- Paperback: 256 pages
- Publisher: Zondervan; 1/24/13 edition (February 23, 2013)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0310335280
- ISBN-13: 978-0310335283
- Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.7 x 8.5 inches
- Shipping Weight: 8.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 386 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #64,900 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Bittersweet: Thoughts on Change, Grace, and Learning the Hard Way Paperback – February 23, 2013
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Niequist (Cold Tangerines) returns with an often humorous and always contemplative series of personal essays on bittersweet experiences, illustrating through her own life that 'rejoicing is no less rich even when it contains a splinter of sadness.' Spiritually, the book bravely sets out to decipher the paradoxically co-dependent nature of happiness and grief. But Niequist's title should not be seen as simply a convenient theological metaphor; it is also a literary device. Impressively, many of Niequist's perfectly concocted chapters weave in culinary themes, evoking the sensory, physical experience of the bittersweet along with the spiritual sense of it. When writing of deep friendship and the loss that sometimes accompanies it, her narrative often revolves around a dinner table, a cooking club, or a farmer's market. Niequist's ability to describe the sensation of eating a peppery arugula salad punctuated with sweet blueberries is just as evocative as her ability to express the intricacies of love, loss, hope, and doubt. Readers of all faiths will find this book courageous, sincere, poetic, and profound. There's nothing bitter in this sweet treat of a spiritual memoir. (July) -- Publishers Weekly, starred review (Publishers Weekly ) -- Publishers Weekly Writing with another tasty theme in mind, Niequist (Cold Tangerines) sees bittersweetness as 'the idea that in all things there is both something broken and something beautiful, that there is a sliver of lightness on even the darkest of nights, a shadow of hope in every heartbreak.' In Bittersweet: Thoughts on Change, Grace, and Learning the Hard Way, she shines light in that darkness, thanks to her own journey through change and heartbreak and questions and doubt, through her struggle to find good and God in the messiness of life. Niequist and her husband faced job changes, a move and miscarriages, all rendered here in the smooth language and deep honesty that defines her style as a writer. She's honest, too, about the good things- --Christian Retailing
This very personal book offers a modest, gentle, and, yes, bittersweet reflection on life and life-changing moments. In a collection of interweaving essays, Niequist provides an ode to all things bittersweet, to life at the edges, a love letter to what change can do in us. To Niequist, change is a good thing even if incredibly painful. In a short period of time, she became pregnant, lost a job she loved, had a baby, and wrote a book. She didn t lose her faith as much as lost track of it. These short pieces capture moments when her world seemed to be spiraling out of control. Stunned by the loss of her beloved grandmother, she discovers that the best way to honor her life is to live in simplicity and kindness. Bittersweet is full of such small but important lessons of daily living, about how to live life again after the brokenness. Niequist firmly believes that it is the stories of ordinary people that can make a difference in people s lives. There is nothing small or inconsequential about our stories, she concludes. There is, in fact, nothing bigger. --Booklist
BITTERSWEET: THOUGHTS ON CHANGE, GRACE, AND LEARNING THE HARD WAY provides an outstanding survey which maintains that to live a balanced life, we need both the bitter and the sweet. Bittersweet contains depth and complexity: it's offered in change and in recognition of spiritual gifts, and is presented here as a positive, moving force in any life. --The Midwest Book Review
About the Author
Shauna Niequist is the author of Cold Tangerines, Bittersweet, Bread & Wine and Savor. She is married to Aaron, and they have two wild and silly and darling boys, Henry and Mac. They live outside Chicago, where Aaron leads The Practice and is recording a project called A New Liturgy. Shauna also writes for the Storyline Blog, and for IF:Table, she is a member of the Relevant podcast, and a guest teacher at her church. Shauna’s three great loves are her family, dinner parties, and books, and she believes that vulnerable storytelling, hard laughter, and cold pizza for breakfast can cure almost anything.
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The book is just unsettling, in that Ms. Niequist is clearly upper-middle-class, very comfortable, and has not much of an idea of suffering beyond her own. I think that's what bothers me most about this book: it's meant to bring clarity and reason to its readers, but it comes off as more of a self-congratulatory journal.
All that being said, the book is also valuable for men too as an insight to women and how they might view marriage, children and jobs.
The best part of this book is Shauna's way with words summarizing a spiritual insight, connecting the holy and the ordinary.