Saturday, March 21, 2009

An Author's Life: Whining about Eat, Pray, Love (IX)

Why would I want to read Liz Gilbert's best selling book, Eat, Pray, Love? I mean, really. Having people say, "she sounds like you" and "her story is like yours" is not exactly compelling. If I want to recall the dark years of my soul, I can take a handful of busprione and reread my journals. I need to read someone else's spiritual memoir?

But because a friend gave me a copy as a birthday gift, I recently read Eat, Pray, Love. Could not put it down thanks to my endless fascination with navel-gazing even when said navel is embedded in someone else's body.

Are Gilbert and I that much alike? I guess. The spiritual journey does, after all, follow a predictable trajectory that starts with a brutal wake-up call.

Differences: My so-called successful life imploded when I was in my late thirties. I did not take the language-food cure in Italy. The ashram where I spent my soul sabbatical was in the United States. (Her description of shakti kundalini is nicely done, especially since the experience is impossible to convey without sounding psychotic.) The healer who rocked my reality was from the Philippines, not Bali.

I've also yet to meet the much older lover who adores all my quirks, most which are floridly apparent either before, during, or after writing a book. And excuse me for whining about being a "mid-list" author, but no one has given me a whomping huge book advance to chronicle my journey from darkness to light. Not yet, anyway.


  1. Oh Meredith - what a great post, truly great.

  2. I found the book to be a self indulgent chronicle. And I did get sick of eat or not to eat.... who cared after a while? Not me.
    I admit I didn't finish it. Perhaps that fact removed some of the impact and I do the author an injustice. I was bored, and there were parts where I seriously doubted factual content; yeh I think it was (to put it nicely) embelished.

  3. Dear Anonymous,
    Memoirs are, by definition, self-indulgent chronicles and probably should not be written very much before age 60 -- in my rarely humble opinion! I try to enjoy the writing.


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