OK friends, saints and secular folks alike are talking about this book, Eat, Pray, Love, in anticipation of the movie’s arrival. I bought the memoir at the airport several weeks ago because I am working on my own spiritual memoir. I read a blog post by a respected literary agent who highly recommended that people in my position read twenty memoirs before writing their own – and she was serious about that! I have not read twenty. I may have read six or seven. She proceeded with a list of recommended reading, followed by the ninety or so comments from other avid readers, along with their book recommendations. It was quite clear from the list that Eat, Pray, Love is the standard for spiritual memoir. So, I picked up the book in the Atlanta airport and headed to New Orleans.
I approached the book with an analytical eye because I wanted to learn something phenomenal about writing from it. I found a few golden nuggets. For example, the way that she personifies depression and loneliness at the beginning of Chapter 16 is almost worth the price of the book. There is a special quality required for writing a memoir. Unlike an autobiography, so much is dependent upon how well you write or tell the story, and not simply the facts that you share. For this reason, writing guidelines for memoirs resemble those of fictitious writing. Exploring the quality of the writing is the primary reason that I invested in the book.
The other reason that I purchased the book is because it seemed like a good story. Everybody wants to be told a good story every now and then. Because my religious views do not align with those of the author’s, choosing to read the book as a work of fiction made it easier for me to enjoy. I have not finished reading the book yet. Those who have read it know that the author travels from Italy to India, and then Indonesia. I have traveled with her through Italy, and we are in the early part of the journey in India.
At this point in the book, she has already left her “perfect” life and divorced her husband. I am still not clear on the reason for the divorce, other than she did not want to be married anymore. By the time that she arrives is India, she has already had one passionate love interest. Of course, that relationship left her even more confused than the dissolution of her marriage. I was at a professional outing a few weeks ago where a co-worker revealed that one of her friends read this book, left her husband, ran off to another country, and returned home with another man. The thought that women would read a book like this one about someone else’s personal struggles, inner demons, depression, and selfishness – then decide for themselves, “Yes, I want to go down that road” is baffling to me. Now the author has remarried and is “committed” (according to the title of her most recent work) to her second husband. Only time will tell how that story will end.
“Pretty Woman” herself, Julia Roberts has the lead role in the movie. I would like to support South Carolina native and actress Viola Davis, who plays Julia Roberts best friend in the movie, but I’m going to pass and wait for this one to come out on DVD.
The cost of purchasing the book in the Atlanta airport – $18
The cost of renting the DVD at the Redbox five months from now – $1
Exploring the author’s reality to improve the writing for my memoir – Priceless
Have you read the book? Do you plan to see the movie? What are your thoughts?