Bittersweet: Thoughts on Change, Grace, and Learning the Hard Way [NOOK Book]

Overview

“The idea of bittersweet is changing the way I live, unraveling and re-weaving the way I understand life. Bittersweet is the idea that in all things there is both something broken and something beautiful, that there is a moment of lightness on even the darkest of nights, a shadow of hope in every heartbreak, and that rejoicing is no less rich even when it contains a splinter of sadness.

“It’s the practice of believing that we really do need both the bitter and the sweet, and ...
See more details below
Bittersweet: Thoughts on Change, Grace, and Learning the Hard Way

Available on NOOK devices and apps  
  • NOOK Devices
  • NOOK HD/HD+ Tablet
  • NOOK
  • NOOK Color
  • NOOK Tablet
  • Tablet/Phone
  • NOOK for Windows 8 Tablet
  • NOOK for iOS
  • NOOK for Android
  • NOOK Kids for iPad
  • PC/Mac
  • NOOK for Windows 8
  • NOOK for PC
  • NOOK for Mac
  • NOOK Study
  • NOOK for Web

Want a NOOK? Explore Now

NOOK Book (eBook)
$10.99
BN.com price

Overview

“The idea of bittersweet is changing the way I live, unraveling and re-weaving the way I understand life. Bittersweet is the idea that in all things there is both something broken and something beautiful, that there is a moment of lightness on even the darkest of nights, a shadow of hope in every heartbreak, and that rejoicing is no less rich even when it contains a splinter of sadness.

“It’s the practice of believing that we really do need both the bitter and the sweet, and that a life of nothing but sweetness rots both your teeth and your soul. Bitter is what makes us strong, what forces us to push through, what helps us earn the lines on our faces and the calluses on our hands. Sweet is nice enough, but bittersweet is beautiful, nuanced, full of depth and complexity. Bittersweet is courageous, gutsy, audacious, earthy.

“This is what I’ve come to believe about change: it’s good, in the way that childbirth is good, and heartbreak is good, and failure is good. By that I mean that it’s incredibly painful, exponentially more so if you fight it, and also that it has the potential to open you up, to open life up, to deliver you right into the palm of God’s hand, which is where you wanted to be all long, except that you were too busy pushing and pulling your life into exactly what you thought it should be.

“I’ve learned the hard way that change is one of God’s greatest gifts, and most useful tools. Change can push us, pull us, rebuke and remake us. It can show us who we’ve become, in the worst ways, and also in the best ways. I’ve learned that it’s not something to run away from, as though we could, and that in many cases, change is a function of God’s graciousness, not life’s cruelty.”

Niequist, a keen observer of life with a lyrical voice, writes with the characteristic warmth and honesty of a dear friend: always engaging, sometimes challenging, but always with a kind heart. You will find Bittersweet savory reading, indeed.

“This is the work I’m doing now, and the work I invite you into: when life is sweet, say thank you, and celebrate. And when life is bitter, say thank you, and grow.”
Read More Show Less

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Starred Review.

Niequist (Cold Tangerines) returns with an often humorous and always contemplative series of personal essays on bittersweet experiences, illustrating through her own life that "rejoicing is no less rich even when it contains a splinter of sadness." Spiritually, the book bravely sets out to decipher the paradoxically co-dependent nature of happiness and grief. But Niequist's title should not be seen as simply a convenient theological metaphor; i t is also a literary device. Impressively, many of Niequist's perfectly concocted chapters weave in culinary themes, evoking the sensory, physical experience of the bittersweet along with the spiritual sense of it. When writing of deep friendship and the loss that sometimes accompanies it, her narrative often revolves around a dinner table, a cooking club, or a farmer's market. Niequist's ability to describe the sensation of eating a peppery arugula salad punctuated with sweet blueberries is just as evocative as her ability to express the intricacies of love, loss, hope, and doubt. Readers of all faiths will find this book courageous, sincere, poetic, and profound. There's nothing bitter in this sweet treat of a spiritual memoir.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

