Monday, June 10, 2013
Tiny Beautiful Things by Cheryl Strayed
I read this one for my women's book club. I'd heard of Cheryl Strayed from her book Wild. But I didn't know she wrote for an advice column. That's where this book comes from. This book contains letters from people asking her advice and her responses. She also throws in a lot of life stories, so I'd almost call it a mini memoir.
It's pretty fabulous. I only have a couple of gripes that I'll throw out quickly. Her advice never really takes into account mental illness, but she does make it clear that she is not a psychologist/therapist and that her advice is opinion only in the introduction. I also realize that the people she gives her advice to wrote into her asking for her advice...But still. There's quite a bit of "have some will power and get off your lazy duff and if I can do it so can you" rhetoric. Some was needed and others? Well.....and the If I can do it, you can too is a bit much towards the end...
But really and truly most of her advice is pretty fabulous. She really talks about making the most of your life no matter what you've been through. That's powerful and much needed.
I'm just going to post a few of my favorite quotes throughout the book for the rest of my review :)
A woman who lost her baby six months into her pregnancy writes in about how to get through her grief, how to get unstuck.
(p. 22) "This is how you get unstuck...you reach. Not so you can walk away from the daughter you loved but so you can live the life that is yours--the one that includes the sad loss of your daughter, but is not arrested by it. The one that eventually leads you to a place in which you not only grieve her, but also feel lucky to have had the privilege of loving her."
Advice in love: (p. 18) "...Don't be strategic or coy. Strategic and coy are for jackasses. Be brave. Be authentic. Practice saying the word 'love' to the people you love so when it matters the most to say it, you will."
"Whatever happens to you belongs to you. Make it yours. Feed it to yourself even it feels impossible to swallow. Let it nurture you, because it will." (p. 133)
"When it comes to our children, we do not have the luxury of despair. If we rise, they will rise with us every time, no matter how many times we've fallen before. I hope you will remember that the next you fail." (p. 348)
This is definitely my favorite of 2013 so far.