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Tiny Beautiful Things: Advice on Love and Life from Dear Sugar
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Tiny Beautiful Things: Advice on Love and Life from Dear Sugar

4.28  ·  Rating Details ·  34,092 Ratings  ·  4,335 Reviews
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 t ...more
Paperback, 368 pages
Published July 10th 2012 by Vintage
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Amaka Great book, sublime read! I loved it and will recommend it to anyone and everyone.

Community Reviews

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Moira Russell
I wound up having slightly mixed feelings about this book. Other reviewers have already pointed out that Strayed spends far more time telling her own stories than offering any advice; the columns lose some of their punch without the comments; and, when gathered all in one place so they're read one after the other after the other, rather than spaced out over weeks or months, they tend to pall (the endearments like "sweet pea" especially start to grate). There's no question that Strayed is a real ...more
Dear Sugar,

I didn’t want to read your book. I don’t read advice columns as a matter of principle. Needy people, foolish people frustrate me. To read an entire book of advice column Q&A seemed about as necessary as professional football, with the same end result for this reader as for those players: heads bashing into unmovable objects.

But my book club selected it. Duty calls.

A bunch of shit happened in the three days I took to read your book. Like, universe is speaking to me shit.

The Fir
Jan Priddy
Aug 30, 2016 Jan Priddy rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
"There is no cure except to live the hell out of our lives, to take it apart, to put it back together, to dig it all up, and then fill the hole. To help ourselves and one another to the best of our abilities. To believe everything entirely, while also calling bullshit for what it is." - Cheryl Strayed as Dear Sugar on The Rumpus.

TINY BEAUTIFUL THINGS: ADVICE ON LOVE AND LIFE FROM DEAR SUGAR by Cheryl Strayed (2012) contains letters and advice first published in The Rumpus. About the time her fi
Jan 12, 2016 Thomas rated it it was amazing
New 2016 goal: become the gay, Asian, male version of Cheryl Strayed.

I kid you not, I thought I would hate this book. Everything about it turned me off. "Tiny beautiful things"? "Advice on love and life"? "Dear Sugar"? I prepared myself for saccharine and shallow commentary with a hint of pop psychology. I thought things like, "why does our society value beauty so much anyway?" Perhaps I projected my own budding passion for creative nonfiction - and thus, my nascent insecurity - onto Tiny Beauti
Julia Reed
Aug 08, 2012 Julia Reed rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
If I had my way, every person in America would read this book. You would get a copy when you were born, and your parents would read it to you after they'd finished with fairy tales and before tucking you in at night. You'd get another when you started elementary school, one at the beginning and end of middle school. You'd get one at age 13, 15, and 18. You'd take your copy on your first date and the person you'd chosen to first date with would bring their copy, and all first dates would be just ...more
Oct 26, 2014 Diane rated it it was amazing
I picked up this beautiful collection of advice columns because I had loved Strayed's memoir, Wild. But there are two things I need to tell you: First, this isn't for everyone. If you like the tough-love speak of self-help books or the writings of Elizabeth Gilbert, you will probably like this book.

Second, this isn't the kind of book you can read straight through, even if you wanted to. I would read several pages and then hit a passage that was so meaningful to me that I would have to put the b
Oct 27, 2012 Rivka rated it it was amazing
This is not going to be the review I expected to write. First: in fall 2010, a friend told me about "Write Like a Motherfucker" as we walked across Central Park after a writing group. Then: another friend and I would email on Thursdays right after the columns would post ("are you crying right now?"). I never had an urge to know Sugar's name because I knew who Sugar was and what I didn't know I filled in with what I knew about myself. The magic of Cheryl's writing is in the "me too"-ness of it, h ...more
Nov 19, 2012 Lightreads rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Warning: this review contains a lot of sperm.

So, a while back I was thousands of miles from home, lying on the guest bed in an all-wood flat on the second story of converted stables, a quick skip from a church that’s about 400 years older than my home country. I had my feet propped up on the wall, and an Instead Cup full of sperm stuck up inside me. I was tripping on some pretty serious adrenaline. Half of it was left over hilarity from an hour before when the originator of the sperm . . . misse
Dec 29, 2014 Margitte rated it it was ok
Sorry, but this is one of the most boring books I have ever read, with an equally highly boring review of it to follow!

But wait, it's not a badly-written book. IT IS A BESTSELLER AFTER ALL !! I am just not the right reader for it.

The book, a compilation of an online column in which 'Dear Sugar ' addresses the trials and troubles of people, is a hit for people who seeks emotional validation for just being themselves. The constant repeats for dramatic effect, and to stoke the emotional fires, just
Sep 03, 2013 Emily rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Dear Sugar,

I never knew I was writing you a letter. The entire time I read this collection, I thought I was experiencing other peoples' problems, traumas, hurt, sorrow, but also their joy, happiness, hope and optimism. It never occurred to me that my subconscious was collecting fragments of other peoples' letters and tying them into one angsty but optimistic letter of my own.

