Over my business trip, I finished Elizabeth Gilbert's memoir Eat Pray Love. (331 pages) While I enjoyed reading her spiritual/personal/emotional journey, I felt a little icky reading it.
Let me explain. I definitely think there is some strength and power in her act of taking time out of her (love) life in order to center herself spiritually and find balance in her life. However, I have two problems with her project.
First, in order to find herself she needs to leave America (fine) and immerse herself in another culture (also fine). But the way in which she insinuates herself into the culture -- simultaneously adopting and fetishizing their way of life -- seemed a bit offensive. I felt a little like I was reading a British women in the nineteenth century having her one last fling in Italy before going back to her staid normal life.
Secondly, I found her voice throughout the book to be a little annoying. There, I said it. I found myself admiring and loathing her, alternately. Now, the likability or charisma of a memoir's narrator is a huge part of the reading experience. In fact, it is probably the most important quality of the reading experience. She was kind of like that friend who leads a super-dramatic life and needs all of the attention all of the time.
Now, despite my above grievances, I did enjoy the book. I think she led some fascinating experiences, and I would love to have the opportunity to spend a year abroad. I'm wondering if anyone else out there had mixed feelings about the book, or if I'm just feeling some sour grapes.
Total For 2008: 1901 pages
Genres: Memoir (2), Essay (1), Graphic Novel (1), Non-Fiction (2), Poetry (2)