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.
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.
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,