I have a beautiful life. Friends, family who love me, I'm smitten in my relationship, and I have sunshine in my life every
KJ Grow
Jul 11, 2012 KJ Grow rated it it was amazing
Oh geez, I'm only on the second letter and it was all I could do to keep myself from being a weepy mess on the subway this morning. Dear Sugar, how did your heart get so big? I love Steve Almond's characterization of her columns as works of "radical empathy". Already dazzled, looking forward to more.

Update upon finishing:
Five thousand stars. I love this book so much. SO much. I want to give it to every person I know so that we can have bigger hearts, live better lives and see each other and our
Feb 15, 2013 Kress rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Holy wow of all things good, this book should be a must read for all writers, thinkers, and humans trying to do more than simply eek out their existence.

I am so not an advice/self-help book kind of girl. I'm barely a memoir kind of girl, though there are some notable exceptions. But this book is all and none of the above. It's a genre-bending masterpiece.

Sugar sees the buried questions and stories and fears and desires embedded in the advice-seekers' narratives and lifts them in all their sad
Aug 06, 2012 Nette rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I gave a million stars to "Wild" but I don't like this book at all. Here's the pattern: someone asks for help in solving a life problem. "Sugar" responds by describing a vaguely similar situation from her own past (often much worse, as if to say, "You think THAT'S a problem, ya pansy?"). Then she calls the questioner "sweet pea" and "darling" about a hundred times and ends on a note of pithy inspiration. She makes Ann Lamott sound like Charles Bukowski.
Elizabeth A
Dec 28, 2015 Elizabeth A rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2013, non-fiction
First thing to know going in, is that this is not your mama's advice column of old. Second thing to know is that it works better if you look at each letter/response as a short story, and treat it that way. Read. Linger. Marinate. Pet the cat. Take a nap with said cat. Go for a walk. Read another letter. Repeat.

I read this book over a couple of months, dipping in and out, tapas style, and I honestly believe that the book loses its power if read in one sitting. Yes, some letter/response combinatio
Dec 21, 2012 Amanda rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
This was memoir writing. Not much of an advice column. Her responses seemed more like a platform for her to work through her own issues or showcase the processes by which she achieved some realization or enlightenment in her own life. The letters and her stories could sometimes be entertaining and her insights weren't always painfully obvious, but this book didn't do much more than annoy me.

I found the whole "Sugar" persona irritating. The excessive "sweet pea" and "honeybuns" endearments felt v
Jan 26, 2014 jeremy rated it it was amazing
despite this not normally being my proverbial cup of tea, cheryl strayed's tiny beautiful things was profound, moving, and frequently devastating. i'm quite fond of books that elicit strong emotion, but i cannot recall a work that evoked more tears and heartache than this one did so effortlessly. whereas great literature can easily compel me to forgo even the most basic responsibilities and obligations in the hopes of reading just one more chapter, so seldom does that happen with non-fiction. i ...more
As a former bookseller who sold like a billion copies of this book when it was first released, I avoided/hated it for a while, but reviews from friends convinced me to give it a try. 2015 has kicked my ass pretty hard, so I turned to it looking for comfort, wisdom, catharsis, etc etc. Not disappointed. Many tears. Strayed is shockingly emotionally intelligent and practical for someone without a background in a mental health field, but I suppose that can happen if you read deeply and open space i ...more
Kathy Penny
Aug 22, 2012 Kathy Penny rated it liked it
I like Strayed. She's someone I would like to go out and have dinner and a drink with.

In most cases, I like her advice. I just find it takes her a LONG, long time to get to it sometimes. She weaves a lot of her personal experience and stories in, which is great, but I did, on a few occasions, forget what the original question was.
I think Strayed's best work probably isn't advice columns, but I do look forward to more from her.
Jan 30, 2016 Hildy rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I have a book fairy.

It's true. He's a man in his 40s who works in the book industry and who came into my life about 3 years ago. I don't know him well, but he knows that I love to read and will throw me a book every once in a while. What I love most (besides the free books with no attachment) is that he gives me books that I would most likely never pick up on my own. In December, he handed me this book and said, "Read this. It's excellent. She's such a great writer." I'm not usually a reader of
Feb 17, 2015 Elizabeth rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
This was my "car book." I read it in snippets and in-between times. It was the perfect book for that. Easily accessible and I did not worry too much if I had to re-read or start again because most everything she wrote here begged to be read more than once. I could not believe how much Cheryl Strayed was willing to share with those that wrote her for advice! As an advice columnist she was so willing to go there in a way that I imagine most of us would not. She was so thoughtful in her responses a ...more
Jul 27, 2015 Kurt rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
My brother gave me this book under the same conditions by which he'd received it. I could keep it only if I promised to give it away to someone else when I finished. I see what he meant.

