14 septemper 2014 13 5 2015 I am embarrassed to read this book in public The title and the flowery, pasta y cover screams, I m a book that contains the relentless rants of a neurotic 34 year old woman So, I m afraid that the strangers on the Metro will think I identify with her.But in the comfort of my own bed, I am totally falling for this memoir Yes, Gilbert is emotionally self indulgent are we supposed to feel bad that she lost both houses in the divorce , annoying she s just tickled when she gains 23 pounds after eating her way through Italy and often really immature oh The endless, endless crying.Then again, this is a memoir and when the writing is just so clever, so hospitable, so damn funny, it s really hard to hold that against Gilbert in the end.The plot goes something like this A 30 year old writer has everything she wants, including several successful books, a husband and two houses When she realizes she doesn t want to have kids and that she s not happy after all, she has a breakdown and leaves her husband In the process, she realizes she has no identity Boo hoo.But instead, Gilbert decides to pack up and visit Italy, India and Indonesia, three places she hopes will ultimately bring her the inner balance she s been longing for And on the surface, this book is a really entertaining travel essay Gilbert has this wonderfully quirky way of describing everything A piece of pizza, a gelato And the people It s on her travels that I start to identify with Gilbert When I was 21, I spent four months traveling in Australia Just like Gilbert during her first weeks in Italy, I was totally elated by my freedom But about two weeks in, the loneliness came around and so did the anxiety My typical day started with this inner monologue I have to get to the museum before noon, so I can fit in the sea kayaking trip at 2 And then I have to rush to the grocery store to get food to make dinner in the stinking hostel kitchen because god forbid I go out to eat causeIHAVETOMAKETHEMONEYLASTFORTHREEMOREMONTHS Yikes How I envied the Eurotrash who could just sit by the hostel pool and read all day But if I didn t do everything, then I would have failed at traveling In retrospect, Australia was a turning point in my young life I had no idea that this go go go attitude was how I had been living for years No wonder people thought I was uptight Relaxing had never come easy to me, and it never will, but I m getting a lot better at letting go and not worrying about seeing every last museum so to speak.Gilbert ruminates on this topic quite a bit in her book Her first moment of true, unfettered happiness comes when she poaches some eggs and eats some asparagus on the floor of her apartment So simple, but so fulfilling.In India, she writes that life, if you keep chasing it so hard, will drive you to death Gilbert is living in an Ashram, a place where people come to meditate and experience divinity She s not very good at it, and she wonders if all the energy she s spent chasing the next experience has kept her from enjoying anything At this point in the book, I find myself wondering if Gilbert wants to be there at all Perhaps going to an Ashram was the thing she thought she should do, not what she wanted to do I sure as hell wouldn t.What I really love about Eat, Pray, Love is that it s all about asking the simple question, what do I want, a question that would have come in handy in Australia and numerous other times in my life It s so hard for some people, including me, and it really shouldn t be I think that when you can honestly answer that question No I don t want to go to that discussion on post modernism, even though I realize that I should be interested in it and it would make me a lot cooler in your eyes Really, I just want to watch back to back episodes of Scrubs you re well on your way to realizing your own identity and being ok with whoever that person is. A Celebrated Writer S Irresistible, Candid, And Eloquent Account Of Her Pursuit Of Worldly Pleasure, Spiritual Devotion, And What She Really Wanted Out Of Life Around The Time Elizabeth Gilbert Turned Thirty, She Went Through An Early Onslaught Midlife Crisis She Had Everything An Educated, Ambitious American Woman Was Supposed To Want A Husband, A House, A Successful Career But Instead Of Feeling Happy And Fulfilled, She Was Consumed With Panic, Grief, And Confusion She Went Through A Divorce, A Crushing Depression, Another Failed Love, And The Eradication Of Everything She Ever Thought She Was Supposed To Be To Recover From All This, Gilbert Took A Radical Step In Order To Give Herself The Time And Space To Find Out Who She Really Was And What She Really Wanted, She Got Rid Of Her Belongings, Quit Her Job, And Undertook A Yearlong Journey Around The World All Alone Eat, Pray, Love Is The Absorbing Chronicle Of That Year Her Aim Was To Visit Three Places Where She Could Examine One Aspect Of Her Own Nature Set Against The Backdrop Of A Culture That Has Traditionally Done That One Thing Very Well In Rome, She Studied The Art Of Pleasure, Learning To Speak Italian And Gaining The Twenty Three Happiest Pounds Of Her Life India Was For The Art Of Devotion, And With The Help Of A Native Guru And A Surprisingly Wise Cowboy From Texas, She Embarked On Four Uninterrupted Months Of Spiritual Exploration In Bali, She Studied The Art Of Balance Between Worldly Enjoyment And Divine Transcendence