Eat Pray Love Hate

Eat, Pray, Love, Hype.

(I realize I am late in writing this by US standards, but the movie has just released here in Spain and I finally had to write something about this.)

A friend gave me this book shortly after my husband died. I remember thinking at the the time that the story in general was interesting, although a bit self indulgent,  too wordy, a little naive and sometimes even dull. I read it, then probably left it on an airplane somewhere.

But then there was a movie. And the hype that surrounded that movie made it suddenly the best thing ever written. I tried to ignore it because I was in another country and the hype just didn’t exist. But then I went to the US for two months and was totally bombarded with posters of Julia Roberts face on every corner and constant trailers for the movie on every channel. Eat Pray Love style in magazines! Eat Pray Love home decor! Eat Pray Love music from the movie! I could not get away from this book that by this time, I really wanted to forget.

I returned to Spain. And the movie was released here. Dear God, Julia’s face with the gelato spoon in her mouth all over the damn city. Please, please let me get away from this…

By this time, I heard there was a lot of criticism going around regarding this book. Oh goody, I thought, I am going to go indulge myself on the negative comments surrounding this book, because by now the hype and praise were calling Eat Pray Love “a brave, inspirational journey of recovery and self discovery” which floored me. I can draw some parallels in my life to this mediocre story and in every one, my life is so much more interesting! My challenges greater, my risks much higher and my adventures far, far more exciting than say, spending four months in Italy eating and taking a few language classes. So I really needed to fuel my fire of rage against something so successful that I could have done so much better – but did not, have not.

But to my dismay, I found in the critical reviews, people were critical of the author, not of the book. They complained that Elizabeth Gilbert got paid to travel around for a year because of the book advance. And that they would do the same thing if they also got paid to do it, but they couldn’t just take off because they have responsibilities. That her journey is supposed to be inspiring but it isn’t because normal people aren’t able to just, just up and leave.

I want to respond to every one of these idiots with this: You could never do the same because you have responsibilities? Like what? Car and house payments? Turn in that fucking leased SUV. Downsize from your McMansion if the payments are too high. Stop living beyond your means. You have choices, nothing is stopping you. Oh what, you have children? Well in that case you cannot complain because your life is no longer yours. You realized you were giving up your freedom forever when you decided to make babies, didn’t you?

Others criticized her for running away from her problems. For not staying and facing her shit, but running off, away from “real life”.

To those I shall respond: Real life is whatever you create, not what is handed to you. Ms. Gilbert found a way to deal with her problems, figure herself out and change her life. She stopped bitching and moaning and took steps to make a change instead of sitting home, stuffing herself with Oreos and watching reality TV. And it worked. What are you doing to better yourself? What risks are you taking?

So while I cannot wait until I no longer have to look at Julia Roberts face with a spoon in it on every corner, and am still critical of the book for every reason I listed before, I am not critical of the author for having this experience and sharing it.

And if I think I could write a better, more interesting story along the same theme, then maybe I should listen to my own advice.

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6 thoughts on “Eat Pray Love Hate

  1. How true. I don’t know how many of my old riding “friends” have caved in and now make excuses for why they can’t go riding. Can’t exercise.. have to do this that or the other because they’re just too busy stuffing fast food into their faces and working to pay off their mortgage which takes 3/4 of their income.. and to pay off the second mortgage or the lease on their $40,000 SUV. Me, I’ve been driving the same trusty subaru for 13 years and I intend to keep driving it for the another 13. Sure I’ve got 4 motorcycles.. but all but one is paid for. And that one I only owe 3 grand on. 2011 is the year I will be debt free. Only 10 grand total left to go. After that.. it’s time to travel.. WHOOOO HOOOO!

    I just have to rant about the exercise thing a bit too. After getting over my calf injury I’ve slowly been increasing my running miles. I’m up to 4 a day and I go at lunch. I work at a college full of “enlightened” people with higher education etc. How many of them do you think I can get to go to the track with me at lunch? Yep.. none. I can talk a few into walking a mile.. which I use as a warm up for the 4 mile run. But nobody will ever run. The college even gives you an extra half hour for lunch if you exercise. And yet.. nobody will do it. Amazing.

    You should get a motivational speaking gig.

  2. Pegmonkey,
    10k is nothing! You are nearly there.
    As of last month, I am debt free 🙂

    As for motivational speaking, not sure I’m cut out for that, but right now I am trying to be open to any and everything.

  3. Britt – So glad we found each other! We have MUCH in common, not the least of which happens to be our nearly identical views on Eat Pray Love (barf).

    Great post! Just because I’m done blogging does not mean that you are – your posts are fantastic and really worth reading. You’re now in my blogroll!

    -Allison

  4. Well said Britt. How sad that so many people would rather live in the “someday” fantasy than make it a reality. But then again, many of those people don’t have much in life to look forward to other than driving to work in their 50,000$ car, and watching TV in their 600,000$ house.

    Personally, I’d like to believe that life is a little bigger than the things we think we own. Happy to read you agree.

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