• Bittersweet

  • Thoughts on Change, Grace, and Learning the Hard Way
  • By: Shauna Niequist
  • Narrated by: Shauna Niequist
  • Length: 5 hrs and 35 mins
  • 4.5 out of 5 stars (399 ratings)

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Bittersweet

By: Shauna Niequist
Narrated by: Shauna Niequist
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Publisher's Summary

Join New York Times best-selling author Shauna Niequist as she invites you to experience the precious gifts and wisdom that only come the hard way - through change, loss, and transition.

In this collection of poignant essays, Shauna reflects on her own journey of making peace with change, the nuanced mix of excitement and heartbreak that comes with it, and the practices that offer us strength and hope along the way.

When life comes at us in waves, our first instinct is to dig in our heels and control what we can. A keen observer of life with a lyrical voice, Shauna offers another way - the way of letting the waves carry us into a deeper awareness of God's presence in our lives, even in the midst of turmoil.

Drawing from her own experiences in a season of pain and chaos, Shauna shares her deeply personal struggles with:

  • Difficult moves
  • Career changes
  • Marital stress
  • Financial worries
  • Life-altering loss

With honesty and hope, Shauna beautifully unwraps the complicated truth that in all things there is both something broken and something beautiful, that there is a moment of lightness even on the darkest of nights, and that rejoicing is no less meaningful when it contains a splinter of sadness. A tribute to life at the edges, Bittersweet is a love letter to the bittersweet and sacred work that change does in us all.

©2010 Shauna Niequist (P)2010 Zondervan

Critic Reviews

"Bittersweet is so delicious I wanted to douse it in butter and syrup and eat the whole thing. I fell into a deep and genuine depression when I read the last word and there were no more. Be kind and please treat yourself to this book. It is lovely and hilarious and poignant in all the best ways that make me so deliriously happy as a reader." (Jen Hatmaker, speaker and best-selling author of Fierce, Free, and Full of Fire and For the Love)

Featured Article: 55+ Quotes About Fear—of the Unknown, Change, Love, and More


Looking for a little confidence boost? These quotes about fear from some of literature’s greatest writers can help bolster your bravado. In moments of fear, it’s natural to turn to others—from loved ones to professional counsel—for comfort, encouragement, and advice. But sometimes, it’s most helpful to hear what people you’ve never met have written on the topic. These quotes offer a comprehensive, reassuring portrait of fear and ways to conquer it.

What listeners say about Bittersweet

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Love, love, love!

I keep listening over and over to this uplifting and heart piercing book! Thank you for sharing your life with us!

2 people found this helpful

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Life changer

Shauna has an amazing way with words. She helps you see things in a way you've never seen them before. Her words paint a clear and vivid picture and grasp your heart. Her raw honesty and real-ness is so refreshing and inspirational. I can only hope she continues to bless us with her words and stories from her life. My life is changed from having read her book.

2 people found this helpful

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Just okay

Would you say that listening to this book was time well-spent? Why or why not?

A story about the trials of her life, I found myself sad and depressed. I kept checking to see how many more hours were left until the end. Not a good sign. But I did finish the book, and there were a few good pieces of advice near the end.

What was most disappointing about Shauna Niequist’s story?

I like an upbeat story. This wasn't it.

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Made me feel peaceful

I felt serene while listening to the book. It enhanced my spiritual life. I didn't want it to end.

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Not as good as present over perfect

I LOVED Shauna Niequist's book, Present Over Perfect---and was anxious to have more of it, so I got this one. It's self-indulgent and a bragadocious memoir, with moments of loveliness and humor. I don't really know what it's supposed to be, or say. But whatever it is, I didn't get it.

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Just beautifully written.

This book made me laugh, cry, think. It's beautifully written and from the way she reads it I knew by the middle of the book that the author was also the reader. You could hear her joy, sadness, overwhelming moments. I felt as if a friend were sitting with a glass of wine and telling me her story. Love this book.

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I want to listen to it again!

Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

I'd highly recommend this audiobook/book to friends & family. In fact, I already have two people in mind that I'm going to gift this book to.

What does Shauna Niequist bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

As I've gotten into the world of audiobooks, for non-fiction/personal books in particular, I've found it makes ALL the difference in the world to have the author read her/his own book. I love hearing Shauna's voice tell her own stories. Other books have been ruined for me when it's someone else's voice telling the author's story-- it is clearly ungenuine-sounding in most of those cases. Not so with Shauna telling her own stories... so good!! So real!!

Any additional comments?

I loved this book from start to finish, and was captivated by her stories. Her stories are meaningful, deep, very relatable (even her stories about her marriage, although I'm not married-- I could understand because of the way she tells it). Not only that, but the book is inspiring in a way that makes you (me) want to jump back on some trains in life and faith that I've fallen off of. I plan to listen a second time through sometime, because there are so many nuggets of wisdom scattered throughout.

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really good

Shauna is a wonderful writer. She expresses herself in amazing word pictures and really communicates well. Well done and great read to get a perspective on just what she says- Change, Grace and Learning the Hard way- story of my life!!! Enjoy- I sure did.

1 person found this helpful

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if you want to increase your shame for lamenting

I stopped reading this book after the prologue. The cycle of depression is not stopped by heaping guilt onto the feelings of sadness. opening your heart to the sadness and offering it to God should be the focus of this book.

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Moving and fun

Loved this book by Shauna. I so enjoyed her writing style filled with quirkiness and subtle sarcasm. Her stories were sweet and moving. Definitely a must read!!

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 01-13-20

Not for me

Really struggling to finish this book. While her writing style is poetic and has a nice flow, I found the contents overly religious, repetitive and honestly a bit boring. There have been a few memorable moments so far, but overall it feels like a bunch of random thoughts on life slapped together.

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  • JoyfulReader
  • 01-02-15

Sweet sucker punch

Having just discovered the Relevant podcast last summer I was accustomed to a different side of Shauna. Sure, the title clearly tells you that this isn't light reading. But having been well acquainted with the level of 'bitter', or pain, that she addresses I am once again blessed by the wisdom and tenderness of her voice to our generation. There is beauty in each struggle and this book is a wonderful testament to that.