Tiny Beautiful Things: Advice on Love and Life from Dear Sugar - Cheryl Strayed I never read Dear Sugar on The Rumpus. I read [b:Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail|12262741|Wild From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail|Cheryl Strayed|http://d.gr-assets.com/books/1354159655s/12262741.jpg|17237712] and enjoyed it, and had heard that the Dear Sugar book was good, but was pretty much completely unprepared for this book.

I'm having a hard time writing this review, because there are so many things I want to say. So, a few random thoughts:

I cried twice. At one point I had to literally put the book down and walk away from it. And stay away for a couple of days. My response was that visceral.

It's not a book to check out from the library. You need to read these pieces slowly, over time. It doesn't work well to read a bunch in one sitting, because the responses can start to feel a bit repetitive. They're all good responses, but the way she handles each can feel a bit repetitive when read in bulk. It can also start to feel like a bit too much to deal with. These are often really painful letters, and her responses can be really painful as well.

Sugar's responses distill down to Love yourself so fiercely that you can move past your deepest fear. Trust yourself. You think you'll never be loved ever again? So what. Love yourself enough to leave your abuser. You're worth too much to stay. You know that, and you need to act upon it even if it scares the baloney out of you.

She's fiercely loving and brutally honest at the same time. She tells stories that hurt. She uses them to illustrate some ugly, beautiful, life-changing truths.

I've read reviews that say she tells too many personal stories, but I would disagree. Again, if you read too many at once it can get to be a bit too much, so don't do that. I think her stories are useful and meaningful. And clearly, her readers from The Rumpus have appreciated them.

The other criticism I've read is that she's too simplistic. I would agree that in some instances she's not taking into account some of the finer details. While it's true that someone with an addiction can benefit from the group support of something like AA, I don't think she really understands what it's like to live in a small town. In small towns, you don't need to use the turn signal on your car because everyone knows where you're going. Not just at 8:30 on a weekday morning when you're going to work, but at 7:30 on a Wednesday night: everyone knows you're going to choir rehearsal at St. Mark's. That kind of familiarity means that going to AA is going to be public knowledge. Sure, tell the guy that he needs to get help with his addiction (as he knows, deep down, that he must), but there are complicating factors. In instances like the guy who's an addict, Sugar's responses are supportive and loving and beautiful to read, but perhaps a bit narrow.

Even with the minor faults, this is a beautiful, heart-wrenching and heart-healing book. It'll stay with you long after you're done reading, and you'll probably go back and re-read several times.

Warning: moderate use of F-bombs.