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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

Critic Reviews

"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)

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What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Wise, wonderful, and beautifully written

I started listening to the Dear Sugars podcast about a year ago but somehow never felt compelled to read this book or Wild. Probably because if the whole world loves a book, the chances are that I’ll hate it (e.g., Eat, Pray, Love—which is probably my least favorite memoir of all time).

But then life took a turn for the worse as it is wont to do and I finally succumbed and spent the day in bed crying. I tried various audio books. Unable to concentrate, I decided it was time for Tiny Beautiful Things.

I was blown away—first, by the writing, which is beautiful. And I’m not what I call a “beautiful language” person. Second, by how whatever subject Strayed was giving advice about in essay form seemed to apply to me, to anyone. And I cried some more.

I listened to most of the book in one sitting. Or I guess I should say in one “lying.” And it made me feel a little better, a little less alone. I won’t forget that feeling.

6 of 6 people found this review helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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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.)

27 of 30 people found this review helpful

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Not as described

The descriptions indicated this was a funny while dark at time book that was ultimately inspiring. I guess that you could say that, but it is rarely funny. Very serious. Good to listen to if you are in need of a good cry, but a horrible casual listen. It's more of a self help book than expected.

5 of 5 people found this review helpful

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Loved it so much that I finally wrote a review

One of the best, most beautiful works I have ever listened to. Sugar is without a doubt the most lovingly truthful person I have ever heard.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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Very depressing

Got this book on a recommendation and found that when I listened to it on the subway to work I found myself hearing these stories of rape incest drugs and cheating to put me in the absolute worst mood- not what I thought it would I don't even want to Finish it quitting half way through for my own piece of mind. Would be good for someone dealing with these type of issues.

6 of 7 people found this review helpful

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The best

If you have ever suffered or went through a trauma then this is the book for you. An amazing read it reminds you of the human condition.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Laughing out loud, crying freely, clutching my heart.

This book moved me. Cheryl Strayed is an amazing woman, with amazing stories, and beautiful words. I will revisit this again and again. Salve for a broken, battered heart.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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Compassion and common sense

This is a delightful read: touching, funny, and wise. You don't have to agree with every piece of advice to enjoy the thought-provoking questions and responses from the Dear Sugar advice column.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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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.

3 of 4 people found this review helpful

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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.

3 of 4 people found this review helpful