Few times in my life have I read a book and been moved. I can count them all on one hand: My Sister’s Keeper, The Power of Now, The Art of Fielding, and, now, Tiny Beautiful Things: Advice on Love and Life from Dear Sugar.
Tiny Beautiful Things Advice on Love and Life from Dear Sugar, written by author Cheryl Strayed – many of you may know her from Wild, another fabulous book – is a collection of beautiful letters and even more beautiful responses from her time as advice columnist Dear Sugar. Rather than chapters, you read a culmination of letter to Dear Sugar, followed by her honest, thoughtful reply.
The letters, ranging on topics from cheating spouses, death, love, life, regrets, childhood traumas, and everything in between offer a complex look into the lives of those who trust Sugar most, and the replies are equally complex while sharing some of the most simple notions there are: that many times we must forgive ourselves when we seem unworthy of it, that those we love may hurt us, that our families aren’t all as picture perfect as we’d hoped, and we are all at risk of heart break.
Perhaps the most beautiful things about Tiny Beautiful Things are the raw, candid accounts of Sugar’s life, and why they allow her to offer the advice she does. Whether it’s sharing about her mother’s early death, her father’s abuse, her past of drug abuse and promiscuity, her relationship with Mr. Sugar, or the joy her children bring to her life, Sugar uses her life as lesson for those that crave her guidance.
For the first time in years I cried my eyes out while reading. Not at every chapter—some filled me with joy, led me to laugh— but some tore through my heart and made me want to leap through the pages to hug not only the person seeking advice, but Sugar for sharing such loaded words as well.
This is the type of book everyone can relate to, not during every story, but there is at least one nugget of information that you can step back from and say “she may has well have been writing that to me.” I had that feeling at least 15 times.
A perfect read for a day at the beach, a long flight, or a day in curled up with a cup of tea and a good book, I would highly recommend this to anyone who wants to look back and reflect. If there’s one lesson I learned while reading, it’s that we can all use a lesson from Dear Sugar.