Sunday, January 31, 2010

Book 5- Eat Pray Love

Eat Pray Love is a memoir written by journalist and author Elizabeth Gilbert in which she chronicles a year of her life where she lived in Italy, Indonesia, and India.

This is a memoir so it's a true story, a part of a person's life and for awhile I struggled about what I wanted to say. Is if fair to criticize the way person chooses to live his or her life? Can I just critique the writing and presentation itself without judging the person? I think the answer I came to is a resounding "no" because I think Gilbert is a whiner. I am not a fan.

She was PAID to travel the world to eat, to pray and to fall in love. Okay, she wasn't paid to fall in love, but it still happened and all she did through this entire diatribe was whine about her past life. Okay, you want to go on a spiritual journey to get closer to God or find peace in life, then by all mean go. And Gilbert went.

I also understand that she ended a marriage in a painful fashion and had an unhealthy romance with a guy and those things do hurt. Yes, I understand that all too well. BUT, here is the big BUT in all of this.

Gilbert left her entire life for a chance to get away and start over, to get a fresh perspective, a new outlook, and this is GREAT, except she whines her way across the world. The title should've been Eat Pray Love A Woman Whines her Way through Three Counties. She seems miserable and when the misery starts to shut down, she seems ungrateful at the good fortune that befell her. The rest of us do not get to flee our lives when things go wrong and she was so lucky to have this chance.

While in the first part of the book, Italy, she was eating her way through the country. And whining. This is where the back story was laid for us about her marriage ending and about her terrible relationship with David. But she was rather pathetic. And she chose to be celibate in Italy. okay, personal choice but I wanted her to stop complaining about it since it was her choice! Italy sounded wonderful in certain parts, where she was talking about food and the country, but I wanted more of the "travelogue" than to listen to any more of her pity party. I will certainly give props to her description of her trip to Venice. It sounds beautiful and haunting, simply perfect.

The second part of her book was about her visit to India to pray and meditate with her guru and live an Ashram with others. More whining. I'm sure it was supposed to be funny, the ongoing argument she had with god over meditation that she couldn't seem to accomplish but... get real. It was just another way to add something new to complain about. She was about over her bad relationships and finding some peace and digging the whole India things so now she whined about her inability to mediate. Until the life lesson came along (oh we readers never saw that coming, oh no!) and smacked her around and she could suddenly mediate. And her buddy Richard from Texas... once he arrived on the scene she seemed to quote him all the time, and do what he suggested. What happened to her guru?

In the final section of the book, which couldn't arrive fast enough, she stayed in Bali to just... relax i guess. To re-charge before she was going to return to the States. I knew nothing about Bali so the historical information is interesting and I was impressed with her analysis, I guess, of the Balinese people and customs. However, I about said "screw this stupid book" when she went out on the town with new friends, wore a dress and make up for the first time since leaving the States, flirted with men who flirted back and got drunk. Doesn't sound like a bad way to have an evening, does it? But nooooooooooooooo Gilbert suddenly finds herself seized with thoughts of her ex -husband and about her ex- boyfriend David and questioning everything. To me, if one night of drinking, dancing and flirting, was enough to undo all she had worked on for months, then she is weak. Seriously, she thought she had put her past where it belonged (behind her!) but one night flipped her out? And instead of using all that she had allegedly learned in her meditations and from her travels, she channels Richard, the guy from Texas friend she met in India who dispensed life advise and spiritual wisdom like a first graders dispensing Pez on the playground. I had had enough at that point. One evening out with guys and her life falls apart? Sad, pathetic and weak.

Her self depreciating humor left much to be desired. I felt a little of that went a long way. It just got to the point where it was annoying.

And after her rants and raves about the ills of marriage, her newly released sequel is all about how she got married. I think not. The word that screams in my head is "HYPOCRITE". I will NOT be reading about more Gilbert. The subtitle of her book is One Woman's Search for Everything Across Italy, India and Indonesia. She wasn't sure what she was looking for, but I feel like after reading this tome, I knew exactly what she was searching for: a new husband, and she found him.

I wanted to like this book so much and I know my displeasure puts me in the minority. This was a NYT best seller, she was on every talk show in the land and it's been translated into a million languages, or something like that. I should like it: a woman my age gets to travel the world and write about it. Right up my alley, right? Should be my sort of thing! The last 30 days were a a trial for me, slogging through these pages. But Gilbert's constant whining and begging for sympathy made this a distasteful read for me. I'm glad it's done.