Eat, Pray, Love – Review

Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert was all over the news. Talk shows, magazines, TV, newspapers… you name it. All this occurred oh, about 5 years ago.  I thought I’d really like this book. A woman travels the world on a personal journey…. that sounds good to me! So, at that time I added the title to my book list. My book list is a never-ending list of books I want to read. Years pass and the book moves further and further up my list until ta-dah… it’s at the top. Then, for some reason, I just bypassed it and read a bunch of other stuff.

And then I did something surprising for me. I watched the movie before I read the book! I know, shocking isn’t it? I am not a watch the movie first kind of girl. I am a read the book first kind of girl but I guess every once in a while I’ve got to mix things up. So, I watched it and I liked it. Julia Roberts may have something to do with that – ever since Pretty Woman I’ve been a fan of just about anything she’s in. She’s one of those actors that I find fascinating to watch. But, I didn’t love it and I wasn’t about to go around raving to all my friends about what a super movie it was.

A few months after the watching I finally read the book….. S…L…O…W…L…Y. I’m a fast reader. I can devour a book in no time, but this book just couldn’t hold me. It took way longer than the three weeks that the library allotted. I’d read some, think about the movie, wonder why I was reading a book with such a whiny character, and really, I didn’t care about her personal journey. I kept thinking, why was this such a hit? Here’s a woman who was part of a crappy situation, fell into a depression, fell into another crappy situation, got a bunch of money for a future book and then took off to explore the world. I guess I just wanted to slap Ms. Gilbert, shake her by the collar and say, really? A broken relationship is going to be what defines you? Who are you? Don’t you know? And, I guess that’s the point. She had no idea who she was and it took a whole bunch of eating, praying, and genuine loving until she figured that out.

I’m a pretty self-possessed woman. I’ve always been sure of who I am, and even when a crappy situation has smacked me across the face, I wail and despair and flail and then give up those feelings and let them fly away. I am in no way defined by who loves me. I know who I am (the good and bad) and I figure if someone else doesn’t love me then who cares? My personal journey has had its ups and downs, but Ms. Gilbert and I handle life WAY differently. She wallows, I shake it off. And I think it was this point that made me feel a disconnect to the book. I couldn’t see myself knowing this woman and being her friend and supporting her through thick and thin. I saw her as an energy sucker… someone who was kind of needy… and I just didn’t have the energy to even empathize with her journey she was on so many, many years ago.

I guess what it comes right down to is that for once the movie was just about as good as the book (when usually I find books way more insightful). So, if like me, this book hasn’t quite made it to the top of your book list you might as well just watch the movie. You’ll get the same story but you’ll also get to watch Julia Roberts too.

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