Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Eat, Pray, Whine

This is my second time reading Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert and I have to say, I still find it to be repetitive, dull, and narcissistic. I understand why it was a bestseller, and I very much appreciated the vivid descriptions of various homelands as Gilbert made her way around the world, but this book is missing something. Whereas Rushdie, Achebe, Grace, and the other authors we have read managed to make poignant statements about home and the loss, or gain, of feeling comfortable in one's home, Gilbert focuses solely on her midlife crisis that seemingly appears to spring up from nothing. I can sympathize with Gilbert feeling confused and out of place in a life that she once considered home, but it's the way she handles things that makes me cringe. Almost immediately, I find Gilbert difficult to stomach based on her reactions to her initial circumstances: "I was hiding in the bathroom for something like the forty-seventh consecutive night, and-just as during all those nights before-I was sobbing. Sobbing so hard, in fact, that a great lake of tears and snot was spreading before me on the bathroom tiles, a veritable Lake Inferior (if you will) of all my shame and fear and confusion and grief. I don't want to be married anymore" (Gilbert 10). My question here is, if she doesn't want to be married, then why doesn't she say something instead of hiding out in the bathroom? After eight years of marriage, she owes her husband at least that much. Besides Gilbert's character, I did appreciate the beautiful scenery and the unique way in which Gilbert attempts to find home. For Gilbert, home is not necessarily a place, but rather a journey. From the decadence of Rome to the ashram in India and finally to the balance in Bali, Gilbert takes a different route in her search for a homeland. Though I am not a fan of this memoir, I can see how it relates to our study of home and homelands. From a personal perspective, I had to move from one college to another to finally feel comfortable and the transition was not easy. It took time and I experienced a lengthy internal debate over whether or not I should simply stick it out at Elon or seek out happiness somewhere else. For Gilbert, home finally came when she allowed herself time to heal. She removed herself from any and all relationships following her disastrous rebound with David and took the necessary steps to be her own advocate. In the end, Gilbert found a homeland within herself (as cheesy as that may sound). However, it's true because until Elizabeth Gilbert found peace within, she could never feel happy or satisfied with any type of life. Maybe that's the one thing I can find redeeming about this book: the fact that the author was brave enough to stand up and realize that she wanted something different and taking the time to initiate change. It's a comforting, and somewhat obvious notion, that to feel at home in any relationship or location, we must first feel at home within ourselves.

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