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

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4.30  ·  Rating details ·  51,683 ratings  ·  5,878 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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4.30  · 
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 ·  51,683 ratings  ·  5,878 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
Julie Christine
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
...more
Ariel
This was a gift from my friend Estée, so since I didn't pick this out for myself I really didn't know what to expect. I started flipping through it randomly and discovered that it was a series of advice columns! Dozens of letters starting with "Dear Sugar" and then telling a life problem, followed by Sugar's (Cheryl Strayed) response.

And you know, you might think you know what you're getting into with an advice column, but I promise you don't. The advice here, and the way that Sugar delivers the
...more
Esil
Feb 15, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: audiobook
Thoughts on Tiny Beautiful Things:

-Thank goodness for Goodreads and some great reviews of this book by Goodreads friends because otherwise I would never have picked this one — not in a million year — no way!
-The audio is perfect.
-The audio is frustrating because I found myself wanting to underline so many sentences, but how do you underline an audiobook?
-Almost always, I felt like Sugar finds just the right words to give the advice I would to want give.
-Almost always, I felt like Sugar finds ju
...more
Thomas
Feb 10, 2015 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
...more
Jan Priddy
Jul 24, 2012 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
...more
Elyse Walters
Mar 24, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Audiobook
Cheryl was terrific to listen to.

I listened to the audiobook a little here and there.
Not all questions to “Dear Sugar” were particularly complicated- but some were - requiring some serious thinking into the problem solving process.
I enjoyed studying the way Cheryl work.
I liked her basic common sense. When presented with a question- it’s clear she examined it from all angles before giving her response.
She gave excellent advice to people.
I like how Cheryl loves people.
I liked her
...more
Kelli
Jun 30, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I finished this in July 2017 and when I wrote my year in review, I realized that I had never properly reviewed it. Initially I was planning to write my review as a letter to Dear Sugar, but I couldn’t decide whether I should write an apology (I didn’t love Wild and I expected to loathe this), a confession, a love letter, or a thank you note. Six months later I’ve decided it doesn’t matter how I say this, so long as I do.
From the brilliant introduction to the very last word, this is unexpectedly
...more
Debbie
Mar 27, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Dear Sugar,

You need to help me here—your book made me a schizo mess! Sometimes I loved it, sometimes I hated it. Both sides very vocal. I'm so whacked, I can't even guarantee that my rating won't change.

I went into this thinking I would love you. Two trusted Goodreads friends thought I would and they’re hardly ever wrong. Besides, I’m a sucker for letters; they’re just so intimate. But I secretly and stubbornly had my doubts, because I completely hated your book of affirmations, Brave Enough. An
...more
JanB
Apr 12, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2019-reads, audiobook
Oh how I loved this book! It was exactly the right book at the right time. I love that Cheryl Strayed narrates the book herself. She's easy and enjoyable to listen to. And while a few of the letters/advice given didn't strike a chord, overall the book touched me deeply. The author had a troubled childhood and a hard life as a young adult so she is speaking out of hard-won knowledge and enormous empathy for the readers who sent in the questions for her Dear Sugar advice column.

Rather than say any
...more
jv poore
I could tell you that Dear Sugar is an advice column, and technically, that would be true. More accurately, though, Dear Sugar is to an advice column what a home-made-straight-from-the-oven-chocolate-chip cookie is to a vanilla wafer.

Cheryl Strayed, aka “Sugar”, is a fascinating, compassionate, outstanding person. She doesn’t read the letters that are written to her. She absorbs them. She mulls them over. She lets the questions stew in her mind. Only then, does she write her heart out in a respo
...more
Cheri
Jan 26, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2018, library-book
”Everyday is so wonderful
Then suddenly
It's hard to breathe
Now and then I get insecure
From all the pain
I'm so ashamed

“No matter what we do
No matter what we say
We're the song inside the tune
Full of beautiful mistakes
And everywhere we go
The sun will always shine”


-- Beautiful – Christina Aguilera, lyrics by Linda Perry

I’ve wanted to read this since I saw the movie, “Wild,” advice from a woman who clearly went through a lot of her life reacting to the ugly stuff life had thrown at her, and when
...more
Julia
Aug 08, 2012 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
Victoria
May 04, 2018 rated it it was amazing
After numerous recommendations and some stellar reviews, I finally decided to give Sugar (aka Cheryl Strayed) a go with this compilation of advice from her online column and in a word…phenomenal! Sugar dolls out advice from a painful life, a life of mistakes, of coming out on the other side, and her disclosures and what she lays bare will often leave you speechless. But it is her compassion and kindness, her lack of judgment yet with a healthy dose of straight talk, that won me over.

