i love reading advice columns. Prudie, Cary Tennis, Miss Manners. i wish i had known that Strayed/Sugar was writing an advice column when she was still writing it–i would have been refreshing that page rabidly when each new column was due.
why? because Strayed is such a fabulous writer, and such a warm, generous, compassionate, thoughtful, funny, no-bullshit person. how do i know that? because i read, and still haven’t gotten over, her autobiography Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail.
let me tell you: as a human, you owe it to yourself to read one or the other of these books, or both. but ‘none’ is not an option.
Strayed seems not only to have led a heavily examined life, but has made so much more of that examination than merely collecting bellybutton lint. she has taken her shitty, coal-based experiences and turned them into diamonds; she has learned to have the good sense to revel in the sunshine-based experiences with a clear heart. she seems equally able to look at herself and to look at others with kindness, but is no one’s patsy, and no one’s enabler. it’s a wondrous tightrope walk and Strayed does it to perfection.
the advice-column business lost a great one when Strayed quit. and fortunately we have these collected letters… but since Strayed went on to write Wild, i think we can all live with it.