Monthly Archives: June 2011
“In a world of disorder and disaster and fraud, sometimes only beauty can be trusted.…And sometimes the meal is the only currency that is real.”—Elizabeth Gilbert, Eat, Pray, Love
The Eat and Love part in the title had me very hopeful.
OMG did I ever hate this book. First off, I will state that I love the way Elizabeth Gilbert writes. She has a talent. This lady can string words and paragraphs together as an artist. But do I like the character Elizabeth ? No….not really.
This woman is whiny. It’s no wonder David puts her at arm’s length. Do you know any man who loves a clingy woman? Her ex-husband must have a good story too. While the author does not go into his side of things (and that is fair enough) some of the comments attributed to him are quite telling:
“You are a cheat and traitor,” he tells her as they try and discuss the impending divorce.
For me, her story about talking to god was neither attention grabbing nor dull. I couldn’t relate to it or understand her near hysterical bouts of crying and insecurity.
Liz Gilbert very much needed to be defined by something, to connect to something. If she had never seen the framed photo of David’s spiritual teacher, perhaps Liz may have stumbled upon something else to focus her life. It’s as if she grabbed at the first “deep” or “cool” path she encountered. Ok, here’s an example from part seven in the beginning:
“I walked into David’s apartment and saw this picture on his dresser of a radiantly beautiful Indian woman and I asked, “Who’s that?”
He said, “My spiritual teacher.”
My heart skipped a beat and then flat out tripped over itself and fell on its face. Then my heart stood up…took a deep breath and announced: “I want a spiritual teacher.”
I literally mean my heart itself, and my mind stepped out of my body for a moment, spun around to face my heart in astonishment and silently asked, “You DO?”
“Yes,” replied my heart. “Since WHEN?”
My god, I wanted a spiritual teacher. I immediately began constructing a fantasy of what it would be like to have one.”
End of Quote
Oh. My. Constructing a fantasy of what it would be like…. sounds like a childish dream of fantasizing what it would be like to date a movie star, or own a horse, or whatever you dream might be “cool” to have in your life. But a spiritual journey on a whim? I didn’t get that.
I’m imagining if David had a framed photo of orphans in South America whom he “adopted” through an infomercial, Liz may have flown to Columbia and built them a village and fixed their teeth.
She was fortunate though ( or lucky, or however you’d like to define her financial situation) as not every woman who isn’t satisfied with her life can pick up and travel to other countries to “find themselves”.
In the next section she had her palm read and followed the advice given. Hmmmmm….
By section 10 she has moved to Italy on the first leg of her journey. She’d quit her job and paid off legal bills, given up her apartment and started her year of travel. Know how she did that? I quote from section 10:
“And I can actually afford to do this because of a staggering personal miracle: in advance, my publisher has purchased the book I shall write about my travels.”
If someone would pay me a “staggering amount” to write about a trip and the foods and my thoughts – I too could afford to make my spiritual journey.
The section on Indonesia was never ending.
Again, I love the way this author can thread words into an intelligent and lovely story. But the whining. The self-absorbed soul searching and crying. It was a real turnoff for me. People seem to either love this book or hate it. What do I think? Guess.
I was inspired to make something Italian because I love Italian food. And it’s a comfort food for me. I deserved it.
Recipe may be found at my Squirrel Head Manor site.
I am placing this review on the Italy in Reading 2011 site. This completes my fourth book in the challange.
I received this book free through Goodreads First Reads.
The main character of the book is Sally Ketchem. She learned to fly from her boyfriend, Tex Jones. Tex is dead at the beginning of this novel, Sally reflecting on the horrible plane crash that killed him and nearly killed her as well. What Tex gave Sally was the confidence to fly and take chances. She left behind the poverty and discrimination of her home in Texas after her alcoholic father dies, applying for the WASP program due to her love of flying
The women pilots who volunteered for the WASP program received none of the benefits accorded to male pilots, or any male serving in the US military. They were to fly planes and ferry them from one station to another, leaving the male enlisted pilots to fight and fly into battle. Many of the women had superior skills compared to some of their male counterparts, yet they were discriminated against as many of the men felt a female had no place in the cockpit.
When one woman pilot is killed, the other female students are shocked to find that as a civilian, the the military was not required to pay for her funeral or even for her remains to be sent home. All the pilots pitched in and when it came to the attention of Jacqueline Cochran, head of the woman’s aviation department, she arranged for donations as well. They collected enough money to send her remains home by train.
The character named Waterman, a lawyer hired by Congress to find a way to shut down the WASP program, turns out to be a villain in more ways than one. There is a twist at the end that puts all the pieces together regarding his hate of Sally Ketchum.
Lots of other interesting characters are developed in this book, other women choosing to become pilots and from all walks of life.
It wasn’t until 1979 that women of the WASP program were granted recognition and veteran status for their service to the military. If you have a chance to check out the women of WASP I’d recommend it. It’s a good story. After reading more about the WASP (Women Airforce Service Pilot) program I realized the author really did his homework.
One scene in particular highlighted a delight of food. Two pilots who needed to make a forced landing in a famer’s field were treated to some home cooked meals. It was the first good food they’d had in awhile and they were encouraged to eat as much as they wished. Memories of their life before they entered the Army (and it’s structured and scant meal offerings) were warmly revisited. There is nothing like a loaf of homemade bread.
Recipe may be found at Squirrel Head Manor
It felt more like reading a blog about Laura Ingalls and the Little House journey rather than a non-fiction book you could get your teeth into. Does that make any sense? I just didn’t get into this book as I hoped.
The writing was stream of consciousness and jumped around on subjects. Also, the author is rather dismissive of the television series and that seems to bleed over in her opinion of the show’s fans. I had hoped for more detail on the food she prepared – more description.
For a positive comment I will say I love the idea of Wendy making a trip to explore the Little House culture, walking around the land where the real Laura lived.
Recipe may be found at Squirrel Head Manor