Cheryl Strayed (Atlantic) 2015, 132pp, $16.99
Strayed, who wrote the memoir Wild: A Journey From Lost To Found (which was, of course, filmed as just Wild with Reese Witherspoon), here offers a book even simpler than her Tiny Beautiful Things: Advice On Love And Life From Someone Who’s Been There: a collection of personal quotes, proverbs, thoughts, reflections and bits of psychological back-slapping for anyone who might be feeling a bit low (and hopefully won’t feel significantly lower after reading, due to a severe aversion to self-help-like books).
After an introduction in which Strayed suggests that you do everything “like a motherfucker”, we get down to the business of the quotes and such, and some of them are virtually epic and a page long while others barely take six or seven words. Try “Every last one of us can do better than give up”. Or “Work hard. Do good. Be incredible.” Or maybe the more challenging “No is golden. No is the power the good witch wields.” No! Really?
Considerably more irritating are the wordily profound entries here, and they’re frequently about love and sex (or “fucking”, as Strayed does enjoy getting coarse), and many could have been so much shorter. One, for example, warbles on about what to do when everyone around you is being “unkind or petty or jealous or distant or weird” and then highlights “Don’t own other people’s crap.”, which actually was all you needed to know.
Or did you? Evidently Strayed has devoted fans aplenty and they eat this kind of thing up, and they’re welcome to it as the rest of us go away and live our lives like a fucking motherfucker without her often infuriating assistance.
This title is available through the Allen & Unwin website. Click HERE to purchase your copy.