When I was in high school, I read How Stella Got Her Groove Back, and I was like, “eh.” Ever since then, every time I’ve read stories and books about women awakening to their strength and becoming empowered in their womanhood, I’ve had exactly the same reaction (and to be fair, I have the same feelings about the bildungsroman in general, regardless of gender). Except once.
It’s been hard for me to put my finger on what I love so much about Elizabeth Gilbert’s Eat, Pray, Love, or what I love so much about Elizabeth Gilbert in general. Here are my top three books: Galápagos by Kurt Vonnegut, This Way for the Gas, Ladies and Gentlemen by Tadeusz Borowski, and Antoine de Saint-Éxupery’s The Little Prince — stories that, at heart, are about atrocities and devastating loss and how people or characters cope with the aftermath. Keep reading »
I feel bad for Emily Gould. Next week, the former editor of gossip blog Gawker.com will publish her first book, a collection of personal essays called And The Heart Says Whatever. And when I think about what’s going to happen to her, I just want to shield my eyes.
You see, almost two years ago exactly, Emily Gould landed on the cover of The New York Times Magazine for an article published in it, “Exposed: Blog Post Confidential.” If people hated her article (several thousand words about how her sometimes nasty blogging for Gawker complicated or ruined her personal relationships), they hated her cover photo even more: Gould lying on her bed in a tank top, staring up at the camera. The types of internet comments her piece provoked included cyberbullying-ish put-downs like “narcissists,” “narcissistic pipsqueak,” “immature,” “intellectual midget,” “navel-gazing,” “idiots with big mouths,” “undiagnosed psych disorder,” and “Now I understand the timeless appeal of public stoning.” Yeesh.
As another young female writer, watching this scared the crap out of me. I should probably be old enough to know better than to get rattled by all that haterade, but I worry about the young female writers in high schools across the country who see that and then learn, “This is what will happen if I write about myself.” Keep reading »
There have been a few books in recent years that have evoked such strong emotions that people pretty much love them or they hate them. One is Twilight, of course, and another is the memoir Eat, Pray, Love. Even if you have never read Eat, Pray, Love, you probably know the plot already: After a divorce, journalist Elizabeth Gilbert takes a year of her life off to travel, spending three months each in Italy, India and Bali. Gilbert eats good food, quiets the anxiety within her, and falls in love. It’s travel porn for those of us chained to our laptops in perpetuity, but in an utterly unique way, it’s freedom porn, too. Who amongst us hasn’t wanted to do what Gilbert did: secure a book advance, leave the ex-husband/boyfriend behind, and go to three of the most beautiful places in the world in an attempt to lift our depression?
But Eat, Pray, Love the book (and soon, “Eat, Pray, Love” the movie, starring Julia Roberts and Javier Bardem) has turned out to be a lightening rod of controversy in the most disappointing of ways. The negative reactions to “Eat, Pray, Love” show just how resentful, bitter, contradictory, and quite frankly, hate-filled we are towards a woman who does something for herself. Keep reading »
Check out the first trailer for “Eat Pray Love,” based on Elizabeth Gilbert‘s book. While I usually dislike movies made from books, I must admit: I think it looks pretty darn good. The cast includes plenty of eye candy (James Franco, Javier Bardem, Billy Crudup), and this could be one of Julia Roberts‘ best roles. (I also appreciated hearing Florence & the Machine’s song “Dog Days Are Over” in the background.) Keep reading »
After her hugely successful book, Eat, Pray, Love, was published, Elizabeth Gilbert settled into a lovely life with the man she met on that personal journey. Both she and the guy, known as Felipe in the book, had been married and divorced before, and they told themselves they weren’t going to get married again; just promising commitment to one other was enough. That is, until the U.S. Department of Homeland Security decided not to let Felipe, a Brazilian with an Australian passport, back into the country after a trip overseas. Sure, the two could have settled down elsewhere, but they wanted to live near family and friends, so the only real option for getting Felipe permission to reenter the United States was for he and Elizabeth to get married.
While they waited for immigration to look into their case — Felipe needed to secure a fiancé visa and wouldn’t be able to return to the States until he was given one — the two bided their time by traveling around the world together, living as inexpensively as possible in Southeast Asia. Meanwhile, Elizabeth looked into this thing called marriage. What was the big deal about it? Why didn’t many last? How has it changed over the years, and what does that mean for us? Beyond the obvious questions, she considered every possible angle, including points of view I had never, ever considered, and wrote about how she came to terms with the institution (because she didn’t have much of a choice) in Committed: A Skeptic Makes Peace with Marriage, which hit stores yesterday. She spoke with The Frisky about the joys and trials of matrimony. Keep reading »
And then, the icing on the cake, bitch goes and gets a movie deal starring Julia Roberts! No wonder Eat, Pray, Love drives some of us bonkers. Keep reading »