Thursday, September 2, 2010

Eat Pray Love? 'Fraid Not.

I have to confess that I have only read the free Kindle sample pages of Eat Pray Love.

I'd tried reading it in hard copy at Barnes & Noble and I barely made it past the introduction.  That opening line, "I wish Giovanni would kiss me" sealed the deal - I rolled my eyes, shook my head and shut the book.  But I was nice and replaced it in the stack. Really. I remember doing that much.

The Kindle sample pages, which I read a week or so later at home with a drink in hand, hoping I'd get more in the zone - I mean, after all the buzz about Liz Gilbert's memoir, there had to be something to justify its bestseller status - simply reinforced the fact that I just don't get it:  Self-indulgent wealthy woman, the "primary breadwinner" who decided "I don't want to be married anymore", travels to three places that start with "I" (I get that much) for food, sex and occasional attempts at spirituality for a whole year.

Wait a second. I'm supposed to identify with her?  Admire her? Wish I could be her?  (Well, I am unabashedly envious of her success as a writer - but I still don't get it.  Maybe if I read the whole book, I would...but I can't.  The sample pages were sufficient torture for me.)

I wasn't quite as clueless about why they made it into a movie starring the always-radiant Julia Roberts (Ms. Julia loved the book, which explains it), but I haven't had the slightest inclination to see the movie either.  I almost want to see The Expendables (does that title come from the silly "What mean expendable?" line from one of the Rambo movies?) out of contrariness, but seeing all those aging action guys would be too depressing.

Who has read the book? Who has seen the movie?  Can someone explain to this intolerant, non-touchy-feely, unsympathetic curmudgeon why I should give a damn about this woman's story?  Are there any other women out there who are as disinterested in it as I am?


  1. Hahaha :) Terri, that was funny. I've been in such a funk today and then I read your review of Eat Pray Love and you made me chuckle a bit. I did read the book a while back but I'm not going to pretend I remember exactly what it was about. She did go on this life journey to three countries that begin with "I" and she found love, sex, spirituality and the rest of it.
    the book is widely successful so a lot of people do identify with it. Can I identify with a rich woman who can take off and do a trip like that? Course not. What did I like about it? I don't know. I don't remember. But it wasn't the worse story I ever read. I think I admire her as a writer too, although I criticized her here:

    Haven't seen the movie though although I hear it was universally panned by critics.

    I think if there is a takeaway is that if you are married and unhappy, get a divorce and go find the true "one" even if he lives halfway around the world. And while you're at it, eat good pizza. How's that?

    by Jeannie Goldstein
    PS I tried to send you a pm the other day. Did you receive it?

  2. Hi Jeannie,

    I just read your comments on Liz's interview, where she referred to her pre-nup with Husband #2 an 'act of love.' First time I've ever seen a pre-nup referred to like that.

    I don't look askance when it comes to pre-nups. A wealthy (and/or ambitious) person who gets a pre-nup isn't, in my mind, self-centered. I think it's simply a smart business move, and accepting that marriage is, indeed, an economic partnership.

    That's why I think pre-nup's are always tough for people to handle, since their romance has to lie in the same bed as their 'what if we get divorced' financial planning.

    So Liz has wised up for her second marriage. She needed to, in light of her huge financial success. I guess it's more her style, maybe it fits her persona more, to mask her business savvy (i.e., requiring a pre-nup) as 'an act of love'.

    It's also kinda jarring not to own up to her own ability to think logically, unencumbered by emotion.

    Women shouldn't be ashamed or reluctant to be smart business people. I'm sure Liz never intended to convey that message by her remarks to the WSJ but it may have had that unintended effect.

  3. You're probably right. But it did have unintended subtext effects of saying, "hey, I love myself most of all. And my power is in my ability to protect myself from you from the very beginning" and there's nothing wrong with that. I'm just saying she shouldn't try to call it an "act of love" because then, I have to ask, "love for whom?"

  4. Agreed. Can't blame her for putting herself first...

  5. Terri - I noticed that you alluded to "The Expendables;" I understand that one review of that movie (Rolling Stone, I think) said that the only reason to see it was if somebody held a gun to your head and ordered you to choose between it and "Eat, Pray, Love."

    Ann Doyle Thurlow

  6. A follow up to this post, 13 months later:

    I never did see the EPL movie. The very idea of it made me groan, despite the great reviews. If I want my emotions manipulated, I'll see Beaches, which at least has Bette and her fabulous voice to juice it up.

    And I did see The Expendables on cable, which stank as badly as I expected it to. What a dumb movie. At least I didn't waste any money on it.