Tiny Beautiful Things: Advice On Love And Life From Dear Sugar

Paperback | July 10, 2012

byCheryl Strayed

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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.

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From the Publisher

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 B...

Cheryl Strayed is the author of Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail and the novel Torch. Her stories and essays have been published in The New York Times Magazine, The Washington Post Magazine, Vogue, Allure, The Rumpus, The Missouri Review, The Sun, The Best American Essays, and elsewhere. She lives in Portland, Oregon.

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Format:PaperbackDimensions:368 pages, 7.97 × 5.17 × 0.8 inPublished:July 10, 2012Publisher:Knopf Doubleday Publishing GroupLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0307949338

ISBN - 13:9780307949332

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Rated 4 out of 5 by from Pick this book up! Everyone who decides to pick this book up with get something different out of it, some inspiring tidbit will most certainly be shared with you. At first, the concept of this book was seemingly not my cup of tea (help column? no thank you!) but after reading only the first page I was completely hooked. Cheryl Strayed’s responses to the folks writing to her help column are both brutal and poetic. The harrowing personal experiences she weaves into her responses as ‘Sugar’ are lyrical and profound. She surprises you by beginning a response with something that seems so completely off topic and then brings it all together to show her depth as a writer and a human being. The letters being addressed to Sugar will make you realize you are not alone in whatever struggle you may be experiencing/have experienced, and Strayed’s responses will fill you with hope and insight, and hopefully inspire you re-evaluate how you see yourself and others.
Date published: 2016-03-07
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Tiny beautiful things to cherish forever I imagine reading "Tiny Beautiful Things" is akin to having an intimate conversation with Cheryl Strayed. Just when you think you know what she sort of advice she would be doling, Strayed surprises you with some personally insightful guidance on taking the path you might not have thought of going down. There is judgement but it comes from a genuine place that challenges the reader to see and think through in order to make a better, more sensible decision. I literally had to stop and dog-ear every few pages because of how rich the words she shares are. Articulate, honest, personable, inspiring – these nuggets of advice are indeed tiny beautiful things I'll cherish forever.
Date published: 2016-01-05
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Profound Tiny Beautiful Things is the best self-help, advice book I've ever read and I've read a lot in my sixty-eight years. Profound, witty and beautifully written!
Date published: 2016-01-03
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Simple advice about the hard choices of life Dear Sugar, Thank you for writing a book full of shatteringly beautiful truths about ourselves. Your Reader.
Date published: 2015-10-13
Rated 5 out of 5 by from 'Love it! An absolutely wonderful book!
Date published: 2015-01-13

Extra Content

Read from the Book

From the INTRODUCTION by Steve Almond  I Was Sugar Once: Lessons in Radical Empathy   Long ago, before there was a Sugar, there was Stephen Elliott. He had this idea for a website, which sounds pretty awful, I admit, except that his idea was really to build an online community around literature, called The Rumpus. Being a writer himself, and therefore impoverished, Stephen prevailed upon his likewise impoverished writer friends to help.   And we, his friends, all said yes, because we love Stephen and because (if I may speak for the group) we were all desperate for a noble-seeming distraction. My contribution was an advice column, which I suggested we call Dear Sugar Butt, after the endearment Stephen and I had taken to using in our email correspondence. I will not belabor the goofy homoeroticism that would lead to such an endearment. It will be enough to note that Dear Sugar Butt was shortened, mercifully, to Dear Sugar.   Handing yourself a job as an advice columnist is a pretty arrogant thing to do, which is par for my particular course. But I justified it by supposing that I could create a different sort of advice column, both irreverent and brutally honest. The design flaw was that I conceived of Sugar as a persona, a woman with a troubled past and a slightly reckless tongue.   And while there were moments when she felt real to me, when I could feel myself locking into the pain of my correspondents, more often I faked it, making do with wit where my heart failed me. After a year of dashing off columns, I quit.   And that might have been the end of Sugar had I not, around this time, come across a nonfiction piece by Cheryl Strayed. I knew Cheryl as the author of a gorgeous and wrenching novel called Torch. But reading this essay, a searing recollection of infidelity and mourning, filled me with a tingling hunch. I wrote to ask if she wanted to take over as Sugar.   It was an insane request. Like me, Cheryl had two small kids at home, a mountain of debt, and no regular academic gig. The last thing she needed was an online advice column for which she would be paid nothing. Of course, I did have an ace in the hole: Cheryl had written the one and only fan letter I’d received as Sugar.   ***   The column that launched Sugar as a phenomenon was writ- ten in response to what would have been, for anyone else, a throwaway letter. Dear Sugar, wrote a presumably young man. WTF, WTF, WTF? I’m asking this question as it applies to everything every day. Cheryl’s reply began as follows:     Dear WTF,   My father’s father made me jack him off when I was three and four and five. I wasn’t any good at it. My hands were too small and I couldn’t get the rhythm right and I didn’t understand what I was doing. I only knew I didn’t want to do it. Knew that it made me feel miserable and anxious in a way so sickeningly particular that I can feel that same particular sickness rising this very minute in my throat.     It was an absolutely unprecedented moment. Advice columnists, after all, adhere to an unspoken code: focus on the letter writer, dispense the necessary bromides, make it all seem bearable. Disclosing your own sexual assault is not part of the code.   But Cheryl wasn’t just trying to shock some callow kid into greater compassion. She was announcing the nature of her mission as Sugar. Inexplicable sorrows await all of us. That was her essential point. Life isn’t some narcissistic game you play online. It all matters—every sin, every regret, every affliction. As proof, she offered an account of her own struggle to reckon with a cruelty she’d absorbed before she was old enough even to understand it. Ask better questions, sweet pea, she concluded, with great gentleness. The fuck is your life. Answer it.   Like a lot of folks, I read the piece with tears in my eyes— which is how one reads Sugar. This wasn’t some pro forma kibitzer, sifting through a stack of modern anxieties. She was a real human being laying herself bare, fearlessly, that we might come to understand the nature of our own predicaments.   ***   I happen to believe that America is dying of loneliness, that we, as a people, have bought into the false dream of convenience, and turned away from a deep engagement with our internal lives—those fountains of inconvenient feeling—and toward the frantic enticements of what our friends in the Greed Business call the Free Market.   We’re hurtling through time and space and information faster and faster, seeking that network connection. But at the same time we’re falling away from our families and our neighbors and ourselves. We ego-surf and update our status and brush up on which celebrities are ruining themselves, and how. But the cure won’t stick.   And this, I think, is why Sugar has become so important to so many people. Because she’s offering something almost unheard of in our culture: radical empathy. People come to her in real pain and she ministers to them, by telling stories about her own life, the particular ways in which she’s felt thwarted and lost, and how she got found again. She is able to transmute the raw material of the self-help aisle into genuine literature.   I think here of the response she offered a man wrecked by his son’s death, who asked her how he might become human again. “The strange and painful truth is that I’m a better person because I lost my mom young,” she wrote. “When you say you experience my writing as sacred what you are touching is the divine place within me that is my mother. Sugar is the temple I built in my obliterated place.”   In this sense, Tiny Beautiful Things can be read as a kind of ad hoc memoir. But it’s a memoir with an agenda. With great patience, and eloquence, she assures her readers that within the chaos of our shame and disappointment and rage there is meaning, and within that meaning is the possibility of rescue.   ***