My rating: 3 of 5 stars
I think reading this as a "book" is a bad idea. You should read it as you would have read her advice; once a week. Or even once a month. As a book, slamming these together back to back, you notice the repetitiveness. The recycling. The habits of language that are fresh and shocking but become tedious and banal after the fifth or sixth use.
So I took a while reading it. I'd pick it up here and there and dive in. Then dive back out again.
And, as such, I wouldn't say I enjoyed it. But it sure cut to the core of my thought process. In the introduction to the book, her former editor wrote, "I happen to believe that America is dying of loneliness, that we, as a people, have bought into the false dream of convenience, and turned away from deep engagement with our internal lives--those fountains of inconvenient feeling." Cheryl Strayed embraces the mess.
Consider this; "Love is the feeling we have for those we care deeply about and hold in high regard. It can be light as the hug we give a friend or heavy as the sacrifices we make for our children. It can be romantic, platonic, familial, fleeting, everlasting, conditional, unconditional, imbued with sorrow, stoked by sex, sullied by abuse, amplified by kindness, twisted by betrayal, deepened by time, darkened by difficulty, leavened by generosity, nourished by humor...the best thing you can possibly do with your life is tackle the motherfucking shit out of love."
Well, yes. But is that advice? No. That's philosophy. It's fucking GREAT philosophy. But the how isn't there. Just the what.
So there are no answers here. But there are myriad jumping-off points for considering your own questions again.
"The story of our human intimacy is one of constantly allowing ourselves to see those we love most deeply in a new, more fractured light."
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