Lvrgrl’s Weblog

Audacity of Pleasure
October 13, 2008, 1:53 pm
Filed under: literature, travel | Tags:

EAT PRAY LOVE, a review:

Don’t listen to Oprah or the millions of ladies nodding their heads to the tune of spiritual renewal. The reason this book resonated for millions of American women is because it’s actually about sex. Alternate title: No Sex, No Sex, Sex – a tale of eight months of pain and four months of pleasure. It tells us what every woman wants to hear: good sex is at most, one year and a million miles within your reach.

The real story here is one of a woman who hadn’t been properly laid in a long time and so when someone gives her (and yes, you can GIVE an orgasm) four orgasms in a day and doesn’t care if she doesn’t shave her legs in exchange, she falls in head over heels, even if he is a 51 year old man with an ex wife and three kids who lives oceans away from her home. Then again, maybe it was all her intense yoga that made her open to love.

As the first few pages of this memoir reveal, Gilbert leaves her husband and shortly after decides to travel through Rome, Bali and India seeking nourishment for the soul and the battered ego. After confiding that she’s not going to dish about the fallout of her marriage, aside from admitting that a big suburban house and a kid might just not fulfill her after all, she goes on with a few ragged details about a bad relationship gone worse held close due to glimmers of intimacy through a view otherwise blocked by the sheen of tears. And then, with a fat advance from her publisher, she’s off.

The first section, on Rome, is highly skimmable. Gilbert turns down all opportunities to do “it” when she’s there – choosing to remain platonic with her dark and stormy Italian language partner. India fares a bit better, with entertaining bits starring a reformed Texan cowboy who talks a little like Sawyer from Lost and uses nicknames like “groceries” and otherwise tells it like it is. Unfortunately, this man is only a spiritual partner; an easy American there to guide her through the ways of the Ashram.

Things finally pick up when Gilbert gets to Bali. (Flip to the back and you’ll find the word “he” sprinkled throughout, and not a with a capital “H.”) The he is of course another dark but calm before the storm sort of man who is totally happy to give her the world and expect nothing in return. What a let down. This woman has in fact become so self fulfilled that just when she needs nothing she gets it all. Well, goody for her. Elizabeth Gilbert may swear by her travel guide to transcendence but you’d have a better chance of inspiring self-actualization from tackling Obama’s ‘The Audacity of Hope.’

*edited by Carolyn Murnick


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