Saturday, January 17, 2015

Tiny Beautiful Things

Tiny Beautiful Things: Advice on Love and Life from Dear SugarTiny Beautiful Things: Advice on Love and Life from Dear Sugar by Cheryl Strayed
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Sum it up in a sentence (or two): The subtitle pretty much says it: Advice on Love and Life from Dear Sugar.

First thoughts: There is a lot of love in this collection of letters--me to Strayed, Strayed (Sugar) to everybody.

Favorite quotes (and basically the rest of my review):

"You loathe yourself, and yet you're consumed by the grandiose ideas you have about your own importance. You're up too high and down too low. Neither is the place where we get any work done." p 58

"The story of human intimacy is one of constantly allowing ourselves to see those we love most deeply in a new, more fractured light. Look hard. Risk that." p 63

"...close your eyes and remember everything you already know. Let whatever mysterious starlight that guided you this far guide you onward into whatever crazy beauty awaits." p 130

"I hope when people ask you what you're going to do with your English and/or creative writing degree you'll say: 'Continue my bookish examination of the contradictions and complexities of human motivation and desire;' or maybe just: 'Carry it with me, as I do everything that matters.' And then just smile very serenely until they say, 'Oh.'" p 134

"Don't lament so much about how your career is going to turn out. You don't have a career. You have a life. Do the work. Keep the faith." p 351

"The useless days will add up to something." p352

Personal takeaway: BE HUMBLE. (Consider that as close as I'll get to One Little Word for 2015.)

Recommended for: sensitive souls, people going through transition, lovers, fighters, and dreamers.

Final thoughts: I loved Tiny Beautiful Things, but there was a point about 3/4 of the way through where I was like, man, this is emotionally exhausting. To read all of these heartfelt letters people have written Sugar--about falling in and out of love, loved ones dying, career troubles, affairs, sickness, etc, etc, etc--and then to read her equally heartfelt responses (filled with their own separate accounts of love and sex and death) was humbling and tiring. In their original form, they'd be spread out over weeks and months and perhaps less taxing than when read one after the other. Also, I'm really good at projecting myself into other people's lives and struggles. So many letters felt like they were written to me.

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