Book Club Friday . . . Eat, Pray, Love style

Friday, April 8, 2011
Of Woods and Words


End the week with bookish chat. I share what I'm reading, you share what you're reading. If you've written a bookish post yourself in the last week or so, slap the above book club button on it and link up below!

I don't expect to make a habit of this, but today I'm writing about a book I haven't even finished yet.

I'm about a third of the way through Elizabeth Gilbert's Eat, Pray, Love, which is to say, she and I have just finished up a wonderful four months stuffing our faces with pasta in a whirlwind tour of Italy and are now just disembarking in India. If you missed the hoopla about Eat, Pray, Love which kind of "re-blipped" last year when the Julia Roberts flop of a movie edition (or so I've heard) came out, the basic premise is this: Elizabeth Gilbert, a successful, published short story author and magazine writer, decides to recover from an emotionally draining and long-drawn out divorce by spending a year traveling and living in Italy, India, and Indonesia. (Her publisher contracted Eat, Pray, Love before Gilbert even set foot on foreign ground . . . lucky.) 

So here I am again, reading another wildly popular book I was initially hesitant to delve into. Honestly, I was even more hesitant about this one than I was with The Help because in Eat, Pray, Love's case, I'd actually heard a bit of negative comments about the book, mainly that it was far too self-indulgent. The fact that it drew comparisons to Under The Tuscan Sun (which I detested didn't care for) wasn't exactly winning it any points either . . . Still, my curiosity was piqued. So I retrieved Eat, Pray, Love from the "to-be-read" stack.

It's no secret that I've been in a funk lately. Eat, Pray, Love may be just what the doctor ordered. Even if I'm not traveling this April, I get to go off gallivanting with Gilbert to mixture of new and familiar places around the world. And obviously Gilbert's mess of a divorce is way worse than any personal dissonance I might be experiencing around or in myself lately and acknowledgments of that nature always cheers me a rather morbid way. 

It reminds me of the power of literature to transport us to places far, far away from our everyday existence or stir up memories of places visited a while back.
Rome J-term 2006/2007
 The book reads as a bit self-centered, I suppose. Then again, I'm not sure what a book billed broadly as "a journey of self-discovery" is supposed to be and as a blogger, I'm as guilty of overusing the "I" pronoun as the next bloke. Sure the plot grows a little dull when she goes on about failed love affairs (maybe those are only truly interesting to those who have lived through those particular relationships?)  but she was such a large, charismatic cast of characters flitting through the scenes that I'll forgive her for maybe harping on about David just a little too long.   

If for nothing else, I am falling in love with Eat, Pray, Love for how honestly she deals with the same worries I do, especially when it comes to the "baby, baby not" conflict which seizes all females with a (presumably) working uterus: 
To create a family with a spouse is one of the most fundamental ways a person can find continuity and meaning in American (or any) society. I rediscover this truth every time I go to a big reunion of my mother's family in Minnesota and I see how everyone is held so reassuringly in their positions over the years. First you are a child, then you are a teenager, then you are a young married person, then you are a parent, then you are retired, then you are a grandparent -- at every stage you know who you are, you know what your duty is and you know where to sit at the reunion. But what if, either by choice or by reluctant necessity, you end up not participating in this comforting cycle of family and continuity? What if you step out? where do you sit at the reunion? How do you mark time's passage without the fear that you've just frittered away your time on earth without being relevant?

I can't wait to see what India and Indonesia will bring Elizabeth and I. Nothing like some good "armchair tourism" to help the funky days pass!


10 comments:

  1. I LOVED this book. I felt transported to the places of her travels and it expressed something I was feeling at the time too. I was really surprised how much I liked the book. Glad you are enjoying it!

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  2. I had mixed feelings about this book.... some of it was really great- other parts were just a bit much..... but I did love her descriptions of the places she visited!

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  3. I got bored with the book and didn't finish it, but I'll admit I went to the film (in the discount theater, that is) for the "armchair travel." The cinematography was incredibly beautiful!

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  4. Hmm, everyone recommended the book to me yet I didnt read it. The Husband got it shortly after my arrival thinking he would do something good. I fall asleep after roughly 10min.
    Maybe just in time for your funk I have pout up the 3. part of My Europe. Have a great weekend.

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  5. I am excited to hear what your final thoughts are on the book :)

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  6. Hi there! I am your newest follower from the blog hop! GREAT blog:) You can find me at www.bouffeebambini.blogspot.com

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  7. Hi sweet friend,
    I have been wanting to read this book for a long time! I am currently reading, Ann Voskamps; one thousand gifts!
    have a lovely weekend!

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  8. I couldn't find the post about the Boost my

    Blog Friday Blog Hop, so I am leaving my note

    here....

    BLOG HOPping around - I am now a follower of

    your blog, wont you also follow me?? ~KM
    Krafty Max Originals

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  9. I have a huge amount of stuff I'm reading and this is a pretty sweet post idea, so come next Friday I'll have to give it a shot :D Thanks for the suggestion!

    Come Visit Us @ Cat Dead, Details Later

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  10. I really liked the book....and I agree with you. It's a bit tough for a book that is "self-discovery" to not sound self -centered. I also agree that as bloggers we could be described that same way.
    I found her more curious & searching rather than self-abosorbed. I liked how she went deeper than many people want to go.
    Italy is by far the most fun part! :) The other 2 locations have different, just as important lessons.
    I liked the book better but I did enjoy the movie. It was great to see the scenery and see how they interrputed the book.
    Have fun...and thanks for stopping by my blog!

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