Gorgeous, a little 135-page gem. The one book every woman must read this year. The stop-whatever-you’re-doing-and-read-this-now book, in which every turn of phrase is tattoo-worthy, every tidbit of wisdom too good not to share with every single one of your girlfriends. It’s the kind of book that makes your highlighters run out of ink, and your Post-Its run out of stick. In the 100-plus quotes, thoughts, words of wisdom, and tidbits of beauty that Strayed has compiled, you will recognize yourself over and over again, in the best and worst and most essential ways . . . It will encourage you, breath by breath, unpaid bill by unpaid bill, bucket list goal by bucket list goal, all the way to the you whom you want to be—however long it might take. . . . Strayed can take readers from the church to the saloon in literally three words or less. She invites you to quietly marvel at the universe with her, and then promptly demands that you go out and participate in it, followed by a swift kick to the rear. She keeps it real, none of her words are wasted, and they are always the right ones. [This book] acts like a personal guru for joy, acceptance and forgiveness, productivity, endurance and transformation . . . Truly amazing; it’s as though the words literally leapt off the pages of Brave Enough and generated a little cyclone of positive energy in my living room . . . Brilliant, purse-sized perfection.” —E. CE Miller, Bustle
“Captivating. Personal authenticity, gender politics, leaning into the light: whether writing a book or speaking one-to-one, Strayed seems, above all, unapologetically herself . . . The power of her words is palpable—and far-reaching.” —Abby Haglage, The Daily Beast
“An elegantly bound collection of Strayed sayings, ranging from a few words to entire paragraphs . . . Strayed earned cult status with her anonymous advice column, ‘Dear Sugar,’ on The Rumpus. She has become the unlikely queen of a different bookstore aisle than she expected, a guru whose message is anything but simple or glib. Rather, she tends towards emphasizing how deeply flawed we human beings are, and how we have to keep trying to be better anyway, even as life throws slings, arrows, and tremendous grief our way.” —Sarah Seltzer, Flavorwire
“A short, taut, Swiss Army knife [book] of quotations, one that applies to deciding whether to have a third doughnut or an extramarital affair, make a mean-spirited joke—or get up from the desk before a book review is finished. Cheryl Strayed is a tough-love truth-teller. In the introduction she writes that a good quote can provide in a sentence or two ‘a clear eyed perspective, or a swift kick in the pants.’ Hers do both. Brave Enough amount[s] to a galvanizing call to be bigger, bolder, more generous. We already know what to do, Strayed believes; we just need to heed that inner voice . . . ‘I believe in the power of words to help us reset our intentions, clarify our thoughts, and create a counternarrative to the voice of doubt in our heads—the one that says, You can’t, you won’t, you shouldn’t have,’ she writes. [This book] helps you create that counternarrative. [It shouts,] ‘Yes!” —Jennifer Reese, The Washington Post
A lightweight collection of self-help snippets from the bestselling author. What makes a quote a quote? Does it have to be quoted by someone other than the original author? Apparently not, if we take Strayed's collection of truisms as an example. The well-known memoirist (Wild), novelist (Torch), and radio-show host ("Dear Sugar") pulls lines from her previous pages and delivers them one at a time in this small, gift-sized book. No excerpt exceeds one page in length, and some are only one line long. Strayed doesn't reference the books she's drawing from, so the quotes stand without context and are strung together without apparent attention to structure or narrative flow. Thus, we move back and forth from first-person tales from the Pacific Crest Trail to conversational tidbits to meditations on grief. Some are astoundingly simple, such as Strayed's declaration that "Love is the feeling we have for those we care deeply about and hold in high regard." Others call on the author's unique observations—people who regret what they haven't done, she writes, end up "mingy, addled, shrink-wrapped versions" of themselves—and offer a reward for wading through obvious advice like "Trust your gut." Other quotes sound familiar—not necessarily because you've read Strayed's other work, but likely due to the influence of other authors on her writing. When she writes about blooming into your own authenticity, for instance, one is immediately reminded of Anaïs Nin: "And the day came when the risk to remain tight in a bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom." Strayed's true blossoming happens in her longer works; while this collection might brighten someone's day—and is sure to sell plenty of copies during the holidays—it's no substitute for the real thing. These platitudes need perspective; better to buy the books they came from.