She Became The Pupil Of An Elderly Medicine Man And Also Fell In Love The Best Way Unexpectedly An Intensely Articulate And Moving Memoir Of Self Discovery, Eat, Pray, Love Is About What Can Happen When You Claim Responsibility For Your Own Contentment And Stop Trying To Live In Imitation Of Society S Ideals It Is Certain To Touch Anyone Who Has Ever Woken Up To The Unrelenting Need For Change Don t bother with this book.It took me nearly a year to finish it I was so disgusted by the writer s apparent lack of awareness of her own privilege, her trite observations, and the unbelievably shallow way in which she represents a journey initiated by grief, that I initially couldn t bear to read beyond Italy Like others who have written here, I made myself pick the book up again because so many people have raved about it, and I made myself finish it, hoping all the while there would be some redemptive insight or at least some small kernel of originality or wisdom I was sorely disappointed Liz is so obsessed with male attention throughout the book in every section, she expounds in great detail on her flirtations with men, many of whom seem to take care of her or compliment her on her wit, beauty, or charm , that it makes her self described quest to learn to be alone seem absurd and farcical She does not have a feminist bone in her body shocking for a woman who is purportedly on a quest for self discovery after what she describes as a devastaing divorce She seems to have absolutely no capacity for self awareness or reflection in this regard, and her superficial treatment of this and other aspects of her psyche bored me to tears Basically, this memoir accounts her flirting her way across the globe into a new relationship, with little to no growth in self awareness that I can perceive Even in India, her purported time of inward reflection, she attaches her herself to the likes of Richard from Texas, who seems a cross between a father figure and object of flirtation Ultimately, she falls in love with a man much older than she, who seems to dote on her in quite a paternalistic way When she spends pages talking about her bladder infection from too much sex, I have to question what her intentions are in writing about this Why do we need to know about her bladder infection What does it add to our understanding of her quest To me, it says only, Look I m desirable Not so interesting Additionally, her brand of spirituality certainly does not come close to transcending the fashionable Western obsession with all things Eastern, particularly Buddhism and the ashram culture That a Westerner could go to India on her spiritual quest and have absolutely no awareness of 1 her gross appropriation of another culture s religion, and 2 the abject poverty that surrounds her, is inexusable She oozes privilege at every turn, and that privilege remains unacknowledged and unexamined I was willing to look past my initial reaction that the end of a relationship is not, in the grand scheme of things, that bad everyone s suffering certainly has its own validity However, I was unable to muster much empathy for Elizabeth Gilbert despite my attempts to overcome my disgust at her shallow preoccupation Ultimately, this woman had nothing to teach me other than that I should trust my own instincts to abandon a book when I have such a strong reaction of dislike from page one I am sorry I spent the time and energy trying to finish it I happened to read somewhere that she has recently bought a church in Manhattan which she is converting into her personal living space And this is enlightenment I am sickened that Paramount has bought the rights to the book for a motion picture, and that she stands to make even money than she already has on this insipid memoir. I found this book unbelievably phoney.I hated this so much that I got up early this morning to finish it and gave my copy to the library and honestly, I m not too proud of that.To me it just felt so insincere that there s no chance I would have made it past the second chapter had it not been for book club obligations.I enjoyed her writing style, but I absolutely could not warm to her at all To be fair, I do think she would be an excellent travel writer.The section on India was agony to read I have met enough people freshly returned from Indian ashrams to know that they often seem a tad self absorbed and I also suspect that they really only get up at 3am so that they have even me time She didn t do much to alter my opinion.Honestly, this woman meditated longer, harder and bluer than anyone else has, past or present She won the meditation competition that no one was actually having Possibly it was not enlightenment that she found, but simply that she finally became completely self absorbed Easy mistake to make. This was one of those books I will read over and over again All those cynics out there who criticize Gilbert for writing a too cutesy memoir that seems beyond belief and who claim that she is selfish for leaving her responsibility are clearly missing the point First, she did not write the book to inspire you She wrote it as her own memoir you can agree or disagree with how she went about her enlightenment, but you cannot judge her for how she found happiness It is her memoir, not yours You can achieve enlightement by whatever means you want Second, to call her irresponsible for leaving responsibilities behind is