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Eat Pray Love Backlash

Is Eat, Pray, Love Enlightening or Annoying?

Elizabeth Gilbert's memoir Eat, Pray, Love has been a smash success, especially among women. Some readers have even embraced it as more of a self-help guide than one woman sharing her personal thoughts on life, love, and spirituality.

However, this kind of success often comes with a backlash, and some critics are claiming Gilbert ought to "get over herself." That strikes me as odd considering that a writer is, well, required to be a little self-absorbed when writing a memoir.

What do you think? Do you like Gilbert's book, or is it just a lot of navel-gazing nonsense?


lwhistle lwhistle 6 years
Eat, Pray, Love, Seriously? Picked up the dvd. Here is my idea of a real life E,P,L. Eat. Woman's hubby needs to find himself. (aka. travel and sleep with other women) She fights lawyers for alimony and child support. In the meantime works in crummy low paying job. The only food she can afford is Mac and Cheese and pasta from a can. Pray. After long day at work and taking care of kids she prays to God that the light and water bill will get paid this month. God does not answer because he is busy helping some spoiled chick in Bali who is in crisis over her Roman holiday weight gain. Love. Are you kidding? No hottie with sexy tears is waiting for her. If she does date it's usually some slightly balding, overweight guy who is looking for a wifey to take care of all his house hold needs then greet him at the door with candles and lingerie. Sex is over in 5 minutes and thank God for that. Seriously? Another book where EPL author is now in Hawaii after leaving sexy cry baby because she is tired of his tears every time they make love or watch Beaches. She needs to find herself and meditate in a luxury hut with beach side service and pineapple martinis.
melissa mark - right on. that's exactly how i felt about it. i think i smiled every time she mentioned having to scrub the floor. lol
Leilanic1 Leilanic1 8 years
I loved this book. I think what a lot of people here have said is that you do have to be in the right frame of mind to really absord or relate what she is saying. She was on a spiritual journey so of course some of what she would say would come across as preachy. She was trying to find her spirituality and herself amongst the rubble of her disasterous decision/life choices. I'm currently going through my own transistions so this book really spoke to my heart and soul. sounds lame and cheesy but i love it.
LilGlamDiva LilGlamDiva 8 years
I went back and forth. I found the beginning to be very inspiring, then I found it dragging in places....overall the story was good, but her telling it could've been more varied.
orisugar orisugar 9 years
Pros: engaging, funny, well written Cons: Many parts of the book seemed contrived (praying for her husband to sign the divorce papers and moments later he does OR singing that hymn to her nephew and instantly her sister tells her that he sleeps well now OR how she dreams were symbolic to the point that it seemed fabricated). Like ckc said, she had written the outline of her memoir before even going on this 12 month spiritual journey -it got bought ahead of time by her publishers because Gilbert probably gave them a detailed account of what was going to happen. I kept feeling that she was trying to make whatever she told her publishers was going to happen, happen- like a self fulfilling prophecy. Gilbert came through as an annoying/selfish person. I like her writing style, but I can't help but not like her. Especially towards the second half of the book she seemed like she had this superior "I've attained divinity" air about her. She got REALLY preachy towards the middle, and i didn't care much for that. The part at the ashram dragged!!! What infuriated me the most was that she TOTALLY exotified/fetishized the "EAST". I found many parts of her journey in India and Bali problematic. She was so ignorant always assuming that everything that happened to her had some higher meaning and the people she predetermined as spiritual were in fact spiritual. Half the time that medicine man had no idea what she was talking about and when she wounded her leg he sent her to a real doctor- which is a blatant indication that he was taking her for a ride. He did not want to mess up trying to cure a famous writer from America who would probably figure out that he can't cure her so he sent her to a real doctor. But Gilbert wanted so desperately to believe that he is a spiritual healer (for her book sales) thought he was operating under some higher master plan. WHAT BS!!!! She's like one of those colonial-guilt ridden Westerners who over revere Eastern philosophies and think they can solve their Western problems by "finding God" in the East. Another thing is she was SO incredibly narcissistic and selfish. I understand that it's a memoir but I've read tons of memoirs and never have I wanted to punch the writer for being self-indulgent. She focused way too much on her inner consciousness. You know how when people give you detailed accounts of their dreams, it's a little annoying? Same thing here. I liked the first part in Italy best. Her descriptions of the place, food, people was really fun. The rest not so much.
