This would be a great book to pick up every day and read a passage, also a nice gift. Strayed does a good job narrating; I liked her voice work better here than on Wild. She still has that rock-hard edginess and no problem with dropping the F, or kicking pity-partiers off their asses--be prepared for some hard hitting--but nothing below the belt. Worthwhile listen; suggested enjoying in bits rather than one long session. (Another great pick up from this book...The Rumpus! A nice on-line magazine I intend on checking out more often, including the Miss Sugar column.)

    13 of 13 people found this review helpful
  •  
    kimberly claremont, CA, United States 07-18-12
    kimberly claremont, CA, United States 07-18-12 Member Since 2006
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    "Touching, heart-breaking, funny, wise...memorable"

    I believe my headline says it all, but let's see if I can add more praise. I just adored this book. The book is a series of letters and responses to and from an advice columnist called Dear Sugar (Cheryl Strayed). This is no Dear Abby/ Ann Landers/ Ask Amy type experience. This book is not strident/ pedantic as are some advice- givers. This is like advice from a wise and fabulously credentialed therapist/ best friend/ mom/ teacher.

    I listen to a lot of audiobooks and most are not that memorable, although perfectly enjoyable. This one will stick with you AND make you a better person. There will be something there for you, I promise.

    5 of 6 people found this review helpful
  •  
    shay haifa, Israel 09-10-12
    shay haifa, Israel 09-10-12 Member Since 2011
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    "loved it!"

    very very good listen. love her writting, love her thoughts. beautiful tone of voice. found this book by accident and already listen to it twice.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    rebecca Montreal, QC, Canada 09-04-12
    rebecca Montreal, QC, Canada 09-04-12
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    "Engrossing"
    What did you love best about Tiny Beautiful Things?

    As a long-time reader of the column, I loved hearing it spoken out loud, as I have heard it in my head while reading it. I loved the flow of each Q&A section and how as the book goes on, a cohesiveness comes through of the similarity of our human needs and desires.


    What did you like best about this story?

    The stories from Cheryl Strayed's life that she inserts in her responses that sometimes feel like they are completely out of left field, but eventually come full circle with clear intent. This is probably her best trait as an advice columnist that she can bring herself and her own experiences into the fold without overshadowing the original question or the asker's dilemma.


    What about Cheryl Strayed and Steve Almond (intro) ’s performance did you like?

    I did not particularly care for Steve Almond's performance, although I liked the intro itself. His delivery was drab and had a slightly cloying tone which did nothing for me. Strayed's performance is really quite good and the evenness of her tone produces a zen-like effect which allows one to become engrossed in each word. However, I wish she would have occasionally produced some variation in delivery depending on the dynamic of the question and the sentiment behind the answer. It got a bit "samey".


    If you were to make a film of this book, what would be the tag line be?

    You are human and you need to be loved, just like everyone else does.


    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    DianeK Cooperstown, NY 08-27-12
    DianeK Cooperstown, NY 08-27-12
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    "awesome book"

    I've always felt that no one can sing Bob Dylan like Bob Dylan and the same hold true for Cheryl Strayed: no one could have read this book in a more moving, true way. Nor could anyone else have written such an intimate, painful, heartwrenching, searing, funny, wise, drop dead, spot-on, series of advice columns as this. Listen and weep; listen and leap.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Mary Pat Riley Huntsville, Alabama USA 08-15-12
    Mary Pat Riley Huntsville, Alabama USA 08-15-12 Member Since 2012

    Love non fiction, history, treasure hunts, lost causes, steps back I. Time

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    "Truly Beautiful Advice"
    What did you love best about Tiny Beautiful Things?

    Each letter was answered in a direct, straight forward way, based on the author's personal experiences and insight. What a wise woman!


    What other book might you compare Tiny Beautiful Things to and why?

    none that I have ever read.


    Which scene was your favorite?

    Her ability to make each answer convey love and hope along with support and courage.


    Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

    Yes, when she shared her personal experiences with her father and her journey to wholeness.


    Any additional comments?

    Get this book for yourself. It is thought provoking, comforting, upsetting, and beautiful.
    Cheryl Strayed is truly a beautiful thing. I can't wait to read more from her.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Samuel PITTSBURGH, Panama 08-08-12
    Samuel PITTSBURGH, Panama 08-08-12 Member Since 2012
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    "Incredible mix of stories and life philosophy"
    Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

    Absolutely, this was a life changing book. I would recommend it to anyone who has faced challenges or struggles in their life. It is a guide for overcoming adversity - not just by sticking your head down and working through it - but by providing an emotional guide for processing the difficult parts of life, empowering us to transform our challeneges into character and strength, creativity and culture. It is a inspiring "self-help" type of book for those of us who would usually be more likely to read literary criticism or classics than anything that is typically thought of as self-help.


    Any additional comments?

    Cheryl's performance gets better as you go along - at first her pacing was uneven with some unnecessary pauses but she fixes this quickly. It is really powerful to listen to an author telling her own story (especially for a memoir-type book... her story really is HER STORY).

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    W.P. Watermill, NY, United States 08-06-12
    W.P. Watermill, NY, United States 08-06-12 Member Since 2010
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    "Why Go to Therapy When You Have This Book?"
    Would you listen to Tiny Beautiful Things again? Why?

    I already have. It's sound advice on love and life from a woman who is not only emotionally intelligent but a terrific writer. Listening to this book made me feel safe and understood and not alone.


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    The writer of the Dear Sugar column Cheryl Strayed of course. I love how she opens up and uses her own life experience to empathically connect with her readers. It's a beautiful thing.


    What about Cheryl Strayed and Steve Almond (intro) ’s performance did you like?

    I'm glad she narrated. Having her do so was a good match for the authenticity of her writing.


    What’s an idea from the book that you will remember?

    Boundaries. The importance of boundaries, and that "f-----ed up people will try to tell you otherwise but boundaries have nothing to do with whether you love someone or not. They are not judgments, punishments or betrayals. They are a purely peaceable thing: the basic principals you identify for yourself that define the behaviors that you will tolerate from others. Boundaries teach people how to treat you and they teach you how to respect yourself."


    Any additional comments?

    Excellent excellent excellent. Absolutely worth every penny.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Gail jackson, NJ, United States 05-31-14
    Gail jackson, NJ, United States 05-31-14 Member Since 2011
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    "A not so tiny beautiful thing ..."

    If everyone had a "Sugar" in their pocket, a go-to guru, sister, mother, confidante like Cheryl ... what a wonderful resource that would be for those of us that don't. Sugar digs deep to deliver heartfelt, soul-searching advice. No flip "quippy" designed for print answers here.. Sugar responds with painstaking detail, honesty and compassion to questions of all magnitudes. I envision her agonizing for days and weeks over responses, as we see so many of her advice seekers capture her heart. Sugar, will you be my confidante?

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Derek United States 08-09-13
    Derek United States 08-09-13 Member Since 2006
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    "Very Disappointing"
    What could have made this a 4 or 5-star listening experience for you?

    Don't think it could have been.


    What could Cheryl Strayed have done to make this a more enjoyable book for you?

    Used much, much less vulgar language.


    Have you listened to any of Cheryl Strayed and Steve Almond (intro) ’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

    I listened to WILD and loved it.


    What reaction did this book spark in you? Anger, sadness, disappointment?

    Serious disappointment. Did not even make it through the first half of the book.


    Any additional comments?

    Wish I could get my credit back!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
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