Thursday, August 20, 2009

More from Elizabeth Gilbert? Really?

Elizabeth Gilbert's memoir Eat, Pray, Love spread across bestseller lists like wildfire. Critics loved it, calling it "engaging," "insightful," and "brilliant." Publishers Weekly went so far as to claim it as a "cultural and emotional tapestry." Readers went wild for it and booksellers ate up the profits. Even now, nearly two years later, EPL is poised to make another splash in 2011, this time on the silver screen, in an adaptation starring Julia Roberts, Billy Crudup, and Javier Bardem.

And it just keeps coming. Publishers Marketplace announced today that Viking is planning a 1 million copy print run for Gilbert's follow up, Committed: A Skeptic Makes Peace With Marriage. Expected to be "a memoir of the "tumultuous year" that came after the mega-success of Eat, Pray, Love" (Publishers Marketplace), Committed is bound to hit the lists just by nature of the author's past success.

But do we really need to hear more from Elizabeth Gilbert?
Personally, I say NO (in capital letters no less, especially given her past history of adultry, but that's another story). I was underwhelmed and unimpressed with EPL, finding Gilbert to be a petty, self-involved protagonist with more than her fair share of luck (and money), and quite frankly, I don't think the world needs any more of her toxic energy. Don't get me wrong, I am all for the universal search for identity we all go through, and I am happy to know that Gilbert went on such a soul-searching adventure and hopefully truly did come out of it a changed woman. But we don't all need to shout it from the rooftops. And if we do, such experiences should be shared with tact and grace, with compassion and an understanding that there are people much worse off than you that you need to avoid trampling over with insignificant whining. While her imagery and experiences were unique and even lush at times, I felt Gilbert was lacking that very important quality, and I was unable to sympathize with her situation. Yes, her life wasn't perfect, but in a lot of ways it was pretty damn close, and instead of taking those imperfections and A) working on them, or B) having the self-regard and initiative to rid her life of them if she couldn't deal, she just cast aside the world and went off in her own little la-la land, thinking of no one but herself. As I read, I constantly felt like shaking her and telling her "You got yourself into it, chica, now get yourself out!" Not the reaction I want from an insightful and engaging memoir.

So, please. Keep me far, far away from Committed, or someone will need to commit me.

1 comment:

  1. Julia Roberts is starring in the EAT BITCH BARF movie. Oy.