Sunday, August 15, 2010

Finding Forty, Day 80; Eat, Pray, Love (Spoiler Alert)

Tonight I'm venting.  Okay, well, so I always vent.  Big deal.   This is my year, my time to begin to figure things out.

My latest epiphany is that the much lauded, Oprah approved "Eat, Pray, Love" annoys the hell out of me.   Yes, I read the book, albeit years after the initial buzz over it died down.  And no, I have not yet seen the movie, but to be fair, I am sure I will, just maybe on dvd not in the theater.

The book bugged me.   I won't be transparent.  My initial problem is jealousy.   I'm jealous that Liz Gilbert was able to take what is undeniably an amazing life experience, write about it, and make millions.   Shit, she even gets Julia Roberts to portray her.   If a movie was made about my life, my best hope is to get Ricki Lake to stop touting home birth, gain back a good 10 pounds and hit the big screen again.

But, on a deeper level, the book bugs me because I wanted it to inspire me.  I wanted to be moved, to be challenged, to have Liz Gilbert grab me by the scruff of my whiny ass neck and force me to begin living my life fully.

And for the most part, it just didn't.

The book and apparently the movie, or at least the movie trailer, have the heroine explaining that her entire life has centered around love and being in love.   The trailer has Julia Robert's saying "Since I was 15, I've either been with a guy or breaking up with a guy...I haven't had so much as 2 weeks to deal with myself."

The movie trailer continues on with lush scenery, moving music, and phrases flashed across the screen that read "Have you lost touch with who you are?  Then risk everything and let yourself go."

And the romantic, gypsy, free spirit in me cries. 

The realist in me wants to puke a bit in my mouth.

Not to be jaded or cynical, but her purpose was to go away for a year to reconnect with herself and spend time alone, not being in love.

To cut directly to the chase, she can't even make it one full year without a man in her life.   By book's end, she has met someone in Bali and fallen in love.

Am I missing the point?  Can I not see the larger picture?

Could she truly not find a way to live without a man in her life or did the unapologetic time she was able to put into herself  push her through the process of finding herself and true, inner peace a bit faster?

Because let's get real here.

The trailer encourages us to "risk everything".   But, in all honesty, what did she have to lose?   She was already divorced, her job was such that she could write whether she be in NYC or Italy, India, or Bali.   She never had children.   What was holding her back, really? 

Trust me, I'm all for finding oneself.   I would love to have the year that she had, although there is no need for me to travel to Italy to gain weight.   I seem to do just fine within the confines of a Texas suburb. 

I honestly don't mean to sound like such a hater, I just don't get the general and overwhelming enamored state people fall into where this woman and her story are concerned.

The heroes to me are the moms who are busy schlepping kids to and from soccer and ballet, who spend hours working at a job they may or may not love and still have to come home at night and scrub toilets or make spaghetti for dinner.   Their Italy is a glass of red wine and if they're lucky they can meditate as Liz Gilbert did in India from their back porch as they watch the sun set in the western sky.   As for finding the love of their life, as the author did in Bali, well, hopefully he's been there with her all along as she trudged through her day.

And if he hasn't, then I hope she finds the courage to go out and find him.    For most of us though,  it won't be in Italy, India, or Bali.

Yes, we can all decide to eat, pray, and love but to adulate Liz Gilbert for daring to live a dream,'s hard for me to swallow.  She really had nothing to lose.  And even when she did go out in search of herself, she ended up back in another relationship before year's end.

My real love goes out to all the women who don't have the luxuries she had and still somehow, someway manage to find their inner piece, their inner peace.

This is my year,   I can't wait to see where my journey takes me.

Liz Gilbert, you can eat, pray, and love your heart out.

It's my turn.


  1. I find it interesting how strongly people react to her, whether positively or negatively. :) She definitely had a way of touching women. I wrote a post yesterday about how much I thought the movie sucked, but I admit - I loved the book.

  2. I loved the book, up until the end!

    In my mind, it was supposed to have a different that was stronger, more empowering, more...???

    I'll have to go read your post, I do so love your blog!

  3. Haven't read the book or seen the movie yet. My girlfriend and I will go to a matinee this way the spouse is gonna want to see this one.

    I think the appeal is the romantic notion of dropping everything and running off on an adventure to find oneself. Because, apparently, it is easier to find yourself in exotic locales. As far as ending up with a man, God knows I watch enough self-help TV (Oprah included) to be an expert in this area...everyone knows you don't get the man of your dreams until you are happy with yourself. Whatever you seek doesn't find you until you don't need it to be happy. Yeah, I watch way too much Oprah!

  4. Excerpt from Committed/A Skeptic Makes Peace with Marriage Elizabeth Gilbert - Author,,9780670021659,00.html?sym=EXC

  5. 'Their Italy is a glass of red wine and if they're lucky they can meditate as Liz Gilbert did in India from their back porch as they watch the sun set in the western sky.'
    Classic line...stuff that bestselling memoirs are made from.
    Oh, and I'm thinking you're (we're) more Courteney Cox than Ricki Lake ;)

  6. I agree with every word you wrote about this book. IMHO, Mennonite in a Little Black Dress was a better memoir from this 'divorcee' genre..

  7. I haven't read the book nor am I planning to see the film. If anything, I just want some inspiration to come out of a personal urge to just become a better person (cheesy, I know).

    -French Bean

  8. So, it would appear this eat, sleep, pray, drink, play, love, or whatever is a girl thing, but I just thought I'd say I love the double barrel of reality you shoot this Hollywood fantasy with. I'm a guy and probably don't get it, but I do get your list of real life heroes. The day I run off to find myself, a wife and two kids ain't goin' to like it much. If I can't find myself with the sunrise it would behoove me to try again tomorrow morning. Just sayin'.