Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Mid book rave: Eat Pray Love

Not even half way through but I want to rave about Elizabeth Gilbert's Eat Pray Love.

Sometimes the rave reviews and hype surrounding a book leave you so disappointed when you actually get to read the book.

But not in this case - the raves are TRUE.

Gilbert writes in such a direct and engaging manner, what I describe as writing with a 'conversational force'. It feels like she is having a direct conversation with you and responding to your thoughts.

I love the fact that her writing is imbued with a certain self awareness (or in cultural theory speak: self reflexiveness) of how kooky her thoughts and feelings are to even herself.

There is a mixture of humour and humility in her writing. A rare combination that lifts this book above the generic 'here is what happened to me overseas' type of memoir.

Plus her writing on food - soooo funny! Here's an example of her reactions on finding the best pizza in Napoli:

"I love my pizza so much, in fact, that I have come to believe in my delirium that my pizza might actually love me, in return."

Side bar:
My version of the book has a rave blurb by Minnie Driver - WTF?

Really strange as the other blurbs from Guardian, New York Times Book Review, Marie Claire (to be expected).

But Minnie Driver as the last blurb?? Also she says something so generic - "amazing and wonderful" - it makes me wonder whether her PR flack actually made it up.

Anyway, musing about this reminds me of this article on problematics of blurbing in the promotion of books.


tseen said...

Hi Book Boy

Weirdly enough, my sis-in-law was raving on about this book just before she left on her big o'seas trip. When she described it and it sounded kinda New Age-y, I must say my interest quickly died. Can a reader overcome an intolerance for New Age-y-ness and enjoy this book?

Also, re GUAIA - yes, a little uneven in quality, but I think that's to be expected across such a well populated anthology. I was wishing the tall poppies section had a whole bunch of different material in it. Oh well. Baby-steps...


Book Boy said...

Tseen, you must read - don't worry the book isn't very Oprah new age - look in the mirror with affirmations type of read.

I seriously think the book has been really marketed wrongly - it is in fact not really 'New Agey' at all.

More of a really intelligent, witty, moving and above all humane travel book.

To use a cliched saying 'if you only read one book [inserta appropriate time frame - week/month/year - it must be this one!!!
Re GUAIA - yeah i think i may have been a bit too harsh;-)

tseen said...

I'll borrow it off C. when she comes back - unless I get my hands on it beforehand...through bookmooch perhaps? ;)

Also meant to say that I really liked the article re blurbing - lots of things I suspected but was great to see them confirmed and expanded!