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By Mel on 08-15-12
A Spoonful of Sugar
Always leary, am I, when non-clinicians start openly penning generalized advice (beyond dealing with biscuits that won't rise or resistant scuff marks) to people with problems that could be potentially serious or life-threatening--we don't need to look very far to see the inherent problems with such an approach. But after listening, I report that Miss Sugar is wise enough to always advise some medicine with her spoonful of sugar, and for the most part, in her essay-esque responses, directs her sweet peas toward professional counsel/support if needed. Miss Sugar is indeed wise, as well as compassionate and poetic. (*Strayed does have life-experience, obvious in her book Wild.)
This is an interesting mix -- author/advice columnist, novel/inspirational stories -- but just plugging it in and listening doesn't do it justice. In large doses the stream of advice-hidden-in-a-story becomes repetitive and more about the writer and creative writing than the problem. And with so many prose-filled personal stories, you begin to feel like this columnist not only yearns for the life of a novelist (funny thing), but also lived a life manufactured specifically for recalling and expending advice, which sometimes translates as too convenient, and unbelievable. [Imagine the hint-rich Heloise advising you.."I know mahogany can be problematic, and I'm sorry you have to deal with that hard and unfair fact, I also once owned a stubborn credenza... with a flowing perfect arc, move your cloud-like, lemon-scented cloth with the graceful grain of the wood on your credenza, becoming one with the oiled glistening panel of life recorded in those mahogany rings..." you get it.] But, Miss Sugar seems to pull up, just when you think she is going to drown the question in the reflective pool of her own life, and return to advising.
On the positive side, is the positive! Strayed is a good writer, and she uses those skills to be both entertaining and inspirational. Often in this book you will pick up some sparkling gems of wisdom. I was impressed with her good-karma emphasis on not only being a better person, but hoping for better for those around you, getting the whole team across the finish line. This would be a great book to pick up every day and read a passage, also a nice gift. Strayed does a good job narrating; I liked her voice work better here than on Wild. She still has that rock-hard edginess and no problem with dropping the F, or kicking pity-partiers off their asses--be prepared for some hard hitting--but nothing below the belt. Worthwhile listen; suggested enjoying in bits rather than one long session. (Another great pick up from this book...The Rumpus! A nice on-line magazine I intend on checking out more often, including the Miss Sugar column.)
24 of 27 people found this review helpful
By NMwritergal on 04-20-18
Wise, wonderful, and beautifully written
I started listening to the Dear Sugars podcast about a year ago but somehow never felt compelled to read this book or Wild. Probably because if the whole world loves a book, the chances are that I’ll hate it (e.g., Eat, Pray, Love—which is probably my least favorite memoir of all time).
But then life took a turn for the worse as it is wont to do and I finally succumbed and spent the day in bed crying. I tried various audio books. Unable to concentrate, I decided it was time for Tiny Beautiful Things.
I was blown away—first, by the writing, which is beautiful. And I’m not what I call a “beautiful language” person. Second, by how whatever subject Strayed was giving advice about in essay form seemed to apply to me, to anyone. And I cried some more.
I listened to most of the book in one sitting. Or I guess I should say in one “lying.” And it made me feel a little better, a little less alone. I won’t forget that feeling.
3 of 3 people found this review helpful