Review: Bittersweet

Overall rating

CONCLUSION This book will make you want to invite everyone to a seat at your kitchen table, especially the author.


Shauna Niequist’s raw honesty and quick wit are sweeping the nation among the pages of her newest book release, Present Over Perfect. Yet, in an effort to understand Niequist’s timeline more intimately, myself and many others have dug up her 2010 publish, titled Bittersweet: Thoughts on Change, Grace, and Learning the Hard Way, and found rest and renewal between the covers.

In a charismatic collection of short essays, Bittersweet illustrates countless instances of both bitter and sweet moments in the author’s household, and extends an invitation to readers to respond to our own such circumstances with joy and gratitude. Through the age-old art of storytelling, Niequist shares details of her life in an unapologetically transparent manner. We seemingly walk beside her during marital turbulence, devout friendships, multiple miscarriages, the weddings of loved ones, and the common gatherings around her dining room table. Amidst all the commotion, Niequist hones in on the one important thing that holds all of the craziness of her life together: faith. She invites readers to understand God, whom she believes lavishes abundant grace over mankind. While unloading her connection to the Gospel and her feelings of God’s relentless love, Niequist manages to sprinkle charming and shameless humor throughout the text.

Capitalizing on young women’s love for “me-too moments,” Niequist creates a composition rich with emotion, allowing readers to find bits of themselves within her experiences. Even though I am not a wife, a mother, or a self-proclaimed cook, I still empathized with Niequist’s deepest insecurities and most triumphant celebrations. Despite the unfathomable sorrow, she sings hope, encouragement, and lightness, giving readers the ability to find joy and thankfulness where the well seems to be dry.

Bittersweet is engaging and genuine. It is a perfect and quick read for any woman, whether she is a believer or not. I found myself cozy under a blanket, cup of tea in one hand and Bittersweet in the other, relishing a hope that will not diminish, and calculating the distance to the closest bookstore to purchase another one of Shauna Niequist’s books.

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