Thursday, December 06, 2007

I've been thinking...

Lately a number of blog posts have been floating around in my head. Unlike some of the posts that have been written and deleted, there was nothing wrong with the posts floating in my head. They weren't offensive. I didn't feel like I had to censor myself. No, I just never got around to actually writing them down. My mind has had time to think about things, but the thoughts never quite crystallized and my hands didn't fly over the keys.

I was going to write about the book Eat, Pray, Love, but I just read somebody else's blog post on the subject, and I'm not sure I have much to add. I was listening to commentary during On Point on NPR recently, and the book also came up there. I was surprised that the commentators hadn't read it. (I know I just said I wasn't going to add anything, but now I think I have to add my two cents). I enjoyed the book. It made me examine my own belief systems, the value of my life, where I'm headed and where I want to be headed. It made me think. But, I didn't love it.

The first two sections of the book are very strong. While I don't share much of a common experience with Ms. Gilbert, I empathized with her. I was jealous of her travels in Italy and was intrigued by her spiritual voyage in India. I wished I felt I had the ability to take a year off for self discovery. I wished I could spend days and weeks glutinously devouring food and thought and feel good about myself. Still, I did not find her time in Indonesia to be as compelling. She seemed to boring and normal in Indonesia. While she attempted to portray herself as something more than the average tourist or ex pat in Indonesia, I didn't quite believe this portrayal. She calls her Indonesian stay the "balance" portion of her trip, but I had difficulty seeing how it had anything to do with balance. Maybe I just didn't understand it, but that seemed to be the weakest part of the book.

I wonder if part of my disconnect was also a wonder about Ms. Gilbert. How did she become the person her book portrays? What was so broken about her marriage? Why did she leave that marriage to be with a man who did not have the emotional ability to make her happy? Has she actually dealt with her problems, or is she merely masking them in a cloud of self love? While these questions are ultimately irrelevant in my enjoyment of the book, they remain in my thoughts. I read the book on the recommendation of a friend. He had talked to me a bit about my depression and my lapsed faith and felt it could be good for me. While I think that some of the messages of the book did speak to me, I do wonder if perhaps he and others believe that we should regard Ms. Gilbert as a model. Based upon what I know of her, I'm not convinced that she would make a good model for me.

Anyway - that's a random smattering of thought on something I really know nothing about. I'm not a book critic - I just a girl who reads a lot.

No comments: