I can’t be the only woman in America who does not like Eat, Pray, Love


By Peggy Weber

I was huffing and puffing and swinging my arms and legs while “skiing” on our exercise equipment.

My Alpine Exercise

I was flipping through television channels to take my mind off the fact that I didn’t want to be gliding along to nowhere.

The Oprah Winfrey show was on and she and all of her audience were in awe of Elizabeth Gilbert, the author of Eat, Pray, Love.

Elizabeth Gilbert and Oprah

I only caught the end of it but I was intrigued. I thought, hey I like to eat and pray and love. I should check this out.

I reserved the book at my local library and jumped into the pages with great anticipation.

After just a few minutes I began to wonder – what does everyone see in this book? Am I the only woman in America – perhaps the world – who dislikes this book intensely.

Evidently, Julia Roberts and I do not have the same reading taste.

Courtesy of Catholic New Service

I read the first few chapters as Gilbert explained why she was walking away from her husband.

She was restless, it seemed. And she was breaking this man’s heart. Oh well.

She had pledged herself to this man but only in sickness and in health –not in boredom.

Of course, she is off to develop a relationship with another man – an actor.

This fizzles. Now what?

As I was reflecting on this Eat, Pray, Love phenomena, (there are 400 products being offered on the Home Shopping Network) I came across this quote on the Catholic Digest web site.

It is from Helen Keller.

Helen Keller

 She states: “Many persons have a wrong idea of what constitutes true happiness. It is not attained through self-gratification but through fidelity to a worthy purpose.”

That is a sharp contrast to Gilbert.

In excerpts from the book on Gilbert’s web site and she writes about how she does not want to be married or have a house in the suburbs or have children.

I respect that, however, her oh-so-clever line about children reveals much.

She writes that every month when she discovered she was not pregnant she would say: “Thank you, thank you, thank you for giving me one more month to live.”

That sentence was like fingernails on a chalkboard to me. Having children does not end life!

She seems to think that people with children never get to travel or write or have adventures.

A review of her book notes: “Eat, Pray, Love is about what can happen when you claim responsibility for your own contentment. It is also about the adventures that can transpire when a woman stops trying to live in imitation of society’s ideals. This is a story to touch anyone who has ever woken up to the unrelenting need for change.”

Ugh!! Just get a new haircut!

I think if you look up the word self-absorbed in a dictionary you find the book cover to Eat, Pray, Love.

John Mulderig of Catholic News Service has written a review of the movie and describes Gilbert’s adventure as a “pampered pilgrimage.” He also notes that “the sight of Indian children gazing at a passing taxi from the litter strewn margins of a highway is dealt with as nothing more than local color.”

See his review on www.iObserve.org

I think it is good to examine one’s life. I think it is good to make some positive changes. However, I look to women like my mother and grandmothers who were faithful, faith-filled women who worked hard and loved their families. I don’t have to go to Indonesia to wonder about how I should live my life.

What do you think?