I’m currently reading “Eat, Pray, Love” by Elizabeth Gilbert. It’s that airy fairy finding yourself mid-life crisis book that Oprah made famous with her book club. I think it’s even one of her FAVOURITE THINGS. OMG OPRAH GIVE IT TO ME FOR FREE AND THROW IN A CAR *POSITIVITY SQUEAL*.
I’ve had a few conversations with people about it. Obviously, living in Indonesia, quite a few people around the traps have read it because a third of the book is set in Bali. A lot of the people I associate with are lovable cynical bastards, so of course, they think it’s a load of self-indulgent tripe.
I’m inclined to agree so far.
Conversing with a coworker who had “read the Bali bit while waiting for my wife at the doctors,” we generally agreed that it fits into the slot of solving-your-midlife-crisis-through-yoga books that Oprah audiences seem to love so much, that’s the only reason we could come up with for its huge success.
While her writing is not bad at all, it’s more the clap happy American “self-help book pretending not to be a self-help book” act that I can’t deal with. She’s trying to deny that she’s a self-obsessed yuppie through most of the passages I have read so far, but it’s NOT true.
I mean, books that reference spirituality and finding ones self aren’t usually my cup of tea anyway, so it’s probably just a genre issue. If you love guff about middle class people solving their post-divorce mental health issues by galavanting around the world and eating prosciutto and going to temples, then fine, read away.
I just don’t understand how books like this can be heaped with so much literary praise though. It’s no more insightful than most personal blogs.
I summarized the first third of the book, set in Italy, for another coworker today. Here’s my synopsis:
I have depression and want a divorce
I’m in Italy
Italy is wonderful
I’m eating lots of food
I speak Italian now
EAT EAT EAT BELLISIMO AMORE MISC ITALIAN WORDS BUFFALO MOZARELLA EAT EAT EAT
I’m less sad.
Italy is beautiful.
EAT EAT EAT HAHA I SPEAK ITALIAN AND YOU DON’T SO I’VE STOPPED EVEN BOTHERING TO TRANSLATE STUFF COS I’M SO SMUG EAT EAT EAT
My pants don’t fit.
Let’s have a cry about how amazingly transformative all this food and Italian has been.
Now I’m going to India.
I expect the next section will replace the word EAT with PRAY and the Italian lessons with Yoga classes. If she gushes about praying as much as she gushes about pasta, I highly doubt I’m going to make it through to the section set in Bali.
Now I don’t want to come over all bitchy like (even though I clearly find my soul and happiness through the gentle art of being snarky), but yes, it’s great that you solved your mental health issues and found happiness by taking a year of travel and I truly wish the author all the health in the world, but I don’t like the book.
PS. On another note, I’m going on a spiritual journey to find myself to Komodo Island for the next week so won’t be blogging for a bit. When I’m back, expect some spiritual musings on how spiritually enlightening it was to go snorkeling and how beautiful all the people we met were and how eating grilled fish was the height of pleasure. Or, expect anecdotes about how the dragons almost ate me but then I squealed and runned away. And expect shitloads of photos!