Mar 20, 12
Read from March 18 to 19, 2012
I don't remember how I stumbled across Dear Sugar, just how lucky and moved I felt when I did. I read through the archives of her columns in a couple of days and then checked in each Thursday for the latest piece.
Like so many others on Goodreads, once I knew that Dear Sugar was Cheryl Strayed, I immediately sought out the work she did under that name. I read some essays online, and requested this book and her new memoir from my library. This book came in first.
This novel is about a woman who gets a terminal cancer diagnosis, and it follows her and her family as they struggle in their different ways to handle her illness, her death, and then the strange world without her.
It is clear to any Dear Sugar reader that this is based on the author's own life. It is thoughtful and moving, with some terrific turns of phrase. It is worth reading. But.
I did not find it as powerful as her Dear Sugar work, or in the essays she published as Cheryl Strayed, both of which came along after this (all the essays I've found thus far, that is). Her voice isn't as strong or as delicate here. I think that she had to write this novel, and am glad she did. I also think that she's gotten better as a writer as she's kept writing and writing and writing. Her memoir is going to be incredible.
I would give this novel 3-1/2 stars.