Tiny Beautiful Things: Advice on Love and Life from Dear Sugar Cheryl Strayed
This book is not the typical book that I share with you. It is filled with strong language and lots of talk about sex and sexual abuse. And the author states that she doesn’t believe in God. None of these things make this a bad book, in fact, I enjoyed this book. And what surprised me while I was reading it was how much sacredness was present in this book.
This book is a collection of emails sent to Dear Sugar who “gave advice” on TheRumpus.net. This was not your typical advice column. Dear Sugar shared her own triumphs and failures in her answers. She rarely tells the questioner what to do. With wisdom and compassion and the occasional kick in the backside, Dear Sugar helps most of her readers realize they knew what they needed to do before they even asked. They needed affirmation that what they felt inside was the right thing for them to do. She answers letters about miscarriages, and marriages that didn’t work, love triangles, betrayals, grief, life not happening as planned, and money.
I would recommend this book for people who don’t mind watching R-rated movies. This book has too much “foul” language for some people I know. I would recommend this book if you are ready to cry, laugh, and squirm in your reading chair as you read about people who are just like you and not exactly like you too.
And although she doesn’t believe in God, she has answers like this one where you can clearly see that she has grappled with the existence and nature of God. “Countless people have been devastated for reasons that cannot be explained or justified in spiritual terms. To do as you are doing in asking If there was a God, why would he let my little girl have to have the possibility of life-threatening surgery?–understandable as that question is–creates a false hierarchy of the blessed and the damned. To use our individual good or bad luck as a litmus test to determine whether or not God exists constructs an illogical dichotomy that reduces our capacity for true compassion. It implies a pious quid pro quo that defies history, reality, ethics, and reason. It fails to acknowledge that the other half of rising–the very half that makes rising necessary–is having first been nailed to the cross” (145).
“I supposed this is what I mean when I say we cannot possibly know what will manifest in our lives. We live and have experiences and leave people we love and get left by them. People we thought would be with us forever aren’t and people we didn’t know would come into our lives do. Our work here is to keep faith with that, to put it in a box and wait. To trust that someday we will know what it means, so that when the ordinary miraculous is revealed to us we will be there, standing before the baby girl in the pretty dress, grateful for the smallest things” (323).