Tuesday, August 31

Eat, Pay, Leave


The new movie 'Eat Pray Love' starring Julia Roberts is making its way through the cinemas. I read the book by Elizabeth Gilbert about two years ago. It was cute, but I really found her to be self indulgent and suffering from intense naval gazing.
Out of a bad divorce, she picks up and goes on a quest to 'find' herself. Welcome to the real world darling. I, too, had a sad divorce, but you didn't see me pick up and take off to Italy, India and Indonesia. I had two toddlers that needed to be cared for and a battle with their father for him to step up, man up and be responsible financially in the raising of said toddlers. Running away was and is not an option for a lot of divorced women.

The best part of the book was when she was in Italy. If any woman is suffering from self doubt and low self esteem, Italy is the cure all place to go. Just walking down the streets in Rome will boost your ego instantly. Cries of "Que bella donna' and 'Bellissima' will put a swagger in your step faster than a new pair of Jimmy Choo's and will not cost you a dime. I love Italians. They have such a great attitude towards life. Eating is a pleasure and is not be rushed. (Have you ever seen an obese Italian?) Italians are the pros when it comes to slowing down and enjoying the moment. And they have cute soccer players to boot....

I have never been to India, but from what I have heard, it is beyond anything one could imagine. Going off to a yoga retreat in India not only sounds exotic and wonderful, I can't help but imagine the poverty that surrounds these nirvanic compounds made to cater to the EPL pilgrims. Dysentery also is an issue. I will take a retreat with Bryan Kest in Maui, thank you very much!

She ends the book in Bali. She meets up with a guru/shaman little man and also gets involved with a real estate transaction and a Brazilian man. There is a certain element that happens to 35 plus women where they feel they have to find the answers to the meaning of life and more importantly their existence. One can do therapy, one can travel, one can meditate, one can get involved with other people and help out the world in small philanthropic ways. She tried to help out a local woman but in my opinion got shammed by this woman. Unfortunately, Americans are seen in the third world as endless money sources. Maybe ten years ago, but the way their economy is going down the tubes these days, that generalization will become misconception.
She meets a Brazilian man in Bali. (That in itself is fodder for a whole other blog post...)There are hundreds of Brazilians in Bali. They go for the surf and to export Balinese wares back to Brazil to sell at exorbitant prices. I know a few Brazilians that have moved permanently to Bali. They tell me that the cute little restaurants mentioned in the book have become tourist traps for these legions of self discovering thirty something divorcees. The charm has gone and one place has actually made up Tshirts saying "Eat Pay Leave".....

I ask, what has Elisabeth Gilbert given back? She is now a gazillionaire author, telling her story on Oprah and having Julia Roberts play her in a movie. She may have discovered how to make a lot of money by writing, but her stories are involving others. How have they fared? Or does she continue to be self serving? Here is a link to a blog post that sums it up quite well . Thank you to Jezebel for the photo.

5 comments:

Norma Bastidas said...

Amen sister! i never read the book. I found it insulting just like you. I take my life poor and all with my two boys than her self indulging millionaire life.

Linds said...

Why are you offended that she was self indulgent?

If I had the same experience I would do exactly what she did. Especially because she did not have children, I think it's an amazingly bold, brave thing to do (and I would imagine you would too since you lived in Brazil for so many years!)

What's so bad about deciding to leave everything to travel for one year if you have the money?

I do agree that in writing about it (although this is her right as well) that she didn't necessarily bring good things to the small villages and ashram she mentions although, at the same time, think of the economic growth that must have come from her recognition.

I say let's support the women who have the guts to follow their hearts. It's so difficult to find these women and they are so admirable....

Just as admirable as women who raise babies and support entire families or have their own businesses.

If you put women down for being strong and decisive and 'self indulgent', you make us all look bad and make it seem that to put yourself first is wrong. Not fair.

Lisa Kauffmann said...

I am not offended by her self indulgence. It's her choice to go and travel. She had nothing holding her back.
I do, however, take issue with how she used the people in her book to feed her literary hunger, without giving anything back. With all of her money, why didn't she fund a school or a health clinic for the locals of India and Bali. Has she donated any money to the victims of the latest volcano and tsunami in Indonesia? I lived in Brazil and have personally put two people through school and I certainly don't have the funds of Elizabeth Gilbert. She is all about take take take....

Linds said...

I don't know if she has donated money to victims of natural disasters.

Do you?

My point is that she was doing something to better herself at that moment in time. She wrote a book about it without expecting it to be as successful as it was.

Everybody wants to make a living. It's just that she was extra blessed with financial gain. Maybe she did donate to the ashrams. Maybe she donated to a local health clinic in India. I dont' know about that.
I do know she invested an awful lot of money in the economies of those small villages she spent so much time in. She doesn't live like a queen (at least that is the impression I got after her second book...)

I just think you're jumping to conclusions about her without really providing any proof of your claims.

Also, I'm not trying to be combative. I just wonder if you really got your info from some source or if this is just stuff you're saying... enlighten me if I'm missing something here!

Lisa Kauffmann said...

I know this information because I have a lot of Brazilian friends who live in Bali who know her.....