- Release Date: July 10th 2012
- Genre: Essay Collection / Self Help
- Hours: 9 hours and 41 minutes
- Publisher: Random House Vintage
- Triggers: Child abuse
Cheryl Strayed is probably best known for Wild, the story of her journey hiking the Pacific Crest Trail, which kicked off Oprah’s Book Club 2.0 and was recently released as a film with Reese Witherspoon. I feel like a couple years ago I heard her name sprinkled through every literary website and podcast I subscribed to, so when I saw this audio on Overdrive I checked it out.
The set up for this book takes some explaining. It’s a collection of advice columns from when Strayed wrote an advice column on the culture website, The Rumpus under the pseudonym Dear Sugar. For each question, he usually picks a story from her past to illuminate her advice. Strayed has had such an interesting and full life and her stories are captivating. She’s brutally honest about herself and doesn’t hold anything back, she shows quite a bit of vulnerability with her readers and I think that’s why the columns were so popular.
I’d heard so much praise for this collection, but I wasn’t sure it would be for me. I didn’t really know what I was getting into when I started, but I really enjoyed this audiobook overall. Strayed’s mix of memoir through advice is fun. Strayed does the audio and I think hearing her voice gets across some of her intention in her responses to advice seekers. Like she calls her readers sweet pea and when you read it it can sound condescending, but the way she reads it it sounds more affectionate.
This is definitely a coffee table book to be picked up and read in pieces. You can skip around the essays because they weren’t written in any specific order. I think this book showed up on a lot of lists every grad/women/person should read and I kind of agree. While I couldn’t relate to everything there were always something I could grasp on to.
This book is great for a YA audience because while they may not be able to relate to her stories they can use her advise for later. It’s perfect for maybe high school or college grads.
I have noticed that the original columns are still available on TheRumpus.net archives. If you want to get a flavor of the book a few I’d recommend are
Dear Sugar is coming back as a podcastwith Cheryl Strayed andwriter Steve Almond who was Dear Sugar before Strayed on 12/15 !
I’m a lifelong reader who started blogging about YA books in 2011 but now I read in just about every genre! I love YA coming of age stories, compelling memoirs and genre bending SFF. You can find me talking all things romance at Romance and Sensibility.