shazchina shazchina 9 years
In response to ckc above--does Elizabeth Gilbert have a child now?! That is news to me--I don't think this came up on either of her quite recent Oprah appearances.
romanruin romanruin 9 years
I totally understand about the Oprah comment. I wanted to read the book before i saw her on Oprah. When i watched her on the show i was really turned off. She had a very superior aire about her...and i didn't feel any warmth or emotion from her at all. Being into the New Age/Metaphysical movement (I run an online New Age store) I decided it wouldn't be fair to judge the book having not read it. I did read it, and I liked it...I really loved her writing style...and she comes across in the book a lot differently than she does in interview. I only wish I had read the book before I saw Oprah!
Pixie08 Pixie08 9 years
I think that Eat, Pray, Love is an awesome book and Liz Gilbert deserves all the praise that she is getting for it. I think people are upset that they dont have the guts to go out, drop everything, and search for complete happiness. More power to her!
ckc ckc 9 years
This pretty much exemplified why I don't like memoirs. Her entire story was constructed before she went, hence the hefty advance. She is a good enough fiction writer and approached this book like a work of fiction. I'd have been more satisfied if her travels and experiences were enlightening enough to write about, not thought up ahead of time. She also doesn't answer a lot of questions about her feelings about her issues (there are sooo many). She doesn't want to have a child with her husband, yet she has one now. Didn't want to get married again, and did. Changed her mind? Fine, but get honest with the readers. And if I had a nickel for every person in despair who wound up praying as a last result, I'd have a lot of nickels. Not exactly the newest approach, but new to her, which is where the true story is. Other than the miracle of her nephew, we don't ever find out how prayer has worked in her life (other than the movie deal.) I'm donating my copy to the local library so I can rescue someone else from paying good money at Costco to get a copy.
katmarie katmarie 9 years
I loved it! It made me want to travel, and open myself up to new experiences. It also inspired my daily meditational time.
devirama devirama 9 years
I found Eat Pray Love a brilliant memoir. Of course the author is self-absorbed--she's writing her autobiography. What do the complaining readers suggest she do? Describe the life of Beatrix Potter? Gilbert's wit, courage, and openness would be commended if she were a man. Since she's not, other women throw stones at her for stretching her envelope. Hillary Clinton has suffered much the same fate. Instead of maligning women who choose an adventurous life, the rest of us, if we can't emulate them, can at least admire their achievements.
dleapbaby12 dleapbaby12 9 years
This is a a book about her life experiences. She should have been self absorbed. It is all about her. I am struggling to get through the book mainly because by the time I got into it and she was in Italy, I feel obligated to read on. This is a book for someone who can just walk away and make that change. Not someone who - like myself - have a husband and 2 children. One is 18 and one is 12 and you realisitically can't just walk away. Being almost 50, about to be half an empty nest, yes, I will take away from it that it's time to make changes. I in no way think she wants us all to do what she did but to just become self aware of our lives. Is there something that needs to be change? Is there something that I can change? Those of us who do put ourselves 100 percent into our situation, loving and caring for our family to the point of losing ourselves after time, can take from it that we do have the power to change our lives but it is up to us and let's face it - it may take a sacrifice. I don't view it as a self help book but just one to remind us that sometimes in life it's up to us to make the change happen if it needs to and that we can't rely on someone else to get that job done. Read the book but not to actually go out and do what she did but see how it MIGHT relate to what you can do in your life if you are feeling sad, frustrated and ready to pull your hair out.
livininomaha livininomaha 9 years
I traveled to Italy in April 2006. I fell in love with the country and its people. When I got back I wanted to read anything I could that had anything to do with Italy. One of the first books I found was "Eat, Pray, Love". I enjoyed the book a lot, at the time. I'm so disappointed that Brad Pitt and Julia Roberts are involved with taking this book to the big screen. I hate both of these people (adulterers). Loved the book. Will NOT be seeing the movie if Roberts is starring in it. I wish Hollywood would get the picture that if Roberts was ever "America's Sweetheart" she is not any longer. I can't understand why she keeps getting hired. What an uninspired choice to star in the movie based on this book.
