Elizabeth Gilbert


I have a basically unread copy of Eat, Pray, Love that I will likely never read at this point especially now that there is a movie version. Reading a book that you can watch is just very not done in my homeland. Americans are practical in their quest of the lowest road that will not make them appear too lazy or uneducated.

I am probably one of only a handful of women in the western world who hasn’t read more than the chapter excerpt of Eat, Pray, Love which appeared in Oprah magazine sometime in early 2006. I bought the book because I wanted to use the O magazine version as a reference on my comps. We had to write a bibliography of all the books or magazine articles we quoted, or that influenced ,the gazillion mini-thesis papers that made up the examination at the end of the masters program I was just finishing in the spring of 2006. Unfortunately, I had reached my limit on the number of magazines I could use and needed books. So I just figured since I liked the chapter, perhaps I could claim to have read the whole book and then do so after the fact, in case I got quizzed on it during our Masters week in July.

As a matter of fact, or point of reference, take your pick, I was working on those comps exactly four years ago. Or I was trying to. My father was having surgery and Mom was freaking out. He had a growth that needed removing that could have been cancer but the doctor didn’t think it was overly likely. I was prevailed upon to come home for Spring Break and … step up? … despite the fact that I had a thesis paper to finish and comps to take.

Big memory of that week, being annoyed that I was stuck taking care of kids, sitting at the hospital with Dad and generally being expected to be strong and serene while Mom and DNOS went about their normal routines for the most part. It was like they didn’t notice that I had really important agenda items on my plate that I couldn’t delegate. Sigh, always the delegatee back then

Anyway, Eat, Pray, Love.

I’d heard about this movie. Investigated the author and novel’s premise a bit more. Decided she was a poser and dismissed it all as self-help garbage.

“Why do people need to travel to exotic locales to find themselves?” I asked Rob on our most recent lunch date. “Your self is inside of you. There is no need to go looking.”

“Well,” he said, ” I’m a little hurt by that statement because it’s kind of what I did after Shelley died and I took my trip down south to revisit places we’d been together and see people we knew.”

Which, to my mind, made what he did different from what Eating Author did. She was running away in hopes that the bad stuff about herself would be sloughed off as she discovered new things or cultivated new things or something like that. Rob was reconnecting with memories – the good ones that get lost sometimes after your spouse dies.

I remember at the time I read that single chapter thinking “wouldn’t it be nice to have such simple problems and be able to shed a whole existence and start fresh with someone else bankrolling you?”   That just wasn’t my reality and never had been. When life needed overhauling, I had to stick around and do it and pay for it myself.

However, in a way, coming to Canada has been my mini-Eat, Pray, Love – minus the pray part or Yoda or getting to hang in India.  Canada? Not India. I have put on weight though. Perhaps I am like Eating more than I care to acknowledge?

Since Rob would rather sledgehammer a toe than go to a theatre to see a chick flick with delusions of enlightenment no less, I will likely only see this if the universe nudges me to pick it up at the bookmobile but since the book hasn’t moved me to crack its spine in fours years, I doubt it.