Eat Pray Love… Your Thoughts?

13 Aug

So apparently Eat Pray Love is all the rage now. I haven’t read the book, nor have I seen the movie, so perhaps this is a bit premature.

I have, however, read a few online reviews. Apparently, some people think the main character is a hero. Others think she’s a selfish beeyotch. Here’s what I got out of it:

Apparently the movie is about a woman who decides to travel to foreign countries after her divorce. Along the way, she helps out people in need and finds herself  during her travels. Then she ends up with a hot guy at the end. Doesn’t this sound familiar to anyone?

As a woman who has moved to a foreign country and made it on her own, I certainly understand the appeal. I think everyone should experience other cultures, and God knows I LOVE Under the Tuscan Sun.

Here’s my question, though…

Is our society spreading the message that in order to find happiness you have to be single/divorced?

I’d love to hear your thoughts, and I’d love it even more if you proved me wrong. 🙂

Either way, I’m curious and kinda excited to see it!

19 Responses to “Eat Pray Love… Your Thoughts?”

  1. Salt August 13, 2010 at 4:01 pm #

    Under the Tuscan Sun is apparently MUCH better than Eat Pray Love. My mom read the book and hated every moment of it. AND she’s single.

    Personally, I’m much happier married, but maybe that’s just me.

  2. foxy August 13, 2010 at 4:10 pm #

    I don’t personally think that the “single/divorced = happiness” message is what they’re trying to spread. It’s just one woman’s journey of self discovery. A lot of people thought the book was whiny and too self-involved, but I didn’t. I really enjoyed it, in fact. I mean… it’s her memoir, so of course it’s going to be about her and her feelings. What else would you expect? I personally loved the book and I’m looking forward to seeing the movie this weekend. I’ll let you know how it is.

    Don’t knock it till you try it though!

  3. gringation August 13, 2010 at 4:14 pm #

    Salt: Yeah, it seems with this book it’s a “you love it or you hate it” kinda deal.

    Foxy: I certainly hope that’s not what they were trying to spread, but for some reason that’s how a lot of women interpreted it, so I’m really curious! I’ll let you know my own interpretation once I see it 🙂

  4. gringation August 13, 2010 at 4:47 pm #

    I’m copy-pasting a comment from my aunt Amy, which she left on my Facebook page, because it’s awesome:

    “Laura, I haven’t read the book or seen the movie, either. I agree with you that it is sad that everyone who “finds” themselves must be single (and often thoughtlessly promiscuous) to do it. However, having logged a little more time in the game of life, I think I “get” the point, based on your description. Having married right out of college at the age of 21 and set up house with a military man whose career pretty much prevented me from establishing my own real career, then having had kids on the “young” side of average for our culture, I can sort of see the point. I’m not saying I’m on board with the method to counter the problem; I just understand some of the emotions involved. At this point in my life–turning 40, letting go of two independent adolescent males who don’t really NEED me so much, and pretty much sitting on the sidelines of the career of a very successful, powerful man–I can relate to the need for something of my own to grasp. I don’t plan on becoming single to do it, and I find it troublesome that the culture accepts the assumption that singleness is necessary for this process.

    When I figure it out the alternate method, I’ll let ya know!

    By the way, your experience of having “made it on your own” will be quite beneficial to you when your life transitions– letting go of adolescents in your care, changing careers, whatever– and reflecting on your life. Good for you!

    Again, I haven’t read the book or seen the movie. I’m going on my understanding of it based on your brief blog entry. With more info, we each might change our opinions. If so, let’s chat later!”

  5. Nikki August 13, 2010 at 5:55 pm #

    I loved the book, but I know some people who didn’t. I’d say it is like an extended version of under the tuscan sun, with a few different journeys. In this book she made the tough decision to leave he husband and find happiness. Diane Lane was left confused and had to find happiness she wasn’t really looking for in the first place.

    I think the message to everyone (divorced or attached) is hope. Although I do see what you’re saying. It seems you can’t take off to another country and live out these adventures if you’re attached!