Christian Retailing
Writing with another tasty theme in mind, Niequist (Cold Tangerines) sees bittersweetness as 'the idea that in all things there is both something broken and something beautiful, that there is a sliver of lightness on even the darkest of nights, a shadow of hope in every heartbreak.'
In Bittersweet: Thoughts on Change, Grace, and Learning the Hard Way, she shines light in that darkness, thanks to her own journey through change and heartbreak and questions and doubt, through her struggle to find good and God in the messiness of life.
Niequist and her husband faced job changes, a move and miscarriages, all rendered here in the smooth language and deep honesty that defines her style as a writer. She's honest, too, about the good things---food, friends, family. Her short essays allow a glimpse into her life, but, more importantly, her heart.
Readers searching for an honest look at the bitter and sweet of life will find it here; those looking for fine writing and God in the day to day will experience that here as well. -- Writing with another tasty theme in mind, Niequist (Cold Tangerines) sees bittersweetness as 'the idea that in all things there is both something broken and something beautiful, that there is a sliver of lightness on even the darkest of nights, a shadow of hope in every heartbreak.'
In Bittersweet: Thoughts on Change, Grace, and Learning the Hard Way, she shines light in that darkness, thanks to her own journey through change and heartbreak and questions and doubt, through her struggle to find good and God in the messiness of life.
Niequist and her husband faced job changes, a move and miscarriages, all rendered here in the smooth language and deep honesty that defines her style as a writer. She's honest, too, about the good things---food, friends, family. Her short essays allow a glimpse into her life, but, more importantly, her heart.
Readers searching for an honest look at the bitter and sweet of life will find it here; those looking for fine writing and God in the day to day will experience that here as well.
Booklist
This very personal book offers a modest, gentle, and, yes, bittersweet reflection on life and life-changing moments. In a collection of interweaving essays, Niequist provides “an ode to all things bittersweet, to life at the edges, a love letter to what change can do in us.” To Niequist, change is a good thing even if “incredibly painful.“ In a short period of time, she became pregnant, lost a job she loved, had a baby, and wrote a book. She didn’t lose her faith as much as lost track of it. These short pieces capture moments when her world seemed to be spiraling out of control. Stunned by the loss of her beloved grandmother, she discovers that the best way to honor her life is to live in simplicity and kindness. Bittersweet is full of such small but important lessons of daily living, about how to live life again “after the brokenness.” Niequist firmly believes that it is the stories of ordinary people that can make a difference in people’s lives. “There is nothing small or inconsequential about our stories,” she concludes. “There is, in fact, nothing bigger.” -- This very personal book offers a modest, gentle, and, yes, bittersweet reflection on life and life-changing moments. In a collection of interweaving essays, Niequist provides “an ode to all things bittersweet, to life at the edges, a love letter to what change can do in us.” To Niequist, change is a good thing even if “incredibly painful.“ In a short period of time, she became pregnant, lost a job she loved, had a baby, and wrote a book. She didn’t lose her faith as much as lost track of it. These short pieces capture moments when her world seemed to be spiraling out of control. Stunned by the loss of her beloved grandmother, she discovers that the best way to honor her life is to live in simplicity and kindness. Bittersweet is full of such small but important lessons of daily living, about how to live life again “after the brokenness.” Niequist firmly believes that it is the stories of ordinary people that can make a difference in people’s lives. “There is nothing small or inconsequential about our stories,” she concludes. “There is, in fact, nothing bigger.”
The Midwest Book Review
BITTERSWEET: THOUGHTS ON CHANGE, GRACE, AND LEARNING THE HARD WAY provides an outstanding survey which maintains that to live a balanced life, we need both the bitter and the sweet. Bittersweet contains depth and complexity: it's offered in change and in recognition of spiritual gifts, and is presented here as a positive, moving force in any life. -- BITTERSWEET: THOUGHTS ON CHANGE, GRACE, AND LEARNING THE HARD WAY provides an outstanding survey which maintains that to live a balanced life, we need both the bitter and the sweet. Bittersweet contains depth and complexity: it's offered in change and in recognition of spiritual gifts, and is presented here as a positive, moving force in any life.
Read More Show Less

Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780310598855
  • Publisher: Zondervan
  • Publication date: 8/10/2010
  • Sold by: Zondervan Publishing
  • Format: eBook
  • Pages: 256
  • Sales rank: 60,797
  • File size: 672 KB

Meet the Author

Shauna Niequist is the author of Bread & Wine, Cold Tangerines and Bittersweet. Shauna grew up in Barrington, Illinois, and then studied English and French literature at Westmont College in Santa Barbara. As an author and blogger, Shauna writes about the beautiful and broken moments of everyday life---friendship, family, faith, food, marriage, love, babies, books, celebration, heartache, and all the other things that shape us, delight us, and reveal to us the heart of God. Shauna is married to Aaron, who is a pianist and songwriter. Aaron is a worship leader at Willow Creek and is recording a project called A New Liturgy. Aaron and Shauna live outside Chicago with their sons, Henry and Mac.


