Shauna Niequist writes the way I wish I could. She writes what’s in my head and my heart in words that I’ve never thought of myself. Somehow, she is IN MY HEAD.

Just to be clear, I’ve never met Ms. Niequist. But I swear, she KNOWS ME. Or, perhaps, she knows how to express the excruciating pain and bewildering beauty of some universal experiences that the rest of us (read: me) try to bury and deny and generally hide from.

And she does it with a gentle humor that makes me wish we could be friends.

[Is that weird?]

Bittersweet is about heartbreak, struggle and failure, but it’s also about love, survival and success despite the hard parts of life. It’s beautiful, and though I read it through (So slowly! I didn’t want it to end!) this fall, I can’t wait to read it again. Here’s a snippet for you:

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.

If you’ve ever experienced a life that isn’t quite what you expected – or planned – I highly recommend reading (and savoring) Bittersweet. And, even better, I’m giving away a copy!

How to Enter the Giveaway:

  • Leave a comment telling me about a bittersweet (or, if you must, sweet or bitter) moment you experienced this year.
  • For additional entries, leave a separate comment for any of the following: Subscribe to this blog, join my Facebook page or follow me on Twitter (@MaryCarver)!

This contest will be closed on Friday at midnight (CST). I’ll announce the winner next week. Good luck!

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