[fr] Malgré moult réticenses, en train de lire Eat, Pray, Love d'Elizabeth Gilbert, si ce n'est pour pouvoir critiquer en connaissance de cause. Misère: j'ai bien du plaisir à le lire, ce livre. Elle écrit très bien, pour commencer -- un genre de style que j'adore, et qui me fait penser à celui d'Anne Lamott. Je me reconnais dans certaines de ses facettes. Par contre, j'appréhende l'épisode indien, comme vous pouvez imaginer, et la dimension "quête spirituelle" me fatigue franchement. Encore 248 pages à lire!
I’ve just turned page 100 of Elizabeth Gilbert’s bestseller Eat, Pray, Love, and I’m afraid to say I’m enjoying it.
I’d managed to stay away from it so far. Just like Harry Potter many years ago, the amount of hype surrounding the book put me off. But there was more: I have a big problem (and still do) with the whole “spiritual quest to India” trip. Warning: I haven’t reached the “India” part of Gilbert’s book yet, so I may still end up cringing uncomfortably at that point.
Two things made me cave in and buy the book. The first, which had been nagging at me for a while, is that in order to be properly critical of it when facing the masses of fans, I need to know what I’m talking about, and hence, read it. All to easy to criticize a book you haven’t read. The second reason is that I heard Elizabeth Gilbert in Radiolab’s episode “Help!”. I didn’t know it was her at first, but I thought she had a lovely voice, and I liked what she said. Shit.
So, I bought the book at Heathrow Airport, and started reading it yesterday. One thing is certain: Gilbert writes really well. I love her writing like I love Anne Lamott‘s. She does things with her words that make me envious — she lets them run off and play on wild forest paths as I sometimes try to let mine, but with infinitely more grace.
As for the story, well, the jury is still out. I love life stories. Some aspects of Elizabeth’s story hit very close to home — close enough that I actually started crying a couple of times while I was reading. For me, not for her. I recognize myself in her, just like I imagine many readers do, and I guess that’s part of her success. Eat, Pray, Love is more than just her story — it’s ours, us women in their 30s, not quite where they imagined they’d be in life. (God, I can’t believe I just wrote this.)
In other ways, though, her story is not my cup of tea: I’ll skip lightly over the whole Indian guru thing (another day, maybe, but remember: a degree in Indian religions and culture, and a year in the country, and being pretty much as atheist as can be). And the predictions of the Indonesian medicine-man. And the spiritual journey thing (knowing, though, that I have yet to see where it will lead — I may be pleasantly surprised, who knows). And have we not already read too many stories of women who figure out they maybe do not want the whole “house, husband, kids” thing and struggle with walking away from it all and living “free”? (I’m waiting for the books about the women who want it all but are failing at getting anywhere near it.)
In the details have lain some treasures, though. Elizabeth Gilbert’s comments on the kind of traveller she is resonate with my own self-interrogations on the question these last few days. And her written conversations with God-who-might-be-herself have helped remind me that I need to spend more energy using on myself those qualities that make me a good friend. I think I am a good friend, or at least, I try my best to be. And I try to be the kind of friend I would want to have… I think. No reason I cannot be friends with myself.
And with that, I’m off to read the next 248 pages of Eat, Pray, Love — in hope that I make it through the Indian episode safe and sound.