My book club is reading Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert this month. I started it but decided to stop about 75 pages in and pick it up again right before the book club meets in order to have it fresh in my mind when it’s time to discuss it.
As I’m sure you know, Eat, Pray, Love is a memoir of a 30-something woman who, after a messy divorce, takes off in search of answers in three countries: Italy (eat), India (pray), and Indonesia (love). This book has been a bestseller for months, staring at us from the shelves in Target, Costco, Borders and the grocery store. It was touted by Oprah on at least 2 different shows, which is a lot of media hype in and of itself. I resisted this book for a long time, but when the book club picked it, I had no choice but to give in.
So far I like her style; I like her sense of humor and turn of phrase. She does not annoy me in the least. Her descriptions of Italy, from the food to the men, are so vivid it makes me want to pack my bags. Oh, wait, unlike Gilbert I have a family and responsibilities, and no one is going to pay me to go find myself. Shoot. Ok, I’m a little jealous, but I still like her.
So I was surprised, then, to get an email from a friend in my book club saying she thought Gilbert was a whiny bitch. Such strong emotions! It occurred to me that maybe this friend could also be a tad envious of Gilbert’s freedom to travel and not answer to anybody. She happens to have two children with special needs and has a hard time getting out in the evening just to see a movie.
I was further surprised to read my blog friend Beastmomma’s recent post about the book, in which she said, ”Eat, Pray, Love would have been a much better book if the author did not seem like she was patronizing and condescending to the countries she visited.” I took that with a grain of salt, because Beastmomma is of Indian descent, so quite possibly she has a different viewpoint than many other readers. Well it wasn’t long before a verbal fist fight ensued in her comments section. People seem to either love or hate this book. It has resonated with so many and pissed off so many others.
Have you read Eat, Pray, Love? What do you think:
Eat, Pray, LOATHE or Eat, Pray, LOVE?