  6. Megan @ Twinsomnia August 13, 2010 at 6:48 pm #

    You know, I have never been interested in reading that book because it just seemed so self-indulgent, and not in a good enjoyable way but in a smarmy kind of way. But yesterday I actually read an excerpt from it and now I totally want to go buy it and read it. I’ll have to check back and let you know what i thought. Of course i could just go see the movie instead – that would probably be easier. 🙂

  7. Salome August 13, 2010 at 7:05 pm #

    I read the book, after two false-starts. It was ok, but it went too far into the details, in my opinion, and did not give enough description. I was not interested in reading several chapters on how difficult it is to meditate – I already know that. It was quite self-indulgent and whiny, in my opinion, but it wasn’t the worst book I have ever read.

    The ending was predictable, but then, OF COURSE it was! A people-pleaser.

    I am hoping that the movie is much better than the book. I too loved Under the Tuscan Sun, and Julia Roberts is wonderful.

    As a married 40+ who longs to travel and live in another place – I didn’t really get the message that you NEED to be single to get much effect out of it, but I can see the appeal. I married my husband at a young age and we would NEVER have done anything as adventerous together early on.

    I did take a short trip to Mexico alone with no real agenda a few years ago, and it was exhilirating, but lonely. I WANT him there with me as I discover new things…but he doesn’t have as deep a longing! At this time I am trying to talk him into spending more time in Mexico exploring and he would be happy with an annual 10 day trip.

    We’ll see….

  8. cheri August 13, 2010 at 7:52 pm #

    i think they’re saying that you dont have to be married to find happiness. that sometimes, being single is better…that loving yourself and being complete on your own will bring you happiness.

    oh, i have something for you..

  9. Harley August 13, 2010 at 7:58 pm #

    I’ve never seen this Tuscan movie! And I’ve never read Eat Pray Love! I’m so out of the loop!

  10. Tiffanie August 13, 2010 at 8:02 pm #

    I loved Under the Tuscan Sun but have not read this particular book or seen the movie. As a single mom who married young and am still very young, I will say that I would much rather run off to another country to enjoy these things as a married woman!!! This is definitely doable…married people could do this either in the beginning of their marriage before they have children, or after their children are grown, for those who had children young like me.

    And no you don’t have to run off to find yourself!! I found out who I was after I had my children. Unfortunately my husband did not like that in my discovery I became family oriented and no longer a selfish party girl. I love the woman that I am and I hope to one day have a husband that will love me for that…then we can create our own adventures and discover things together.

  11. Mary C August 13, 2010 at 8:45 pm #

    As a 60-something retiree living in Mexico who just read the book, I did not think it was self-indulgent, but I can see why many women would think so. The word I would use is “luxurious.” Being a writer and of independent means enough to take off for a year like that is a pure luxury most of us don’t have, single or married.

    Having lived a life full of lists and schedules, working and raising children, being retired was a little hard to get used to, even though I am still pretty busy taking care of my grandson, cooking, grocery shopping, etc. I don’t have to get up at a certain time in the morning and be dressed, made up, and ready to go to work. I can put on my play clothes and not go anywhere if I don’t want to. I get regular manicures and pedicures for the first time in my life. It feels luxurious, and I like it.

    I can’t imagine having NOTHING to do and trying to fill in the time eating, praying, and loving as she did, but I think that’s the curse of the American woman. We have to do it all, and anyone who doesn’t comes off as lazy and self-indulgent.

    What is life for anyway? Are we just here to take care of other people? Wonder what it would be like to just contemplate on that for a few months?

    I think overall the book doesn’t necessarily speak to being single or divorced so much as it speaks to a woman taking time for herself, maybe not a whole year like that, but even an afternoon. How many women, young, married women with children in particular, really ever take care of their own needs? I think it’s a good message for women, and I look forward to the movie maybe helping to get that across.

