I’ve seen about a zillion people reading the book, Eat, Pray, Love, on the Subway and I must have stored the title away somewhere in my subconscious.
Then I read an intriguing Slate review and finally decided to pick up a copy of my own before flying to the top of the world and back.
I *really* wanted to like this book given the tagline, “One Woman’s Search for Everything Across Italy, India and Indonesia.” I feel like I, too, am searching for something…although perhaps on a less grandiose scale. Or, rather, I’m not divorced, I *do* actually want to have kids, and I’ve never turned to God in the middle of the night after repeatedly crying on my bathroom floor. But I was still hoping to find something I could identify with on a small scale. And I suppose to a certain degree, I did.
I liked the book…to a point. I was totally with Ms. Gilbert in Italy. The food, the language lessons…the doing stuff for you – I get that and how it can help you get past whatever is holding you back and make you see things in a different light and realize that you can, in fact, go on. It certainly made me want to goad my aunt and my Italian uncle (who has never been to Italy) into finally taking that trip (my aunt invited me along once) so I can eat all that food myself.
But Gilbert sort of started to lose me in India. I mean, I can *appreciate* her spiritual quest and her hard work. It’s admirable. It’s not quite as easy for me to identify with (Pasta? Pizza? Gelato? A beefcake language coach? Sure! 3AM chanting? Meditation in a cave? Not so much…), but I can appreciate it.
However, Indonesia is where it sort of all fell apart for me. I understand her quest for balance and a desire to find a happy medium…but it seemed to me that as soon as she found Felipe, she just sort of let everything else go. She stopped visiting the medicine man…who was really the whole reason she went to Indonesia in the first place. And maybe that was all part of his grand vision for her – she’d come and spend some time with him and then meet someone else and her healing would be complete and she’d learn to love again, blah, blah, blah. But it seems like the very ideal of balance means that one wouldn’t spend every waking minute with a middle-aged Brazilian.
Or, on the other hand, maybe I’m just jealous I do not have a middle-aged Brazilian of my own…
Maybe I am just a hedonist.