This blisteringly true book is a series of letters to a woman who has spent a lifetime learning how to love herself and those around her, and her responses are unrelenting in their commitment to love. To saying hard things, to hearing what a reader is really asking underneath an inane official question. To revea
Jeanette  "Astute Crabbist"
Jul 26, 2016 Jeanette "Astute Crabbist" rated it did not like it
Shelves: barf-bag
Bleeeeeeeecccch!! Dear Sugar, they call it. Dear Saccharine, says I. So self-absorbed and trite, it's appalling. I probably would have liked it when I was in my twenties, when I didn't know what real hardship was. Now it reads like a narcissistic memoir full of platitudes.
Nov 11, 2015 Chelsey rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favourites, 2015
I will recommend this to everyone. Always.
I’m convinced that books – like love – change something deep within us only when we’re open to its influence, only when it’s the right time. ‘Tiny Beautiful Things’ is the book I didn’t know I needed to read. And I’m better for having read it.

Strayed is magnificently gifted as a writer: her love and compassion dwell in the spaces between each word and every letter. She teases out the real questions posed (which are often very different or more difficult than the ones out-rightly asked) in each
Jenny (Reading Envy)
May 15, 2015 Jenny (Reading Envy) rated it really liked it
Shelves: read2015
I picked this up to read because I have really been enjoying Dear Sugar Radio. Dear Sugar started as an advice column on The Rumpus, a site I feel I should be paying more attention to. Back then, it started with Steve Almond as Sugar, and then became Cheryl.

Cheryl gives good advice, and shares a lot about her own life in the answers. It feels authentic and loving rather than clinical or hands-off. Sometimes she tells people directly when they need to change.

I prefer the radio show/podcast to t
Mar 30, 2016 Amy rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book was selected for my book club and I, honestly, would have never picked this book up if it had not been for that. This was an anonymous online advice column that Stray answered letters she received online under the name of Sugar.

The thing that made it so different is typically advice columnist do not interject their own stories and opinions into their advice, while Strayed wrote honestly about her own struggles in a way that was raw, gritty, and real. Shocking at times were her own str
Last weekend, I ran into an ex-boyfriend from high school unexpectedly. We are 30 this year, so it has been quite literally almost half of a lifetime since the last time we saw each other. When we met again and talked for hours, it felt as though nothing had changed between us. He still made me laugh, deeply so that my body shook. He still remembered my family, the home I grew up in, my childhood pets long gone. He'd taken up smoking and the hard muscles of his chest, built from running, had sof ...more
Feb 20, 2013 Corinne rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: audiobooks
Sometimes, when an author is all the rage, I'll read a book by said author and not enjoy it. This happens often. Sometimes, trying to understand the hype, I'll try another book by the author. That's my story when it comes to Cheryl Strayed. At least I can say I have an informed opinion when I say that I whole-heartedly disagree with the hype?

First, if Strayed's advice column under her alias of Sugar is helping people, that's great. Really, it is. That's important.

But, I wouldn't turn to this wo
One of the rarest moments in life is that impulse, upon finishing a book, to immediately start at the beginning and read it all over again. I did that with Life After God. I did that with Sun Also Rises. I did that with Life of Pi. And I'm now forcing myself to put down this book long enough to loan it to a friend and share the love rather than keep it all to myself.

Cheryl Strayed is one of the most effed up people I've encountered, and that makes her one of the most stable, wise, nurturing, bal
Sep 02, 2016 Teresa rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I read advice columns in the newspaper, even one on sewing -- and I don't sew. I think it's part of the compulsive reader I've been since I was a kid, even reading my mom's Emily Post and Dr. Spock-type books when I was a preteen.

Strayed reminds me a bit of the columnist Carolyn Hax whose advice is also lengthy and thoughtful. Strayed, however, adds her own story to every bit of advice, in such a way that is pertinent and empathetic. I teared up when reading her stories of being a 'youth advocat
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Mentor Texts: Mentor Texts 1 5 May 09, 2016 05:32AM  
The Reading Drago...: Dear Sugar 1 23 Apr 23, 2014 11:52PM  
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Cheryl Strayed is the author of four books: Tiny Beautiful Things, Torch, Brave Enough, and the #1 New York Times bestseller, Wild. She also co-hosts the hit podcast Dear Sugar Radio. You can find a listing of her events and answers to FAQ on her web site:
More about Cheryl Strayed...

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“Most things will be okay eventually, but not everything will be. Sometimes you'll put up a good fight and lose. Sometimes you'll hold on really hard and realize there is no choice but to let go. Acceptance is a small, quiet room.” 668 likes
“I'll never know, and neither will you, of the life you don't choose. We'll only know that whatever that sister life was, it was important and beautiful and not ours. It was the ghost ship that didn't carry us. There's nothing to do but salute it from the shore.” 501 likes
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