 

Read More Show Less

Read an Excerpt

Bittersweet

Thoughts on Change, Grace, and Learning the Hard Way
By Shauna Niequist

ZONDERVAN

Copyright © 2010 Shauna Niequist
All right reserved.

ISBN: 978-0-310-32816-2


Chapter One

learning to swim

I learned about waves when I was little, swimming in Lake Michigan in navy blue water under a clear sky, and the most important thing I learned was this: if you try to stand and face the wave, it will smash you to bits, but if you trust the water and let it carry you, there's nothing sweeter. And a couple decades later, that's what I'm learning to be true about life, too. If you dig in and fight the change you're facing, it will indeed smash you to bits. It will hold you under, drag you across the rough sand, scare and confuse you.

This last season in my life has been characterized, more than anything else, by change. Hard, swirling, one-after-another changes, so many that I can't quite regain my footing before the next one comes, very much like being tumbled by waves. It began three years ago, in January in Grand Rapids, Michigan. I got pregnant, lost a job I loved, had a baby, wrote a book. A year after I lost my job, my husband, Aaron, left his job in a really painful way, and then for the next year and a half we traveled together and separately almost every week, doing all the freelance work we could find, looking for a new home and trying to pay the bills. Leaving our jobs at the church meant leaving the church community, the heart of our world in Grand Rapids, and that loss left a hole in our lives that was as tender and palpable as a bruise.

The day after our son Henry's first birthday, my brother Todd left on a two-year sailing trip around the world, taking my husband's best friend Joe with him. My best friend, Annette, left Grand Rapids and moved back to California. I got pregnant again, our kitchen and basement flooded, and on the Fourth of July I lost the baby. My first thought, there in the doctor's office, was, Everything in my life is dying. I can't keep anything alive.

At some point in all that, we put our house up for sale, which meant lots and lots of showings but no offers. After several months, my husband and our son and I left our house still for sale and moved home to Chicago, to a little house on the same street I lived on as a child, exhausted and battered, out of breath and shaken up.

It may appear to an outside observer that these have been the best years of our lives. We became parents to a healthy child; we met interesting people and heard their stories and were welcomed into their homes and churches. I wrote a book, and Aaron recorded an album, and we got to be, really and truly, working artists. Every time I read over that list, I know that it should have been wonderful. But should have been is worth absolutely nothing. For most of that season, I was clenching my teeth, waiting for impact, longing for it to be over.

I know that to another person my difficult season would have been a walk in the park, and that all over the world, people suffer in unimaginable ways and manage far worse than my own little list.

I was miserable because I lost touch with the heart of the story, the part where life always comes from death. I love the life part, and I always try to skip over that pesky death part. You can't do that, as much as I've tried.

I believe that God is making all things new. I believe that Christ overcame death and that pattern is apparent all through life and history: life from death, water from a stone, redemption from failure, connection from alienation. I believe that suffering is part of the narrative, and that nothing really good gets built when everything's easy. I believe that loss and emptiness and confusion often give way to new fullness and wisdom.

But for a long season, I forgot all those things. I didn't stop believing in God. It wasn't a crisis of faith. I prayed and served and pursued a life of faith the way I had before that season and the way I still do now. But I realized all at once, sitting in church on a cold dark night, that the story I was telling was the wrong one - or at the very least, an incomplete one. I had been telling the story about how hard it was. That's not the whole story. The rest of the story is that I failed to live with hope and courage and lived instead a long season of whining, self-indulgence, and fear. This is my confession.

I'm able to see now that what made that season feel so terrible to me were not the changes. What made that season feel so terrible is that I lost track of some of the crucial beliefs and practices that every Chris tian must carry with them. Possibly a greater tragedy is that I didn't even know it until much later.

