Cheryl Strayed’s Tiny Beautiful Things: advice on love and life from Dear Sugar collects together some of the best columns Strayed produced while writing the “Dear Sugar” column at the Rumpus. If you don’t know who Strayed is, she’s the woman behind the memoir Wild: from lost to found on the Pacific Crest Trail; Reese Witherspoon played her in the multiply-Oscar nominated movie adaptation Wild.
Dear Sugar tackles much more sensitive and emotionally complex territory than traditional advice columns, and the questions in this collection range from people asking for help figuring how to decide whether they will have children, and how to move forward after infidelity, to one particularly memorable letter from a troubled reader simply wanting to know “WTF, WTF, WTF? I’m asking this question as it applies to everything every day” (Excerpt from her answer: “Ask better questions, sweet pea. The f*** is your life. Answer it.”)
Strayed’s strength is in the way that responds to her readers’ vulnerability with radical vulnerability of her own, sharing her own darkest moments and greatest failures, gently providing perspective, and often getting to the unstated heart of readers’ questions. Regardless of whether any of the readers’ situations resonate with you, Strayed’s stunningly wise and radically empathetic approach to life, communicated through truly beautiful writing, almost can’t help but change the way you see the world.