Saturday, August 21, 2010

Eat Pray Love

I remember seeing this book in the store, long before Oprah dedicated an entire show to it. I was intrigued by the cover, but when I picked it up, I swear people looked at me as if to say, "Oh, look at that sad lady. She could probably use a few more self-help books." I put it down and walked away. But every time I passed it, I stared at it for a few seconds, wondering if I should read it. Then, I saw Elizabeth Gilbert on Oprah's show. I watched the whole hour. I realized I didn't need the book. And when I discussed it with fellow book-lover Bernice, I had no idea it would incite a rant instead of a rave! When she said she quickly threw it out (presumably before she got to the pray or love sections), I decided it was smart of me not to have even attempted to read it.

The premise, that a woman took a year from her unhappy life - which, in all honesty, didn't seem that bad - to travel the world to "find herself," just seemed selfish, whiny and more than a bit unfair. I mean, who wouldn't check out of life's tough times if they could financially afford it? But, embraced by Oprah (and her many moms who no doubt could use a break), Hollywood came calling and turned it into a movie.
I have loved Julia Roberts for (can it be?) decades. I decided to give this a chance for the following reasons:

  1. Um, hello, Julia!
  2. I was hoping the eat section would embrace the food much like "Julie/Julia" and make me crave Italian food - not hard to do.
  3. I was on vacation and not traveling the world. This would be my escape!
  4. I realized if I waited until Friday, I could see it for just $5 (a local theater offers that deal Friday-Sunday for films that start before noon).
Rosenda agreed to meet me at the movie, so I lowered my expectations, not expecting to love it or hate it. And it delivered. My spoiler alerts follow, so stop reading now if you don't want to know (but please come back after you see the movie and tell me how right/wrong I am).

I wanted to punch Julia's Elizabeth before she started her journey. How could she not know her husband could not commit to a career before they got married? Was she blinded by love or what? That's something you either embrace or get real about before planning that wedding. Side note: ladies, that character quirk you find endearing in a man will only annoy you over time. And don't think you can change a man! If he dedicates an entire weekend to football, you will not get him out of a jersey and away from the television during the season. Surrender or walk away now. Noooo. She became annoyed by it. Prayed about it. Decided divorce was best. He still loved her. She might as well have given him the middle finger and walked away. Ugh. It was at this point that Rosenda and I started asking, "When does she eat?" while we picked at our candy. She tells her publisher friend that she's leaving the country for some self-healing/discovery. I sighed and rolled my eyes.

First stop: Rome! I was super excited about this. BRING ON THE PASTA AND PIZZA! Sadly, every time she sat down to eat, it was less about the food and more about her feelings. I wanted long, sweet shots of every meal - no matter how big or small! Disappointing quick shots left me wanting more - and not just food. I realized, it was all about seeing how slowly this Elizabeth was finding herself - seeming to be kind of happy alone. I did say at least once, "I want that - not just the pizza, but the trip." That's right. I had vacation envy. :(

Next stop: India. She lives at an ashram. I loved everything about that - the colors, the peace, the happiness. Then, I realized it would be hot there. As it's been 100° or hotter for the last week, I knew I would not enjoy that.

Next stop: Bali. Oh, surprise. We're now talking about a woman who has not had one bit of sex - not even a make out session - during this whole journey. Meet cute young boy. Thankfully, Elizabeth is not a cougar, but she somehow leaves him naked on a beach at night (saying, "I dated you 10 years ago" or something to that effect, I wasn't taking notes). Then, she agrees to go out with a Brazilian man who nearly killed her while she was riding her bike. Long story short, she realizes she loves him. Sail off into the sunset - well, on a motor boat, not a sailboat, but that's the end.

I was irritated. I did not hate this movie. I did not love it. I wanted more. I felt like I deserved it. 

After all this, and a long talk with Rosenda, I have decided I want that journey. Not exactly her path - but I want to go away for a year or so. I am planning to go for at least two weeks before I'm 40 (how's that for planning - I HAVE TIME, PEOPLE! Also, what's sadder than a 40-year-old woman walking alone in some foreign country?). I have set the goal because I'm hoping to beat it - not just before the big 4-0, but also the duration. I just need to not feel guilty. Oh, and there's that whole thing about being able to afford it. I will save but secretly hope I win the lottery so I can just go wherever I want whenever I want (yes, I know this is the least likely option, but a girl can dream). I would love to go eat fantastic food and pray that it doesn't wreck my digestive system while I attempt to sleep!

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