Looking back now I can see that it was more than anything a failure to believe in the story of who God is and what he is doing in this world. Instead of living that story - one of sacrifice and purpose and character - I began to live a much smaller story, and that story was only about me. I wanted an answer, a timeline, and a map. I didn't want to have to trust God or anything I couldn't see. I didn't want to wait or follow. I wanted my old life back, and even while I read the mystics and the prophets, even while I prayed fervently, even while I sat in church and begged for God to direct my life, those things didn't have a chance to transform me, because under those actions and intentions was a rocky layer of faithlessness, fear, and selfishness.

I believe that faith is less like following a GPS through a precise grid of city blocks, and more like being out at sea: a tricky journey, nonlinear and winding, the wind kicking up and then stalling. But what I really wanted in the middle of it all was some dry land and a computer-woman's soothing voice leading me through the mess.

If I'm honest, I prayed the way you order breakfast from a short-order cook: this is what I want. Period. This is what I want. Aren't you getting this? I didn't pray for God's will to be done in my life, or, at any rate, I didn't mean it. I prayed to be rescued, not redeemed. I prayed for it to get easier, not that I would be shaped in significant ways. I prayed for the waiting to be over, instead of trying to learn something about patience or anything else for that matter.

I couldn't make peace with uncertainty - but there's nothing in the biblical narrative that tells us certainty is part of the deal. I couldn't unclench my hands and my jaw, and I locked my knees and steeled myself in the face of almost every wave. I cried in the shower and alone in my car. When I looked into my own eyes in the mirror, they seemed flat and lifeless, and things that should have been wonderful left me blank and despairing. Sometimes at parties during that season, I felt my cheeks trying to smile, but I knew that my eyes weren't playing along. The tension and anxiety flattened me, and the fear about our future threatened to vacuum up the energy and buoyancy from almost every day, even as I fought to celebrate the good moments. Looking back, it seems like I mostly lost that fight, or possibly, generously, it was a draw.

Every wave presents us with a choice to make, and quite often, unfortunately, I have stood, both resolute and terrified, staring down a wave. I have been smacked straight on with the force of the water, tumbled, disoriented, gasping for breath and for my swimsuit bottoms, and spit onto shore, embarrassed and sand-burned, standing up only to get knocked down again, refusing to float on the surface and surrender to the sea.

There were also a few glittering, very rare moments of peace and sweetness, when I felt the goodness and familiarity of people who loved me, when God's voice sounded tender and fatherly to my ears, when I was able to release my breath and my fists for just a moment and float. And as I mine back through my heart and memories, I notice something interesting: the best moments of the last few years were the very rare moments when I've allowed these changes to work their way through my life, when I've lived up to my faith, when I've been able even for a minute to see life as more than my very own plan unfolding on my schedule, when I've practiced acceptance, when I've floated instead of fought, when I've rested, even for a moment, on the surface instead of wrestling the water itself. And those moments are like heaven.

So that's where my mind and heart are these days: more moments of heaven, and less locking of the knees. More awareness of God's presence and action and ability, and less stranglehold on my fear and anxiety. More floating, and less getting tumbled.

And while I certainly didn't thrive on the process, I'm really thankful for the result. I'm thankful for what change forced me to face within myself. I found myself confronted by the whiny, entitled child I had become. I like what got stripped away - like my expectations - and what was revealed. I appreciate the things that became grounded more deeply in my spirit and in my marriage. I respect the things that change forged in my life, even though it was very painful.

More than anything, I know now that I never want to live that way again - I don't like the person I became, and I'm not proud of the contagious fear and ugliness I left in my wake everywhere I went. Again, this is my confession, and my promise: I want to live a new way, the way I've always believed, but temporarily lost sight of.

I know now that I can make it through more than I thought, with less than I thought. I know better than to believe that the changes are over, and I know better than to believe the next ones will be easier, but I've learned the hard way that change is one of God's greatest gifts and one of his most useful tools. I've learned the hard way that change can push us, pull us, rebuke and remake us. It can show us who we've become, in the worst ways, and also in the best ways. I've learned that it's not something to run away from, as though we could, and I've learned that in many cases, change is not a function of life's cruelty but instead a function of God's graciousness.

The world is changing all the time, at every moment. Someone is falling in love right now, and someone is being born. A dream is coming true in some city or small town, and right at the same moment, another dream is crashing and crumbling. A marriage is ending somewhere, and it's somebody's wedding day, maybe even right in the same town. It's all happening.

