This excellent post by Renee A. James is about the ‘EPL backlash’ – the growing backlash in reaction to the phenomen “EAT, PRAY, LOVE” – the book Eat, Pray, Love: One Woman’s Search for Everything Across Italy, India and Indonesia, by Elizabeth Gilbert.
Renee writes ” From what I’ve read about Elizabeth, she is engaging, smart and curious. But, this chronicle of her year spent ”searching for everything” felt so indulgent. I’m just so weary of this entire genre of books. I’m tired of privileged, market-savvy women enjoining me to reinvent my life, go look for answers, seek my inner goddess, and ”attract” only the good so that without fail, I’ll become a better person.
I can’t check out of my life just like that. I find my inner goddess on my pillow at the end of the day and reinvent myself by drinking unsweetened iced tea instead of diet coke at lunch. And by the way, most women — and men — who endure a painful divorce or another difficult life change do not emerge from that experience with a book deal.
I’m not opposed to learning from someone who is wiser and willing to share her insight. But for me, it doesn’t take a new, exotic setting every four months to do that, or a story about how someone lived on her boat for a year while she rediscovered herself, or how someone escaped to Colorado to find a new life. (These last two examples are summaries of two other recent books by women telling the rest of us how to ”rediscover ourselves.”)
I prefer the simple lessons, gently offered, in Anne Morrow Lindbergh’s ”Gift from the Sea,” published more than 50 years ago. Lindbergh’s thoughts are perhaps not dissimilar to those of Gilbert et al, but the vital difference to me is her approachability. She discusses what I think of as ”achievable self-discovery” in order to live ”in grace.”
I am with you Renee – thanks for putting it into words! Read the whole article