Eat. Pway. Wuv.


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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


I’m less sad.

Italy is beautiful.


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!

3 Responses to " Eat. Pway. Wuv. "

  1. The Mayor In Waiting says:

    Oprah seems to need to justify her existance through the promotion of this second rate self help crap or is it that she makes heaps of money out of it and languishes in the feeling of having duped another couple of million people into buying this.Personally more power to Oprah, while she is focusing on these issues the fact that her arse is getting bigger does not have to be adressed.

  2. Sara says:

    I too did not like this book. A dear friend gave it to me thinking I would really benefit from it, for some reason, although I am not an overachiever with the perfect husband, job, New York apartment etc…

    I found it rather false and too neatly wrapped up. I think she knew what she wanted to happened before it even did — it was a commissioned book after all. Plus she kept telling us what a wonderful, charismatic, enlightened soul she was. Blah.

    Gimme Bridget Jones any day. I like my chicklit self-deprecating and borderline alcoholic.

  3. Ashlee says:

    Ya I totally agree Sara. I also found the fact that the book was commissioned a bit unnerving because I too was questioning how neatly it tied up in a traditional narrative structure etc. It bought the validity of the story and her experience into question.

    I managed to finish it while I was travelling (my poor buddy Mike felt like he had read it by the end cos I kept turning to him and going ‘OMG now she’s doing this, what a dickhead’), and yeah. My loathing for it only grew, especially since she made some really weird statements about Indonesian Muslims in there too that I thought were very misinformed.

    Also, she was lucky to have enough money to do this. Most people dealing with a mental health problem have to stay at home and stick it out. It’s much easier to find yourself when you aren’t enslaved to the 9-to-5… but most people don’t have this opportunity.