If you dig in and fight the changes, they will smash you to bits. They'll hold you under, drag you across the rough sand, scare and confuse you. But if you can find it within yourself, in the wildest of seasons, just for a moment, to trust in the goodness of God, who made it all and holds it all together, you'll find yourself drawn along to a whole new place, and there's truly nothing sweeter. Unclench your fists, unlock your knees and also the door to your heart, take a deep breath, and begin to swim. Begin to let the waves do their work in you.

(Continues...)



Excerpted from Bittersweet by Shauna Niequist Copyright © 2010 by Shauna Niequist. Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

Read More Show Less

Table of Contents

Contents

prologue: bittersweet....................11
learning to swim....................15
the blue house....................23
the closer you get....................29
what we ate and why it matters....................35
heartbeat....................41
on desperation and cold pizza....................47
things i don't do....................53
alameda....................61
what we left in south bend....................67
feeding and being fed....................71
sea dreaming....................75
grace is new math....................81
twenty-five....................85
thin places....................91
gifts, under the tree and otherwise....................97
coming home....................101
what might have been....................107
happy mother's day....................111
say something....................117
on crying in the bathroom....................123
headlines and lullabies....................131
san juan....................137
the table....................141
eight for eight....................147
a blessing for a bride....................153
love song for fall....................159
ravenous....................165
whole heart....................171
join the club....................175
princess-free zone....................181
the home team....................187
aurora....................191
my patron saint....................197
knees or buns....................203
evergreen....................209
the middle....................213
steak frites....................219
blueberries....................225
phoenix....................231
your story must be told....................237
epilogue: spring....................243
acknowledgments....................251
Read More Show Less

Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 16 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(10)

4 Star

(3)

3 Star

(0)

2 Star

(1)

1 Star

(2)

Your Rating:

Your Name: Create a Pen Name or

Barnes & Noble.com Review Rules

Our reader reviews allow you to share your comments on titles you liked, or didn't, with others. By submitting an online review, you are representing to Barnes & Noble.com that all information contained in your review is original and accurate in all respects, and that the submission of such content by you and the posting of such content by Barnes & Noble.com does not and will not violate the rights of any third party. Please follow the rules below to help ensure that your review can be posted.

Reviews by Our Customers Under the Age of 13

We highly value and respect everyone's opinion concerning the titles we offer. However, we cannot allow persons under the age of 13 to have accounts at BN.com or to post customer reviews. Please see our Terms of Use for more details.

What to exclude from your review:

Please do not write about reviews, commentary, or information posted on the product page. If you see any errors in the information on the product page, please send us an email.

Reviews should not contain any of the following:

  • - HTML tags, profanity, obscenities, vulgarities, or comments that defame anyone
  • - Time-sensitive information such as tour dates, signings, lectures, etc.
  • - Single-word reviews. Other people will read your review to discover why you liked or didn't like the title. Be descriptive.
  • - Comments focusing on the author or that may ruin the ending for others
  • - Phone numbers, addresses, URLs
  • - Pricing and availability information or alternative ordering information
  • - Advertisements or commercial solicitation

Reminder:

  • - By submitting a review, you grant to Barnes & Noble.com and its sublicensees the royalty-free, perpetual, irrevocable right and license to use the review in accordance with the Barnes & Noble.com Terms of Use.
  • - Barnes & Noble.com reserves the right not to post any review -- particularly those that do not follow the terms and conditions of these Rules. Barnes & Noble.com also reserves the right to remove any review at any time without notice.
  • - See Terms of Use for other conditions and disclaimers.
Search for Products You'd Like to Recommend

Recommend other products that relate to your review. Just search for them below and share!

Create a Pen Name

Your Pen Name is your unique identity on BN.com. It will appear on the reviews you write and other website activities. Your Pen Name cannot be edited, changed or deleted once submitted.

 
Your Pen Name can be any combination of alphanumeric characters (plus - and _), and must be at least two characters long.

