Is Tiny Beautiful Things based on a True Story?

By Louie Fecou
Published: April 9, 2023 (Last updated: December 19, 2023)
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Is Tiny Beautiful Things based on a true story? We discuss whether the 2023 Hulu series is based on real events.

There is an interesting premise behind the Hulu mini-series that is captivating its audience.

Tiny Beautiful Things was originally a series of advice columns that were so beloved and inspiring for readers that it became collected together into a book, then evolved into a podcast.

Essentially an advice column, the messages were written by Cheryl Strayed under the title Dear Sugar and helped readers through difficult times with wit, style, and compassion.

The Hulu series attempts to recreate the tone and feel of the pieces Cheryl wrote, but it has led to a lot of speculation over the inspiration for the show.

Is Tiny Beautiful Things based on a True Story?

The original columns written by Cheryl were all based on the events of her own life and the communications she would receive from readers, so at the most intrinsic level, you can say yes, it’s a true story.

In an interview with Elle, Cheryl would say that the character Clare in the show is based on her, and there are true moments from her life shown on screen, but it is not a reality show following the linear path of her true life.

What happened to Cheryl Strayed?

At the heart of Cheryl’s story is a tragic and heartbreaking event that would help shape her writing.

In March 1991, while Cheryl was a senior in college, her mother, Bobbi Lambrecht, died of lung cancer at the age of 45. This traumatic event would lead to Cheryl developing an addiction to heroin. The writer has described this loss as her “genesis story” and has been very open in her books and essays in describing her life during this time. 

What book is Tiny Beautiful Things based on?

The series was based on Cheryl Strayed’s book of the same name and produced by Reese Witherspoon and her production company Hello Sunshine. The book is a collection of essays and columns written by Cheryl under the pseudonym Sugar.

Reese Witherspoon is obviously a fan of the writer, as previously she appeared in a film adaptation of Cheryl’s memoir Wild.

Witherspoon has produced other TV shows that have references to small things in their title. Big Little Lies, Little Fires Everywhere, Tiny Beautiful Things, and upcoming project Tiny Trailblazers.

This makes us wonder if there is a theme or if Reese is trying to send a cryptic message to us.

Who did Cheryl Strayed marry?

Cheryl would first marry Marco Littig in August 1988, a month before her 20th birthday, but the couple would divorce in 1995. Cheryl would later remarry a filmmaker called Brian Lindstrom in 1999.

They would go on to have two daughters, one of which would have a role in the film version of Wild, playing a young version of her mother.

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