Eat Pray Love. Really?

In Reviews on August 4, 2008 at 11:21 pm

This is my personal thoughts on a book I just read. Spoiler alert.

I’ve come to believe that Oprah Winfrey is indeed responsible for (mostly American) women’s lifestyle. And as a TV addict (I’m not allowed to say professional anymore, because I don’t work in TV now), I find her power very amazing indeed.

But in the end as I don’t work in TV anymore, I often forgot that Oprah’s power is used not only to empower and inspire women of all ages, but to turn garbage into bestsellers. She has the ultimate mystique to even sell ice to eskimos. And hats off to Oprah for that.

Yesterday I have been a victim of her so-called superpower.

Yeah, I purchased the ‘it’ book that everyone (in America) was raving about, titled ‘Eat, Pray, Love’ by Elizabeth Gilbert. I know it’s not my kind of book, as I don’t read self-help books or so-called ‘spiritual’ books and tend to indulge in Charles A. Monagan -ish silly humor when it comes to reading. I read things people don’t care about, and I laugh at the stuff which only a few find funny. In fact, the ‘deepest’ book I own is probably Da Vinci Code, and I got it because of I like suspense aside from humor. So I live the lighter side of life, and am unapologetic about it…

…because some people like Ms. Gilbert couldn’t even think about living lightly. They dwell in their sorrows, break down over ‘everything they already have’, fly to Italy to meet gorgeous twins to study Italian with (insert a loud “PHAH!” here) and then went to an India to scrub floors on an ashram and then finally ending the yearlong trip vacationing in Bali. Well, she said she’s looking for balance, but then I think it’s basic math to most working people on earth that when you’re burned out… you have to go on a vacation to balance yourself.

I mean, come on.

It’s about a woman’s search about everything. At least that’s what’s printed on the cover. After I read it, I thought: well, if a woman’s true searches are only indeed food, yoga and sex with an exotic stranger (that of course turn into love at the end of every sappy love story), then this book might be right.

What made me bought this book is my curiosity after hearing a statement of a woman on Oprah’s show, and I quote:

β€œI was a self-proclaimed atheist. But I have since found religion, and I made my bathroom my ashram.”

I was like… whoa. This book has to be that powerful. It can turn an atheist into a believer!

And as much as I want to stick to my own taste on silly books stashed on the lower corner on the singled out (read: abandoned) ‘humor’ shelf at Kinokuniya Book Store, I felt intrigued. Whatever was written in the book must enlighten the majority female readers. So I thought, well, I’m female and I read. Thus the dragging of le boyfriend all over Plaza Indonesia to get the book -because apparently it’s sold out here as well-.

So I read and read. I even read in the cab on a long trip, denying my car sickness, in search of her point. In comedy, I was vigorously searching for the punchline. But there was no punchline. Nor point. Nor inspiration. I can only wonder how delicious was that pizza from Pizzeria da Michelle in Naples and how does a vitamin lunch actually taste.

And I started to question why some people are unfortunate enough to have to go all around the world to ‘reclaim’ their lives. I mean, okay, who wouldn’t wanna travel around the globe and brag about it when they get home, as some of her audience at Oprah said… “The best feeling is coming home and telling people about it”. Of course it’s nice. But is living really supposed to be that hard? Reclaiming your life, if indeed it was stolen, methinks, should start from where you lost it in the first place. Simple logic. Troubles are always there, everywhere, if you still breathe and your heart is still beating. You don’t run away from troubles. You deal with it.

Well, all in all, this book isn’t for me. And I have to say, I bow to America for its ability to sell almost anything. I probably should go there and study that from you people. Seriously. Because as a woman, I kinda feel that the women ‘inspired’ by this book is only acknowledging that women are weak and they need vacations to get away and ‘deal’ with their problems. We’re way stronger than just being able to purchase tickets to Italy, India and Bali. What about the women in Africa who are struggling to live day by day, taking care of their sick and hungry kids? Do they need to travel the world as well before they can, um, ‘reclaim’ their lives? Oh, sorry, I meant… do they need to get into their personal walk-in closet with a glass of wine to read magazines and listen to music?Β  And I see nobody giving them $18,000 to build one house for each person. Gimme a break.

One thing I really learn from reading this book is how I should trust my instincts more. If it says ‘stick to comedy’ next time, I will.