Continue Anonymously
Sort by: Showing all of 16 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted December 6, 2011

    This book is worth re-reading many times

    Every now and again I come across someone's blog or book or an article that makes me wish I lived in their town and have the privilege of being their friend. Shauna Niequist is now one of them.I've been reading her latest book, Bittersweet and in it I've discovered treasure upon treasure which makes me want to tear out entire pages, fold them up and keep them in my purse for a quick recap whenever I find time. Bittersweet really is like a collection of blog posts or essays and at the end of each and every essay (chapter), I've found myself wishing I could leave a comment, or type out the entire essay and post it on Facebook so to share with everyone else like I'd just discovered lost treasure beneath the ocean. I've had to read it slowly in order to savour every word and allow it to sink it and resonate through.The way Shauna writes is so raw and real; so much that it feels like I've had the privilege of sitting across her, having lots of dinners while sharing stories at her scarred table. She doesn't pretend to have it all figured out, neither does she speak in 'Christianese' or give me a 'how-to' lecture but all the while making sure she reminds me how important it is to keep God, the church and families close. (Oh, they would've been really awesome dinners!)Perhaps it's the way she has dealt with the rough patches, pain and loss that I could identify with, or maybe it's the fact that I could relate to the fact that she isn't as 'perfect' as you'd expect a pastors kid to be, or maybe its the fact that she loves food, or even that she struggles with saying "No" whilst trying to do everything and more than one could possibly fit into 24 hours. All this making me constantly want to tweet her and say, "OMG, ME TOO!!!" This is just to say; I've learnt so much from this book and I'd definitely be re-reading it many times over!

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted October 17, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    I'm a beautiful mess, and so are you. Let's eat!

    This was really quite moving. It's a series of semi-autobiographical chapters that touch on pain and the beauty we can find in it. Imagine a painting of a flower pot that's been knocked over by some kind of turbulence, and is now laying on its side amidst scattered shards and soil. Looking more closely, you notice that the flower has managed to take root and even flourish where it had spilled onto the ground. That's pretty much how this book has impacted me. --- ~*~ --- Shauna has an honest, down-to-earth way of sharing her own stories about heartache, loss, and troubles that resonate with many of us. There's lots to relate to in this book: The pain of losing a child, the sorrow of losing a grandparent, the difficuly of keeping a marriage healthy during hard times, the loneliness one feels when friends and acquaintances remain silent and distant during your time of grief. --- ~*~ --- But there's plenty of fun and light-hearted stuff in here too: Shauna draws the reader in with meaningful, well-written stories, and unique insights on the joys of cooking, traveling, weddings, and quality time with friends and family. --- ~*~ --- It's definitely a book for women, as it deals a lot with issues around motherhood, female friendships, and "crying in the bathroom." However, some of the chapters are great for men too. I've had moments where I just *had* to show my brother, my husband, and my uncle a chapter or two. And once they start the first few sentences they're usually hooked until the end. Of course, the point isn't that they got hooked on the chapters, but that the book has an enjoyable way of revealing truths about common life stages and experiences that stay with the reader long after the book has been shelved. --- ~*~ --- One of my favourite chapters is called "Things I don't do" about having boundaries on our personal time, and getting a healthier perspective on our priorities in life. It's one thing for me to describe this chapter to you, though, and quite another to read it. --- ~*~ --- If I had one concern, it would be her take on theology and her critique of theologians. She's a pastor's kid, as am I, so I would have expected her to have a more nuanced and sophisticated view of the Gospel and the people who teach it to us. Her perspective sounds a lot like the disdain for theology I heard from members of a former church I attended, and I'm concerned that a growing number of Christians--who are understandably disillusioned with dogmatic, fundamentalist-style Christianity--are throwing out the baby with the bathwater when it comes to regarding God's Word and the people He has gifted as teachers with value and respect. This chapter appears near the end of the book, so it didn't affect my experience of the rest of her thoughts, which was good. --- ~*~ --- But this is the only reason I can't give the book a perfect rating, as much as I would have liked to. So I give it four out of five stars. If you can find a copy, I definitely recommend reading it at least once.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted January 2, 2011

    Witty, Funny, Moving, and Meaningful

    I loved this book. I didn't read it all in one sitting, but digested the chapters slowly over time. Some of the chapters spoke straight to my heart. I found myself encouraged by this fresh writing and honest conversation on faith and life.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted December 20, 2010

    This book is definitely worth re-reading many times over!

    Every now and again I come across someone's blog or book or an article that makes me wish I lived in their town and have the privilege of being their friend. Shauna Niequist is now one of them.

