Each of the small chapters works as a stand-alone essay, but they all tie together smoothly. Whether reading one passage at a time or several in one sitting, the book has a smooth pace. Niequist is ultimately quotable, too; and I found myself dog-earring multiple pages knowing that there were several lines I wanted to come back and reflect on at a later time.
The title of the book comes from Niequist's idea that a full life requires both bitterness and sweetness. She says, "When life is sweet, say thank you and celebrate. And when life is bitter, say thank you and grow." In a later chapter about friendship and the trap of always trying to appear perfect she explains, "We slip into believing that it's better to strive for perfection than to accept and offer one another grace." And among many brilliant thoughts on writing she offers the insight, "Writing wakes me up, lights me on fire, opens my eyes to the things I can never see and feel when I'm hiding under the covers, cowering and consumed with my own failures and fears."
Niequist is not ashamed to share her "failures and fears" with the reader but it is obvious that what she states about writing is true. In the written word she truly does shine, and her words are perfectly chosen and powerful, creating a work to be reread, reflected on, and ruminated over long after the final page is turned.