absurd She was in an unhappy marriage You cannot force yourself to be happy I applaud her for doing something that many people are afraid to do She had no children and so the responsibilities she neglected were minimal I also suspect that those of you who didn t enjoy the book could not relate to it You have never suffered a life changing tragedy You have never felt paralyzed by fear, anger, or disappointment You have never had to go through a healing process that seems endless You have never felt lost That s great for you, but unfortunately that makes it hard for you to relate to this memoir Finally, those of you who found her story too unbelievable have probably never felt the joy of traveling the world There is no better way to discover yourself than getting out of your comfort zone and immersing yourself in someone else s Traveling the world is not self indulgent If doing what we want to or enjoy doing is self indulgent, then we are all guilty If you are enjoying an ice cream sundae, meeting your friends for a night out, or a good work out, you are being self indulgent My guess is that those of you who didn t find the value in this book are unhappy with your own life Perhaps you should be a little self indulgent yourself. Shallow, self indulgent and mired in the sort of liberal American obsession with oriental exoticism that is uniquely offensive because it is treated as enobling by its purveyors She treats the rest of the world as though it exists for the consumption of jaded, rich, white Americans and this book is a monument to that sort of arrogance and ignorance. 3 1 3 to be safe and happy in life intelligence, friendship, strength, and poetry 200 WHY I cringe to think why so many women want to feel that this was a true spiritual journey It was a pre paid journey The woman starts off with telling us over and over about how painful her divorce was, however she dismisses how it ever came to be that way Leaving her audience only to guess it was so horrible she had to leave and find herself.When asked in an interview if dumping her husband and pushing off wasn t selfish, here is what Ms Gilbert had to say What is it about the American obsession with productivity and responsibility that makes it so difficult for us to allow ourselves a little time to solve the puzzle of our own lives, before it s too late This statement alone tells so much A responsibility towards a marriage and spouse is considered an unwanted obsession and one s own pursuit of happiness supercedes everything else If a man decided to dump his wife and family to flee to the Himalayas to meditate we wouldn t be calling it a spiritual journeywe would call it irresponsibility India This when she got just a little too proud of herself I grew so tired of her boasting about how all her decisions led to a higher plan of consciousness and a new appreciation for life and a new understanding of the universe at large And Bali was even worse I was hoping the little old guy didn t remember her Didn t that whole episode just turn out a little too cutely And then she fell off her bike She met her doctor friend, and bought her a house And met an old guy, and then she did things to herself And then she slept with the old guy And of course she s better at that than any of us because she is now enlightened And then she made a little rhyming couplet of a life in Australia, America, Bali, and Brazil Double cringe.Italy The author s angst and shallow self discovery and pretend real people met with the express purpose of reflecting what she would like to learn lessons that most of us will have learned far earlier in life before interesting lessons presented themselves To quote a phrase from the Italy section of this book, cross the street if you dare to even glance in a bookstore window and entertain a thought of buying this book Elizabeth Gilbert has no ideas about life Not only does she have nothing to teach, she has nothing to say This book is so vicarious that it reveals a profound and deeply disturbing ignorance about the complexities of real life The author s observations about life are simplistic and her insights so embarrassingly undeveloped and unsophisticated that she comes across as a detached observer There are very few passages in this book that reveal any real sense of transformation in her life She never really seems to glean anything authentic or deeply affecting from any of her experiences And because she has gained nothing, she has nothing to offer The reader is frustrated and unable to connect with her on any level This memoir not only lacks readability, it lacks any real humanity She is right when she says that she is not a traveler she does not have the heart or spirit of a true traveler because she somehow remains deeply unaffected She is merely a tourist, a spectator, barely scratching the surface of the lands she traverses, the people she encounters, and the experiences of what it means to be human She fails to see the poverty that surrounds her, or maybe she sees it She definitely never writes about it, maybe because it is not part of the road to any enlightenment.In spite of her year long journey she is still unable to gain true insight or wisdom from her pain and struggles There is no profoundness in her journey, whether it is personal or physical This book is just a simple walk through a simple mind She is not even a good enough writer to be able