Bittersweet: Thoughts on Change, Grace, and Learning the Hard Way by Shauna Niequist
While reading Bittersweet I was torn between racing through the pages, as it was just so good, and trying to force myself to slow down and savor it.
There are some sections where it was all I could do to not highlight ever paragraph. The chapter on what we ate and why it matters read like a summary of her next book Bread & Wine, and it was fun seeing the seeds for the future book in this one. The chapter on the importance of friendship and prioritizing spending time with good friends was especially fantastic, and it seemed so appropriate that I read it while on a retreat with my book club friends!
I’m categorizing it as a memoir, because it is, sort of – the chapters are short vignettes telling pieces of her story, using her stories to illustrate the concept. It’s so hard to categorize it though, because it’s a book about growth, and parenting, and writing, and identity, and faith, and change, and grace, and really, just go read this book.
A warning though: if you can make it through the entire book without at least tearing up, you’re stronger than I am. The chapters “What Might Have Been” and “Crying in the Bathroom” both had me sobbing. You will probably want to keep that possibility in mind as you decide when and where to read this one.
In her follow-up book to Cold Tangerines: Celebrating the Extraordinary Nature of Everyday Life, author Shauna Niequist shifts her gaze to the challenges and blessings of change in Bittersweet. Drawing from her own experiences in a recent season of pain and chaos, she explores the bits of wisdom and growth we earn the hard way, through change, loss, and transition, and offers her own reflections on what brought her hope along the way.
If you’ve read my blog any length of time, you’ve likely heard me gush over Niequist’s newest book, Bread & Wine. If you’ve missed it so far, please go and read it. It’s very like Bittersweet, with the reflective essays, but the food connections are stronger, and the included recipes (at least the ones I’ve tried) are fabulous. I haven’t read her first book Cold Tangerines, mostly because I’m trying to hold off so I don’t read all three of her books in one year and then have to impatiently wait for something else from her.
To see all the books featured in 31 Days of Great Nonfiction, go to the series page.
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