- Publisher: Atlantic Books; Main edition (2001)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 9781782390695
- ISBN-13: 978-1782390695
- ASIN: 1782390693
- Product Dimensions: 5.1 x 0.9 x 7.8 inches
- Shipping Weight: 9.9 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 1,265 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,258,422 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Tiny Beautiful Things: Advice on Love and Life from Someone Who's Been There Paperback – 2001
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Life can be hard, your lover cheats on you, you lose a family member, you can't pay the bills. But it can be pretty great too, you've had the hottest sex of your life, you get that plum job, you muster the courage to write your novel. Everyday across the world, people go through the full and glorious gamut of life but sometimes, a little advice is needed. For several years, thousands turned to cheryl strayed, a then anonymous internet agony aunt. But unlike most agony aunts, this one's advice was spun from genuine compassion and informed by a wealth of personal experience - experience that was sometimes tragic and sometimes tender, often hilarious and often heartbreaking. Having successfully battled her own demons while hiking the pacific crest trail, cheryl strayed sat down to answer the letters of the frightened, the anxious, the confused and with each gemlike correspondence of which the best are collected in this volume she proved to be the perfect guide for those who had got a little lost in life.
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Strayed’s ability to elicit empathy and peace in even some of the darkest of stories is incredibly moving. At many points in the book I came up with a lake of epiphanies, and reinforced some pre-existing ones. I want to share them, but I’ll just lunge the few that made the tuning forks in my mind purr:
1. Guilt and shame, while closely inhibited, are very different things.
2. Sexual anxiety and jealousy are often guised as extreme monogamy
3. The questions you most often don’t want to ask are the ones that most often need answering.
4. We control very little. Thoughts, emotions, even logic and reason are unsolicited conditions that are ever changing.
5. Beliefs lag behind reality
You will laugh. You will cry; definitely cry. Make sure you keep a box of Sham-Wows nearby.
Why should I read this?
It will make you less of a bug buzzing intolerant poop-stick. It will make you realize your problems are not special. You will, without doubt, come across a letter that sounds like it was written by you, maybe slightly more or less extreme, and you will feel a part of yourself get soul-crushed and healed as you read the very sentences. It will show that you and the people around you are okay. It will bring you closer to the answer of what love is. It will make you question what love is. Wait.
How do I apply this to my life?
Empathy is the pipeline of trust, connection, and understanding in our relationships. You’ll nurture a greater sense of that with this book.
I picked up this book because I read Strayed’s “Wild” last month. These are very different books, but both are fantastic. Strayed can tell a story with the best of them, but in her advice column, her honesty about her own life becomes a powerful healer. She is right there, standing knee-deep in the muck of living, along with the people who wrote to her. Some of her replies are heart-breakingly beautiful, such as the one she wrote for the man whose son had been killed by a drunk driver. She was exactly the person to respond to his plea. It’s been a while since I have read a more cogent, down-to-earth application of resurrection theology than her chapter entitled “The Human Scale” in which she answers a woman begging for prayers to a god she isn’t sure she believes in. And, this is coming from a woman who says she does not believe in God. Her advice on sex and relationships is straight forward and unblinking. (Readers should be aware that the language in this book is adult-rated, written by an adult for adults.)
For Strayed, there is only one way to live and that is moving forward, taking responsibility for her own life. Over and over, she replied to her writers stuck in the bottom of some emotional pit that they were capable of getting themselves out and they were the only ones who could. Strayed shares plenty that lets the reader know this drive to move forward was a truth she earned the hard way. Her sympathy for those struggling through life and her willingness to use her own life as an human example is a powerfully gracious gift to the rest of us. Thank you, Cheryl Strayed.