Tags: ashram, divorce, Eat, Elizabeth Gilbert, George W. Bush, India, Indonesia, Italian, Italy, liberal street cred, Losing My Religion, Love, misuse of music lyrics, Pray, spiritual journey, Swammy G, worst book this year
I don’t typically read books about food. For whatever reason, I get bored reading paragraphs filled with nothing but food preparatory details. Knowing this about myself, I never considered even picking up this book off of the shelf to read the description. The only reason I am reviewing this here is that a co-worker offered to let me borrow this book on CD. In the end, my instincts to stay far away from this book were dead on – just not for the reasons I expected.
Eat, Pray, Love is a memoir which describes the impact taking a year away from home to heal from a hard divorce had on Elizabeth Gilbert. During that time, she stayed in three countries: Italy, India, and Indonesia. The book is separated into three sections for each country. She goes to Italy to learn Italian, to India to study at her guru‘s ashram, and to Indonesia because a wise man she once met there indicated that she would eventually return to stay with him.
During the Italy section, this book was almost poetic in its theme of finding and honoring oneself. However, the poetry of the book was too often interrupted with seemingly unnecessary references to current American politics. Because of how well the rest flowed, those comments, which ranged from off-hand comments to an entire chapter dedicated to thanksgiving that George W. Bush wouldn’t be president much longer, felt like huge potholes in an otherwise smooth road. They did not add to her experiences with struggling between career and marriage, her desire not to have children, and her spiritual longing. They simply dated a memoir that could otherwise be timeless.
Skipping over the political banter was as easy as pushing the forward button, but there was no way to avoid her agonizing discussions of her spiritual struggles as related to Swammy G, her guru’s guru. It didn’t take me long to start begging for a long soliloquy about cooking two cups of rice a single grain at a time. Still, I was committed to finishing the book until *it* happened.
Play by play of *it*
- 1. Open chapter with Gilbert’s thoughts on the merits of “cherry pick” from the worlds’ religions to discover appealing spiritual practices.
- 2. Literate Housewife rolls her eyes when Gilbert slips a closed minded and oversimplified statement about the Taliban and the Christian Coalition into an otherwise open-minded discussion.
- 3. Continued exploration of the idea that all of the worlds’ religions (sans Taliban and Christian Coalition of course) provide elements of Truth.
- 4. Literate Housewife looks out the window of her car and wonders what it is about grass that makes cows eat it so ravenously.
- 5. Hearing “That’s me in the corner.” jolts Literate Housewife back into Gilbert’s diatribe.
- 6. “Oh, no. She isn’t.” says Literate Housewife.
- 7. “That’s me in the spotlight.” says Gilbert.
- 8. “She musn’t!” panics Literate Housewife.
- 9. “Choosing my religion.” says Gilbert.
- 10. Literate Housewife screams. She turns off the radio thinking that many fundamentalist Christians and Elizabeth Gilbert now have something in common – the misuse of secular lyrics.
Congratulations, Liz Gilbert. You’ve earned your liberal street cred. You just lost me along the way.
To buy this book anyway, click here.