  12. Amy Brown August 14, 2010 at 3:02 am #

    I think Laura’s point was not so much that this particular movie’s major idea was that one must be single/divorced to find oneself or have an adventure but more that our culture has a tendency to perpetuate that idea. Yes, that happened to be the position of the woman in this movie, but I think Laura was referring more to the general theme as an issue than she was pointing out a problem with a particular story.

    Correct me if I’m wrong, Laura.

    Personally, I do look forward to having an extended adventure from which I hope to learn a lot WITH my spouse someday. We talk about it often and look forward to the time when we can do such a thing. For now, though, I’m lucky if I can plan a weekend or even an afternoon to myself, as Mary C. mentioned.

    I must go now and make sure a couple of young men are ready to go work on an Eagle Scout project tomorrow…see what I mean? My time will come, and I look forward to it, but that doesn’t mean I don’t enjoy the here and now.


  13. Grace August 14, 2010 at 1:08 pm #

    I adore Eat, Pray, Love. I don’t think she’s saying you need to be single to be happy. And her trip wasn’t totally self-indulgent. She was already a famous writer (she wrote Coyote Ugly), and her publisher gave her an advance to travel for a year and write that book. I’m pretty sure any of us would jump at that opportunity!

  14. msmonet August 14, 2010 at 1:39 pm #

    Like many other women, I was given this book while going through a divorce. I liked it on the whole, but it didn’t wow me. However, it did give me a role model for happiness despite experiencing what many people consider a tragedy or life failure.

    Since then I have thrived and started a blog chronicling my peaceful divorce. Unlike Gilbert, I have kids so I couldn’t just dedicate my life to my own self-fulfillment, but I did find a way to really enjoy my new life. In addition, unlike Gilbert, I have also found a way to be friends with my ex. I’m pretty proud of that.
    Check out this post.…aceful-divorce/

  15. Krysten August 14, 2010 at 2:41 pm #

    I wonder if it’s because when you’re single you only have yourself to worry about whereas being married you worry about yourself AND someone else and, frankly, marriage does take some work.

    However, I find that you get a lot out of marriage too. You get what you put into it.

    Not sure if I want to see/read Eat Pray Love. It sounds interesting but I have other books ahead of it now.

  16. Melanie August 14, 2010 at 3:03 pm #

    I haven’t read the book yet, but I think what will make it interesting is that it’s non-fiction. Knowing that will hopefully make it seem more realistic.

    Stopping by from SITS. 🙂

  17. Fumiko August 15, 2010 at 3:42 pm #

    I believe that you don’t have to necessarily be single or in process of a divorce to find happiness. Our society has molded us into perhaps desiring a lifestyle that is not for everyone. It’s: get a boyfriend, get married, buy a car/house/dog, have kids. All in that order.

    But I think what happened with Gilbert is what everyone is looking for: a catalyst. Man, woman, child. Everyone has to have one. Especially if they are not happy or don’t like what’s going on around them. It’s what they need to change. That “ooomph”, so to speak. It happens at different points in the lives of everyone and it does not necessarily come out of divorce. Or being single. I think it may be easier to find it single and traveling but that’s because you have more time to think about it and process it.

  18. becca August 16, 2010 at 5:57 am #

    I thought the same thing (about Tuscan Sun)! I may still read it or see the movie, I haven’t decided. I feel like the message of those type of movies/books is that you have to go find yourself, and that you can’t do that with someone attached to you or through God. You are still you in any place you visit.

  19. GRRRL TRAVELER August 20, 2010 at 7:51 pm #

    Haven’t read the book but I love Under the Tuscan Sun. I’ve been single for a long time, but I think what’s being said is that we all have a choice for a second chance at finding ourselves and love. These days, the population of singles and divorcees is so high. When you think of it, that population is completely excluded from filmic notions of finding love and a happy ending.

    Do you have to be single to find yourself? If you have a supportive partner, then maybe not,… but only you can find the real you without compromise. And if we compromise our dreams for another, only we’ll end up paying the prices of regret for a dream we passed up.

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