to cleverly disguise her childlike observations in beautifully crafted language I would rather read the trail journals of a young backpacker any day At least they are real After reading the book, I wondered how it found its way to the bestseller list I was perplexed by its popularity So I did some research As it turns out Eat, Pray, Love is an ideal industry example of how a publishing company can create a best seller from the printing of a trade paperback In hard cover, this book only generated mediocre book sales in the year in was published However, someone at Penguin adopted it as a darling and created a hard core campaign to sell the trade paperback.Well when they said here s 200, 000 dollars Elizabeth, now go travel and don t forget to eat, pray, and love when you come back I will get you the best editor and we will both feel enlightened So shallow, I cringe I cringe even for the women that buy into such shallowness.If you really want to live with intention, live your journey here and now YOUR here and now.This book gets Zero stars. Eat Pray Love is the monologue of a Neurotic American Princess Liz in her mid thirties The first few chapters background the rest of the book, a confessional that tells how she came to find her 8 year marriage distasteful, realised she wasn t keen on the next logical step which is apparently to fill her expansive apartment with children, and plunges into an impotent depression Without even getting drunk.One night, whilst bawling on the bathroom floor, a habit she has grown fond of, she is struck by a flakey attack of twattery Being an American, this experience manifests itself as finding some kind of God or thereabouts Naturally, she resolves to leave her husband Her husband isn t keen on this development, and, Liz finds that, strangely, he takes poorly to having his heart shattered into a million pieces.Husband behaves badly, and our protagonist feels hurt and sad But, no matter, because before long Liz hooks up with the sexy, exciting yoga chanting David, who takes a five minute break from his headlong charge toward floaty Thai fisherman s pants, a thin ponytail and male pattern baldness to rattle her well bred bones Liz drinks deeply from lust s stagnant well.But divorce negotiations do drag on, leaving Liz, once again, bawling on the bathroom floor This time however, it s David s bathroom floor And David, it seems, is unimpressed by such displays It seems men are interested in women for their unique and interesting qualities, and unless you are Bob Dylan, melancholy gets old, fast Incidentally, if you find a chap who does like this constant emo drama, then run.Here s what really bothers me about this book Eat Pray Love is a New York Times bestseller It was recommended to me by a friend, a woman, who is a successful publisher in her own right According to her, this is the best book she has read this year It s been a short year.In short, she isn t given to fawning excesses that one might expect from anyone who doesn t think this book should have been printed on softer paper I think 3 ply would about do it So I was surprised by her ringing endorsement.I am told, you see, that women get this book Which means they sympathise and understand it I bet its on Oprah s Fucking Book List.With this in mind, here s what I will say when I am invited to Oprah s Fucking Book club feminist rant Women You will get to the end of this book and may still be under the illusion that it is not your responsibility to make yourself happy Whereas, it is, in fact, your own responsibility to make yourself happy Being happy without being with a man does not trivialise love You should find challenges, entertainment, fun, excitement, passion, the thrill of mastery and satisfaction of achievement through your own doings, not who you are doing Love might enhance this It cannot substitute this.Can you imagine if men felt so incomplete without women When did is become acceptable for men to be our projects When did it become acceptable for women to be defined by their men , as if something less than this arrangement denigrates the sanctity of a relationship Fuck until I read this book I thought I d dealt feminism a crippling blow by jack knifing the trailer this morning I look like Susan Sontag in gumboots compared to this book.In EPL, the author s only explanation for her pathetic simpering twattery is that she is as affectionate as a cross between a Golden Retriever and a barnacle This is supposed to tell us why her sex life resembles pollen in a strong breeze.To her, and all other Oprah book clubbers who get this book get a Golden Retriever Or barnacles Or maybe a Golden Retriever with barnacles But for sweet knit one purl one Christ, leave this book on the shelf Post Script I m not anti American, I lived there and many of the best people I know are Americans I have, however, noticed a peculiar enthusiasm for Godliness in the land of the free.
Elizabeth Gilbert is an award winning writer of both fiction and non fiction Her short story collection Pilgrims was a finalist for the PEN Hemingway award, and her novel Stern Men was a New York Times notable book Her 2002 book The Last American Man was a finalist for both the National Book Award and the National Book Critic s Circle Award Her memoir, Eat, Pray, Love, spent 57 weeks in the 1
- 368 pages
- Eat, Pray, Love
- Elizabeth Gilbert
- 11 October 2017 Elizabeth Gilbert