Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert
Where to begin.
Eat, Pray, Love is an autobiographical account of Liz Gilbert’s one-year journey to find herself, god, and balance. After suffering an excruciating divorce and a spectacularly failed rebound relationship, she goes on a year long trip around the world to Italy, India, and Indonesia to basically reboot. Spending four months in each place, the book tells the story of the healing, enjoyment, and of course, food, that she experiences.
And I could care less. The author is just so boo-hoo pathetic, it made my skin itch. I got tired of hearing about her breakdowns and crying jags about 15 pages in. I have absolutely every sympathy for people who suffer from depression, but very little for those who suffer from, oh, pity poor me. I was also slightly bothered by the notebook she writes in, where she talks to herself, and claims it is god writing back.
I am not a religious person. I wouldn’t even say I’m spiritual. Down to Earth, practical, academic, these are the terms that come to mind when I try to picture a religion for myself. Perhaps that’s part of the problem I had with this book. The word “pray” is in the title, and pray she does. She cries to god, she moans to god, she throws herself on a few bathroom floors for god. And I feel that it is somehow insincere, that she is in love with the idea of “God” rather than really religious. She loves having a Guru, she loves feeling devout and closeting herself in an Ashram in India for four months, she loves being able to say she meditates every morning and every evening. She is in love with faith. I was so tired of hearing about Liz Gilbert by the end of the book, and reading the blurb at the back about her “new book coming in 2009 about her unexpected second marriage” made me want to gag.
It must be nice for her, to be able to drop her old life and responsibilities and go out and find whatever it is she thinks she needs. I’d personally love to globe-trot, myself, but I don’t have the time or the money or the round-the-clock childcare it would take for me to do that. I sometimes feel that she is saying, to be balanced and whole as a person, you should be able to travel to Italy, India, Indonesia, and wherever the hell else you want if the mood strikes. It’s very classist, in my opinion, and also seems extremely privileged. Many of the people she meets and writes about are similarly white and upper-class, not to mention very well-educated. I feel like, if she hadn’t been blond, thin, white, and beautiful, she wouldn’t have been able to take this trip and write this whiny book.
On the other hand, I really enjoyed reading about the people she met. I do feel that many of her encounters may have been embellished or added through “artistic license” but they were still interesting characters. I cared more for reading about the people around her then I did for reading about Liz Gilbert, the main character. If only she would write about other people besides herself all the time I would love her. But as it is, I will not be picking up her second book.