Inspiration From The Distant Past

Inspiration From The Distant Past
Found note in an old book... warms the cockles of my bookish heart...

Friday, August 13, 2010

Let's be honest... (Eat Pray Love by Elizabeth Gilbert)

We have sacrificed way too much time on the alter of the mediocre book in hopes of finding one of “those” books. When younger, I was willing to read a few chapters in anticipation of the point where it would hook me, and by that time, whether it had done its job or not, I was committed.

I don’t have that kind of patience anymore.
Every last bit of it was exhausted by people who eat lunch while they’re talking on their cell phones, traveling one mile under the legal speed limit, in the fast lane, with their blinker on when I am late or even worse... have to go to the bathroom! ( For the mothers of young children among you, think, “Screaming entity in car seat” )

Like I said, spent, so a book has two pages to woo me, three if it buys me a glass of wine, otherwise, I’m outta there, thank you very much.
I’m only interested in a book that sweeps me off my feet. It has to transport me or transform me and nothing else will do.

Elizabeth Gilbert’s
Eat Pray Love is one of those books, those rare gifts that did both and now it’s a movie. I won’t see it, but on some level I’m glad, because it’s made more people want to read the book, though ‘I’m trying to be glad’, is closer to the truth. I searched and didn't find any reference to it by the bookish beauties who create this literary oasis, but if I missed it, I apologize for being redundant.

Assuming you don’t live under a rock but allowing for the possibility that you’ve been reeeeeally busy, it’s the true story of a woman’s life in metamorphosis and the transforming power of throwing yourself into your own life, consequences be danged to heck.

The almost too much longer version is: mid thirties, married, slight nervous breakdown, runs very far away from home, eats, starting to feel pretty good about it all, more travel, larger or smaller breakdown depending on how you look at it, a lot of praying followed by more traveling and finally love, both of herself and a man, in Italy, India and Bali, respectively.
The three countries are so pivotal to what happens to Gilbert that they become characters in a sense, but some how I don’t think of it as a travel book, though it did make me want very much to go to India. Road trip anyone?

Here is where I would insert the photo of my dog-eared, highlighted, tea and tear stained copy complete with margin notes, but I don’t own one. Even though I’ve lost count of the number of copies I’ve bought, I can’t include an original picture, because I keep giving them away, the last one just two days ago.

Instead, here are my 109 beads, one for each chapter. I think Mrs. Baja Greenawalt would understand.


  1. I did not read the book but am scheduled to see the movie tonight. Are you not seeing the movie for a particular reason?

  2. I did love this book so much I'm going to hate it if the movie lets me down, but the truth is, I'm just intractable and need to get over it.

  3. No, we haven't talked about this book on Mrs. BG! I so glad you posted because honestly, I didn't know much about it. A fellow blogger dislikes it. I tried to find her post to compare views but no luck--- maybe she will stop by to chat.

    hahahah-- I can relate to the driving scenario but I haven't reached your level of impatience with books yet but I've noticed the last few months that I am a bit disgruntled when I finish a hohum book.

    Funny, you mentioning jotting in the margins--- I've run across several bloggers blogging about marginalia lately. I didn't know it had a name and I don't do it but found the idea interesting.

    And I know what you mean about movies from beloved books--- but I usually cave and watch them.


  4. Marginalia! I LOVE it.

    I really hope the blogger who didn't like the book does. I wonder how much the books we fall in love with are as much about specific moments in our lives as they are about the books themselves. I'd had that birthday where you're closer to 50 than 40 and my children ( birth and bonus ) had all left home when I first read it. I felt like I didn't belong in my own life anymore. That probably has a lot to do with why I loved it so much.

  5. Though I get why some just absolutely adore it, I personally didn't. In fact, I don't exactly "get" it. To me, it was a bit like The Secret -- it's a lot more toned down, but still.. you get the point. A lot of people loved it because they said it was uplifting and inspiring -- I just thought it was preachy.

    That's just me though. I might see the movie.. when it comes out on DVD. I don't know if I would spend $10 on it.

  6. I loved this book too! I read it 2 years ago on vacation. I was really at a point in my life where it was a book I really needed to read to be inspired! I will definitely read this book again when I'm in my 30's (I'm almost 25 now). I think there will be new insights to learned from the pages of her journey.

    I keep hearing people say how self-absorbed she is and what not. But my feeling is that it is a memoir---about her own personal journey--so it is going to be all about her!

    I'm not sure if I will see the movie. If anything, I'll probably wait until I can get it at Blockbuster!

  7. I think that where we are is a big part of what books we like when we like them. After Jillian said she didn't care much for it I started thinking about that and what occurred to me was that when I was a kid, I loved Gone with the Wind. I still do. It's one of "those" books, but I see it now with more awareness that it was not a happy beautiful book. It was a book about slavery which may have facilitated a beautiful illusion but it was on the backs of other people's misery.
    I don't think I'd love it so much now.

  8. Funny you mention GWTW, Tracy. I used to think Scarlett was just the most wonderful character when I first read the book: determined, fiesty and vivacious. Not until I got older did I see her to be a scheming, shallow...well, you get the picture.

  9. Tracy: GWTW is one of those books for me too. I gain more awareness with each reread-- the historical details that I skipped/missed as a kid are some of my favorite parts now. Did you ever read Rhett Butler's People? I really enjoyed it too-- I posted about it back in Jan/Feb.

    DeLynne: Scarlett is all of those things and more... but as a kid, I only picked up on the fun partygirl traits too.

  10. I'm glad you loved this book as much as I did. Not everyone does. I love and appreciate "real" people. So enjoyed her wit and candor. I read it years ago and have been waiting for the movie, but can't decide now if I really will see it. It's been my experience if you love a book--the movie may spoil your reading experience.


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