I hate Elizabeth Gilbert. She is a peddler of false hopes. You know that book she wrote? It’s complete bullshit. I read it right after my divorce/cataclysmic life-meltdown (or CLM) and I thought it was enchanting. An educated woman, freed from the bonds of marriage, goes on an exotic sojourn and empowers her mind, body, and soul, all while eating luscious food yet remaining beautiful enough to have romantic liaisons with a Brazilian. How absurd is that? In reality, there is no exotic trip to a holy shrine where one can meet a cowboy who will speak with the wisdom of Yoda. There are no beautiful Italian twins waiting to teach you the language of romance. There is definitely no cosmic hermit ready to reveal the true nature of your being.
I heard that Julia Roberts is going to play Elizabeth is the film adaptation. That’s the cherry on top. As if the book wasn’t enough of a pipe dream, we can imagine that we will handle it all with the beauty and sass of Pretty Woman? If, by some weird Hollywood accident, my life were made into a movie, they would have to find an actress that looked like the love child of Rosie O’Donnell and Rosie Perez, with the personality of Don Rickles.
After a CLM, there are many adventures in store, to be sure, and they are all educational in their way. Home foreclosure, bankruptcy, automobile fires, STDs, repo men, cancer, and abortion are a few of the things that were in store for me. I didn’t handle any of it with beauty or sass; there was certainly no grace involved. Did I grow as a person? Yes. Can I say that I am now free of the habits that put me in those situations? Hardly. But let’s face it, that’s not the stuff of an Oprah book. Everybody wants the transformative moment, where the heroine shakes off the blinders of the past and embraces herself as the goddesses she is meant to be. Catharsis!
You might be thinking that I’m bitter; this is all so much sour grapes. You’re right. I am bitter. Elizabeth wrote a beautiful book that I actually highlighted some of (but don’t tell anybody). I shouldn’t detract from what she went through, which I’m sure was intensely painful for her. What pisses me off is the way this book is celebrated as something any woman can achieve. She did this amazing thing by taking a year of her life to travel and sculpt her life into what she wanted it to be. What about the rest of us? Where’s the book telling me how to survive if I don’t have a glamorous career that will allow me to travel to three countries to find myself? Where is the book that would have clued me in to how crazy I was going to feel and the crazy-induced decisions I would make and the crazy-fueled places I would end up? That would be one hell of a travelogue! That’s the book I want.
Do I have to write it myself?