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March 16, 2010

(The much anticipated “sequel” to the acclaimed Eat, Pray, Love.)

Intrinsically I have a strong aversion to most best-sellers simply because the literary taste of the masses is usually such shit.  (e.g. the Twilight series, Dean Koontz, etc).  I also strongly adhere to the notion that oftentimes a book chooses you rather than vice versa.  Of course only avid readers of  non-shit books will know what I’m talking about here.  For instance, have you ever tried to read a book and failed because you simply couldn’t get through it, only to come back to it a year or two (or three) later and find that it perfectly encapsulates your life at that precise moment?  (maybe I’m just crazy…).  Anyhow, despite my literary elitism, every now and then the New York Times Bestseller list is on to something  (e.g. Harry Potter, Khaled Hosseini, Ann Patchett etc.).  A couple of years ago I got so many recommendations for EPL, but I dismissed them because that damned book was on display on every Barnes & Noble across the country.  However, this past summer, stuck in a life drought in Milwaukee, promising to give my left arm for a distraction from my ever mounting anxiety, I came across Gilbert’s first novel lying on my mother’s dresser.  I picked it up and flipped through it, noting that my mom had even gone so far as to highlight certain passages(!).  Desperate & intrigued, I decided to give  it a shot.  Loved it, laughed, cried, ignored Garrett for hours on end as I plowed through its pages.  So when  I heard that Elizabeth Gilbert was releasing the second installment of her life, I waited with bated breath for it’s debut.

And now, having finished it on a sunny afternoon in March while lying in bed drinking coffee, I must say I’m surprised.  First off, I mistakenly thought this book to be a memoir which it is, but only to an extent.  The bulk of the almost 300-page book is everything Gilbert has learned about marriage, right down to the nitty-gritty factual details of its history.  Sometimes the reading gets a bit tedious due to the amount of facts that are there, but as usual Gilbert throws in heartfelt anecdotes and approaches each new idea that she encounters from every possible angle, gutting and exploring its insides until they make sense to her.  You get the feeling that this is how she attacks everything in her life, and that in itself is something invaluable that you take away from this book.  Committed, like Eat, Pray, Love is a true journey of the self to someplace unknown and infinitely terrifying, and this journey is hugely inspiring, especially when you find Elizabeth breaking through on the other side with a new-found sense of self to which you can relate.

Well done, yet again, E.G.

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