It is a wonder I went on to finish this book, taking into consideration that I stopped enjoying the main character, Elizabeth Gilbert, after the first fifty pages.
Still, I do understand why it has become a bestseller: it presents a rather selfish American woman who has it all, including plenty of money to take a year off and travel to three foreign countries - Italy, India, Indonesia - drops it all, messes with her life and, of course, just as in a soppy American movie (yes, I have seen this as well) finds happiness in the end. Don't we all want this?
I don't want to be married anymore. I don't want to live in this big house. I don't want to have a baby.
Surely, I understand her struggle with not wanting a baby, her wish to discover God and love after divorcing her husband, her craving for good food, her drive to feel free, her need to satisfy both spirit and body through her actions, but her journey was not at all convincing. I found her quite naive to just travel to Bali a second time because a Yodalike medicine man told her she would do so, to pretend to be such a post-feminist liberated woman and then long for a handsome Italian to kiss her, while still analyzing his status and not being satisfied with the fact that he lived with his mother (while she gave up a marriage to a powerful man who loved her very much)and he was younger (I found no reasonable explanation for this, only maybe that she was more into older guys, seeing that she chose Felipe, a Brazilian man much older that her).
I wish Giovanni would kiss me.
Oh, but there are so many reasons why this would be a terrible idea. To begin with, Giovanni is ten years younger than I am, and, like most Italian guys in their twenties, he still lives with his mother. These facts alone make him an unlikely romantic partner for me, given that I am a professional American woman in my mid-thirties, who has just come through a failed marriage and a devastating, interminable divorce, followed immediately by a passionate love affair that ended in sickening heartbreak.
Even if certain American critics claim that this is not chick-lit but an irresistible memoir, my view is that her whole spiritual journey is rather fake. It is a good book if you have nothing else to read and the only ideas that you remain with after the final chapter are a) people can be so superficial, even on a spiritual quest b) each person has his/her own word. Hers was "antevasin" (in the book) and "attraversiamo" (in the movie, demonstrating that, after all, anything is changeable when it comes to "serious" literature). As for my word, I haven't found it yet, maybe I will go on a spiritual journey in its search :)