JivaGirl JivaGirl 9 years
I just finished & enjoyed "Eat Pray & Love" because I could really relate to each country and many of Gilberts Experiences. My husband and I were in Italy in October 07 for our honeymoon and visited many of the same places Gilbert has visited, had some of the same food experiences and afterthoughts. I grew up in Indian culture, have been to india, mediate and do yoga, so this part especially was easy to relate to and fun to know another white girl was getting a lot out of the Indian experience. Gilberts experience with depression and "happy" pills was similar to mine as well and my thoughts about pills and depression were well articulated. Indonesian trek was not familiar to me, but enjoyed the story of Gilbert coming into her own as a 34 year woman. If I hadn't had the life experiences as I did, perhaps it would have not been so enjoyable. But that I could relate to her experiences made it a kind of personal experience for me - I felt like I connected with the writer because of my own life. I wouldn't knock her book as a self-absorbed novel, but a pretty gutsy move to be able to express some very sensitive and personal experiences. Sometimes I felt like I was reading her diary, sometimes it felt like I was listening to a good friend talk about her travels and other times, I felt like I was reading about myself. We're all self-absorbed a little, yet we also tend to be a little afraid of intimacy. That Gilbert tactfully told us a very personal story about herself is pretty cool!
bootsietx bootsietx 9 years
I loved this book very much. I think it depends on what stage of your life you are in as to how you relate to it. I am in my early 40s and was separated from my husband last year. I know exactly how she felt on that bathroom floor, feeling helpless and asking for help because you feel like something is wrong with you. In my case, I reunited with my husband after the separation and did not go on a journey to find myself. I am happy now having done my own soul searching...but I really enjoyed accompanying her on this journey. I also wish to go to Italy someday (to visit where my grandmother was raised) and enjoyed experiencing her experiences even if only in the written word. I think Liz Gilbert has a fantastic writing style; she is very descriptive, funny and outspoken. I enjoyed this book very much.
lilkimbo lilkimbo 9 years
I found the book annoying. But I guess people have different views about different things. I wouldn't recommend it, though. (And neither would at least 5 or 6 of my friends who have also read it and didn't like it.)
LaLaLaurie06 LaLaLaurie06 9 years
I liked it but I can see where people would think it sounded like Gilbert was a little too self-absorbed and whiney about her life. Also, do the people at PopSugar know that in the MySugar part, whenever I try to answer a poll, it always marks my answer for whatever the first poll on the page is, even if that's not what I was voting for?
posey posey 9 years
I love memoirs, and this was no exception. I'd go so far as to say it's my favorite genre to read. I don't mind the "navel-gazing" or "preachiness" of a lot of them because I just go into them accepting that this is one person's view on their own personal experiences, and I don't necessarily have to agree or even learn something from it. Of course, I wouldn't be likely to read a memoir of someone I *know* is very politically in opposition to my beliefs, based simply on the fact it probably wouldn't interest me and would likely just anger or irritate me. I just finished "Dishwasher" by Pete Jordan and would highly recommend it. His goal is to wash dishes in all fifty states - something I would never want to do - but it was very interesting!
HushYuppie HushYuppie 9 years
I used to work at an warehouse and I'd cringe every time I had to grab this book from inventory. Same thing with "The Secret." ya, ya, i know, don't judge a book by its cover. But I think there's something to be said for gut feelings and that ole' intuition, especially after taking my chances of "The Secret". Anyway, the book sounds too much like faux female empowerment for my taste, mostly empowering the writer's wallet. Frankly, I'm not interesting in reading about someone who has the luxury of traveling for a year or what have you, while going through a difficult time. Especially by a published author who knows all to well how to turn a literary trick. I prefer memoirs gritty, raw, and hell, amateurish. Excuse my rant, I'm hungover and hungry as hell... and despite all my bitching, I will get around to checking the book out of the library someday. It's just not at the top of my list.
ladyjules79 ladyjules79 9 years
i loved the book--even my hubby liked it. i thought it was really sensatory and emotional and i appreciated her talking about what must have been a very difficult period. has anyone read anything similar that i may love? looking for a new book!!!
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