Beat Fray Shove: My Take On Eat Pray Love


Beat Fray Shove is what I’d like to do with Eat Pray Love, Elizabeth Gilbert’s monster hit book and movie of the same name.

You either love this book or you hate it.  I read it a few years ago because a friend loaned it to me and I was obliged to read it.  At the time, my friend was going through a rough patch in her marriage.  She had her eye on a professional associate, and not in the biblical sense, either.  Apparently the book touched on all her adolescent desires to throw caution to the wind, ditch the hubby, and set sail for some exotic land where love and romance lie waiting.

In any event, I read it.  I didn’t like it.  I attributed much of my dislike to the fact that I am almost twenty years older than my friend and I’d worked through my own angst in my free time without the benefit of a year off to eat, pray, and love.  In contrast, the author’s angst led her on a year-long trip to Italy, then to India, and eventually to Bali where she met a Brazilian factory owner who would become her next husband. All told, my math says she was a single woman for all of a year before meeting hubby number two.

The book begins with the author’s brief recap of her history leading up to the epiphanic journey.   She had (1) just ended an unsatisfying marriage and (2) just ended an unsatisfying affair.  On the up side, she was a successful writer who had garnered much recognition for her writing and published several books.

The author alludes to bouts of “severe depression” and hints at thoughts of suicide.  But, alas, our heroine opts instead for a one-year healing jaunt (partially funded by an advance for the book that would later be known as Eat Pray Love) and away we go on a whirligig tour of Italy’s gastronomic delights, off to meditate at an ashram in India, and ultimately to Bali where she runs into hubby number two, Felipe, the subject of her newest book about marriage titled Committed.

In a 2006 New York Times Book review of Eat Pray Love, the author acknowledges the “almost ludicrously fairytale ending to this story.”  She reminds the reader, “I was not rescued by a prince; I was the administrator of my own rescue.”  I’m still trying to figure out exactly what it was that she needed to be rescued from.

I ask you, am I the only woman who is more than slightly insulted when the author explains to us that she was not rescued by a prince?  Am I the only one who is offended when the reviewers slobber over the fact that she undertook a year of global self-exploration all by herself?

As to the “ludicrously fairytale ending,” the entire novel reads like a fairytale to me.  Nonetheless, the book has generated a fanatical following including Oprah and Hillary, two of its most famous fans.

We all want to believe in fairytales, but most of us won’t go running off into the sunset in pursuit of a prince who, BTW, doesn’t really rescue us.

But if we try really hard, most of us can realize a good deal of fulfillment from working on the relationships in our lives and staying the course when things don’t work out quite as planned.

But, hey, that wouldn’t be much of a fairytale, would it?

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