I am also so relieved that some people do share my opinion on the book, so I know I’m not the only one who’s kinda disturbed about all the annoying whining.


  1. waw whatta coincidence! yesterday i just saw a lady next to me read this book so intently! im intrigued. thinking on getting the book today, but then decidedly not. the cover is too “chiclit-y” for me. from your review, it looks quite like “devil wears prada” kind of read, maybe?

  2. schizilly: if you happened to be somewhere around pondok indah mall, that lady could be me. HAHAHAHAH! the irritated me, who’s furiously searching for a single point in the book. i really don’t mind chick-lits (or as i prefer to say it: light novels) and i think ‘the devil wears prada’ is entertaining. this book is a far cry from so-called ‘self help’ nor ‘chick-lit’. it’s a weird travel book and an even weirder ‘memoir’. but you know, try and read it yourself, maybe it will have different effect. my advice would be: get the best (read: lowest) price. and lowest prices for foreign books in jakarta exist only at periplus. believe me, i’ve done my research. priciest: ak sa ra, second: kinokuniya and third: periplus. i just got robbed on a harry potter book on kinokuniya and that is one thing i will never let go easily. HA! πŸ˜€

  3. bebe we were at EX!!

  4. bebe: but we were at PIM on monday, sweetie.

  5. I actually saw the Oprah episodes when they were talking about the book.
    I myself is one of those women who met their bathroom’s floor at 3AM, but still not interested to read the book hehehe…
    Life’s can be a bitch sometimes.. hell maybe most of the time, yet I’m still enjoying every moment of it. Self-help book has always been a no no to me. so yeah… it’s a very wise decision to stick to the “humour” section girl!

  6. Siska: actually, i am curious about other Indonesian women’s take on the book, because i might be going overboard as i re-read what i wrote, so if you ever find yourself kinda curious, then go ahead and read. if you watched the show, you would probably know why you’re not interested in reading a book written by a writer who says:

    “…if you think about it, NO, spelled backwards is almost ‘OM’.”

    i wasn’t a spelling bee winner in grade school, but i did pay attention enough in reading to know that NO spelled backwards is NOT “OM”.

  7. Typical book, written by typical writer, regarding typical matter.

  8. mikearmand: well said. but then again, you’re a guy. πŸ˜€

  9. Well yes, I am a guy

    But I love reading, and I love reading (some/few) books which are not for me, just for fun.

  10. Haha…I read the book half-way through and I left it inside her so-called ashram ‘bathroom’ untouched now.

    I have to agree…I was trying so hard to figure out the points and I found none. It was merely her unessential details and whinings…which kinda shout: back off!

    On a side note…Yeah Siska…I watched the Oprah show on this one too…and I am sure many of the women out there must have been like: oh..a must-buy!

  11. Ha Ha… that’s why she said “Almost”
    but like I said.. never a fan of selfhelp books.. it’s like a cult to me. I’ll read it if someone lend it to me, but I sure ain’t gonna invest for one!

  12. Blogwalking on a sunday, my kids are both asleep (rare) and I found your blog. Good read! πŸ™‚ Truly deserves my “mummy time”. Will be back again.

  13. i accidentally met some local artist on MPX theater few weeks ago, we sat on this couch and talked about books.
    she recommended me to read this book, claiming it to be really good and inspiring.
    and i just found the book at aksara plaza indonesia last Sunday, but i decided to buy some other books beside this one.

    and judging from the comments, well, i guess i made the right decision, huh?

  14. Citra: well i still think you may want to read it because you might not find the book as offensive as i did. i tend to react strongly to stuff most of the time. πŸ˜€

  15. Hmm.. I can only say that one’s garbage can be someone’s else treasure πŸ™‚

  16. I like your review on 3 idiots, been reading eat pray love by coincidence because it’s on sale …LOL…and the 1st chapter is easy reading.
    I don’t take it as a self-help book, just plain entertaning…Liz Gilbert is funny on narrating her observations, for me reading it no different to read travel review from Naked Traveller ….
    I’ll say that most western women that I know, make such a big deal on their problem. And they keep on talking…talking..talking about it, more “drama” but in the end they find the resolution they choose.
    Probably coz u already bought the book with expectation on a self help book, there come all the dissapointment πŸ˜›
    I must say, that I somewhat like her observation on how other people live their life.
    But definetely not making me more religious…LOL

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