    I've been reading her latest book, Bittersweet and in it I've discovered treasure upon treasure which makes me want to tear out entire pages, fold them up and keep them in my purse for a quick recap whenever I find time. Bittersweet really is like a collection of blog posts or essays and at the end of each and every essay (chapter), I've found myself wishing I could leave a comment, or type out the entire essay and post it on Facebook so to share with everyone else like I'd just discovered lost treasure beneath the ocean. I've had to read it slowly in order to savour every word and allow it to sink it and resonate through.

    The way Shauna writes is so raw and real; so much that it feels like I've had the privilege of sitting across her, having lots of dinners while sharing stories at her scarred table. She doesn't pretend to have it all figured out, neither does she speak in 'Christianese' or give me a 'how-to' lecture but all the while making sure she reminds me how important it is to keep God, the church and families close. (Oh, they would've been really awesome dinners!)

    Perhaps it's the way she has dealt with the rough patches, pain and loss that I could identify with, or maybe it's the fact that I could relate to the fact that she isn't as 'perfect' as you'd expect a pastors kid to be, or maybe its the fact that she loves food, or even that she struggles with saying "No" whilst trying to do everything and more than one could possibly fit into 24 hours. All this making me constantly want to tweet her and say, "OMG, ME TOO!!!" This is just to say; I've learnt so much from this book and I'd definitely be re-reading it many times over!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted October 23, 2010

    i loved the "realness" in shauna's writing

    In the prologue, Shauna explains her thoughts on the title for this book. "Bittersweet is the idea that in all things there is both something broken and something beautiful, that there is a sliver of lightness on even the darkest of nights, a shadow of hope in every heartbreak and that rejoicing is no less rich when it contains a splinter of sadness." Reading through the book, you learn about moments where she experienced heartache and also pockets of "life is perfect" at just that moment. She talks about grace and how she has a hard time bestowing it upon others though she readily admits to needing it herself. "If arithmetic is numbers, and if algebra is numbers and letters, then grace is numbers, letters, sounds, and tears, feelings and dreams. Grace is smashing the calculator and using all the broken buttons and pieces to make a mosaic. Grace isn't about having a second chance; grace is having so many chances that you could use them through all eternity and never come up empty. It's when you finally realize that the other shoe isn't going to drop, ever. It's the moment when you feel as precious and handmade as every star, when you feel, finally, at home for the very first time." She talks about how she faced not one but two miscarriages, the second being doubly hard to deal with because she had been pregnant with twins. She talks about the rough spot she and her husband went through in their marriage and how thankful she is they were able to recover from it. At one point she says, "when things fall apart, the broken places allow all sorts of things to enter and one of them is the presence of God." She explains the importance of women having other women in their lives - how much those relationships have meant to her. "Bittersweet" is a mosaic of her life experiences all pointing to her belief that we need both in our lives. ".a life of nothing but sweetness rots both your teeth and your soul. Bitter is what makes us strong, what forces us to push through."

    I liked Shauna's style of writing. While at times it was hard for me to follow what time in her life she was referring to (she jumped around with each chapter), I liked the "realness" in her writing. She wrote as though she was talking instead of trying to use big words and make everything come across as neat and tidy. What struck a cord with me was her chapter titled "twenty-five." Having just turned twenty-five, I was able to instantly identify with her. The chapter was her giving advice regarding things she learned from that period in her life. One thing that stuck out to me regarded decisions made during this time. "Some of the most life-shaping decisions you make in this season will be about walking away from good-enough, in search of can't-live-without." My absolute favorite line from the book was about her love of Christmas. She talked about buying the exact same scarf for several of her girl friends and how she liked the idea of them all living in different places but wearing the same scarf. She talked about thoroughly enjoying Christmas despite what we may be going through. "And I hope that someone who loves you gives you a really cute scarf." When someone is honest in their writing, allowing you a glimpse into their life, you're able to connect with them and that's what Shauna has done.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted January 5, 2012

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted May 2, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted January 31, 2012

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted January 30, 2013

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted September 5, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted July 23, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted July 27, 2010

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted September 2, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted July 22, 2010

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted August 14, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted August 22, 2013

    No text was provided for this review.

Sort by: Showing all of 16 Customer Reviews

If you find inappropriate content, please report it to Barnes & Noble
Why is this product inappropriate?
Comments (optional)