I listened t
...more
Vanessa
May 03, 2018 rated it really liked it
“Sugar might be tender but she doesn’t sugarcoat” aptly sums up this book.

Making sense of our irrational fears, indecision’s, hurts and pain.
Sugar a.k.a Cheryl Strayed in the form of a advice consultant (sounds better than a columnist) gives practical but real advice while also giving pieces of herself sharing many of her own experiences to make this book absolutely devastating, hopeful and heartwarming.
Melissa
Dec 07, 2012 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Have you ever sought advice from a girlfriend, only to have her go on for two hours about her own life and her problems, and you leave going, "Did that just happen? Maybe SHE'S the one who needs to seek advice."

That's how I felt reading this. Good God, this woman likes to talk about herself. The "Dear Sugar" column is not advice. It's memoir writing. She gives some cute little quippy note about how she's totally unqualified to give advice, and I don't disagree with that. Because in all these an
...more
Diane
Jul 04, 2012 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
...more
Rivka
Jul 09, 2012 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
☮Karen
I'd have to say that the title Tiny Beautiful Things is a bit of a misnomer for this book. There is nothing tiny about the human problems brought out in the letters that Cheryl Strayed received while writing the Dear Sugar column, and nothing tiny about the answers she returns. What she writes is not really advice so I hesitate to call it an advice column. She eloquently reminds many of the troubled souls to read their own letters back to themselves to glean the answers that they seek. She very ...more
Glenn Sumi
Jan 02, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
Way more than a self-help book, Strayed's (Wild) collection of advice columns written under the pen name "Sugar" draws generously on her own colourful life and is written with heart, soul, humour, wisdom and something that seems in short supply these days: empathy.

At first, I found Strayed's little endearments - "sweet pea," "honeybun," etc. - cloying and rather overly familiar. But I got used to them. They're part of her voice.

I'll admit it: some columns made me tear up so bad. Others made me g
...more
Melanie
After wavering about how to rate this I've decided on three ("I liked it" on my scale). It was way too long for me. I listened to this on audio. I never have to drive very far so it seemed to last forever.

Some of these letters were so heartbreaking; the one of the son who's parents disowned him because of being gay and the one who's son was killed by a drunk driver. Her advice there was wonderful. The letters regarding people who cheat in their marriages, love life problems, etc., I didn't real
...more
Cathrine ☯️
4.5 🍭🍭🍭🍭s
Cheryl certainly had her A game going on when she was writing this column and frankly I’m a bit surprised how much I liked it—reason being I figured it would be more appropriate for readers far younger than myself. While that was true for many of the problems and issues submitted for her consideration it did not detract much from my pleasure in listening to this audio version read by the author. Truth: I could have used some of her wisdom-from-experience during my own youthful years (ok
...more
Lightreads
Nov 19, 2012 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
...more
Margitte
Nov 09, 2014 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
...more
Bianca
Where did my review go? I posted it last night and now it's gone ... Hmm. When will I learn and start writing my reviews in Word and not directly on GR?

Here we go again.

I wouldn't have picked this to read had it not been for the raving reviews of a few GR friends, so many thanks to Esil, Glenn, Elyse and Cheri for the direct and indirect prompt.

I chose to listen to the audiobook and it was just perfect, as it was narrated by Cheryl Strayed herself.

I knew early on that this book was going to kill
...more
Catherine
It’s hard to think of the perfect thing to say that would accurately convey what this book has done to me but the one thing that I know for certain is that it was life-altering. I’m better for having read this, and that, to me, is what all the best books do—they make you feel changed for the better.

This book is a compilation of advice columns answered by a woman who goes by the name, ‘Sugar’. It is what the title says it is—advice on life and love—but for almost the whole book, I wondered why it
...more
Emily
Jun 20, 2013 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
...more
Nette
Aug 06, 2012 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.
KJ Grow
Jul 02, 2012 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
...more
Kress
Sep 29, 2012 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
...more
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Paper & Glam Book...: November 2017: Tiny Beautiful Things 15 135 Nov 30, 2017 03:04PM  
Mentor Texts: Mentor Texts 1 13 May 09, 2016 05:32AM  
The Reading Drago...: Dear Sugar 1 27 Apr 23, 2014 11:52PM  

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8,970 followers
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: http://www.cherylstrayed.com/
“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.” 885 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.” 647 likes
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