Dear Sugar,

Dear Sugar,

I stumbled upon your book, Tiny Beautiful Things, by accident. I didn’t think I would buy it at first. It just didn’t seem like it was up my alley.

When I was younger, I’d gone through this massive Chicken Soup for the Soul phase. We had several editions at home, and I remember reading them cover to cover. I’m not sure when, but as I grew up, I found that I had gradually stopped reading them. They started feeling a little trite after so many rereads, and everyone’s story seemed so much more than my own. More interesting, more upsetting, more significant, more worthwhile.

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When I saw your book, I associated it with Chicken Soup. My next thought was, immediately, that I wasn’t keen on the idea of what basically sounded like an advice column book. I think I ultimately chose to buy Tiny Beautiful Things over another book because it was cheaper. College life, go figure, right?

It sat with me for a couple weeks, untouched. And then — a lot of things in my life changed, abruptly, all at the same time.

I picked up your book then, Sugar. I don’t know what compelled me. But I did.

I’ve always known that I was an easy crier. I know this as a fact, and sometimes when I’m in need of a good cry, I’ll be honest — I’ll go on YouTube and find the saddest videos and have myself a nice, proper cry for a few minutes and everything will be fine again. (That didn’t sound as bizarre when it was just in my head.) I digress —

Easy crier I may be, but Sugar, you made me cry. I don’t know how many damn tissues I went through, but truly, Sugar. I cried. My trash can had all the evidence.

Reading all those letters you wrote to all these people didn’t sadden me. No, I wasn’t crying because I was sad. I think — I think I was crying because I was relieved. I was just so completely and utterly relieved that, yes, yes, someone had advice for me. And it was #realtalk advice: the type that your friends and family sometimes don’t even want to say because it’s going to feel like a slap in the face when you’re already on your knees struggling to stand.

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It hurt to read all your replies, Sugar, because we all know the truth often hurts the most. But reading them and knowing that I had to do it, that I had to get through it, and damn it all, that I could get through it — that was relieving.

You loved and supported me — all of us — with your open heart, open arms, and open mind without a stitch of judgment. Thank you for that, Sugar. Mr. Sugar is a very, very lucky man.

Thank you for providing your advice on love, on life, on graduating with a degree in English, on what you’d tell your 20-something-year-old self.

I hope all these letter writers have felt just as supported and loved as I have. I hope they’re all doing much better now. I hope they’ve resolved their problems, or are resolving their problems, and are happier now, because you have definitely helped me place my feet back on the right path, and I didn’t even write a letter to you.

I’m sorry I didn’t choose your book first. We, English majors, preach this all the time — Don’t judge a book by its cover. (Or its back cover?) — but I know we all find it just as hard to practice as the next person. I’m sorry I misjudged your book.

It’s now the only book I’ve marked up outside of class.

All the best,
Yours truly

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