In casually intimate prose and with literary grace, she creates moments of wise, compassionate insight in often startlingly personal miniature memoirs, cradling gentle but practical guidance with enough humor to cement Strayed’s presence as both a mentor and the most understanding of friends. Sugar can be tough and honest, but she’s never mean: in Sugar’s world, we all deserve love unconditionally, but also owe it to ourselves to be the best, most authentic selves we can be. For a regrounding in the beauty of what it means to be flawed and gorgeously human, for answers that feel real, Strayed’s caring essays offer surprisingly rich comfort.
But first, some history. As evidenced in her best-selling memoir Wild, now chosen as Oprah’s first pick for her revived book club, Cheryl Strayed has been deeply influenced in her writing by the death of her mom at a relatively young age. In Wild Strayed tells the story of her impulsive decision at the age of 26, following this loss as well as other life crises, to hike 1100 miles on her own. You can learn more about her emotional journey from the video below:
The new book gets its name from her column “Tiny Beautiful Things”—read just this piece and you’ll get a strong glimpse into her grief and related sense of regret.
Another, “You Have Arrived at the Fire,” can be read in its entirety here—first the letter from a despairing “Ashamed and Afraid” stutterer and then Sugar’s lengthy, well-considered, and helpful response.