Tiny Beautiful Things by Cheryl Strayed

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I am not a mushy person. I’m cold, practical, and a bit callous. But maaaaan, you guys – this book broke my heart a million times.

Cheryl Strayed used to write as Sugar for the “Dear Sugar” advice column on The Rumpus website (I looked, and it doesn’t appear to be active anymore… but I could be wrong). So this book is a collection of some of the letters she received and her responses. Some of the things that people wrote in were horrifying and heartbreaking and awful, and her responses were usually beautiful, reasonable, articulate, and full of compassion. I listened to the audiobook on Scribd which took me about a month (it’s a little over 9 hours long I think) and hearing her read everything out loud was a really great experience. Some pieces made me tear up – one in particular struck close to home and might have made me ugly-cry just a little bit.

That’s basically it – the book was wonderful, and I’m going to buy myself a paper copy to peruse. Major thanks to Kati at Bookish Realm for writing about it being so good – I don’t know if I would have trusted anyone else’s opinion because we both tend to be a little cold-hearted I think. This is one of those books that might be a perfect recommendation for everyone – listen to it or read it and see for yourself.

Leaving you with some great quotes:

“It is impossible for you to go on as you were before, so you must go on as you never have.” 

“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. Be true blue.”

“No’ is golden. ‘No’ is the kind of power the good witch wields. It’s the way whole, healthy, emotionally evolved people manage to have relationships with jackasses while limiting the amount of jackass in their lives.” 

“Fucked-up people will try to tell you otherwise, but boundaries have nothing to do with whether you love someone or not. They are not judgments, punishments, or betrayals. They are a purely peaceable thing: the basic principles you identify for yourself that define the behaviors that you will tolerate from others, as well as the responses you will have to those behaviors. Boundaries teach people how to treat you, and they teach you how to respect yourself.” 

“You don’t have to get a job that makes others feel comfortable about what they perceive as your success. You don’t have to explain what you plan to do with your life. You don’t have to justify your education by demonstrating its financial rewards. You don’t have to maintain an impeccable credit score. Anyone who expects you to do any of those things has no sense of history or economics or science or the arts.

You have to pay your own electric bill. You have to be kind. You have to give it all you’ve got. You have to find people who love you truly and love them back with the same truth. But that’s all.” 

“The best thing you can possibly do with your life is to tackle the motherfucking shit out of it.” 

 

~Sarah

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