Let us rejoice in today, March 32nd!
I am indeed back after a lovely vacation hanging out with my sister and our parents! And, let me tell you: not only do I love traveling, but I also love travel memoirs! Since I discovered the genre of travel memoir in college it has been a genre I’ve always been happy to come back to. So, it might surprise you to know that until this month I hadn’t read Eat, Pray, Love. Yes, I saw all the hype when the book came out and then when the book was optioned and made into a movie. I avoided it because it seemed like a travel memoir that was going to make me angry. I thought it was going to make me angry because here’s this woman who is making a good living and has a good job and a husband who loves her and she just throws it away and travels the world. I thought she’d make me angry or worse, that she wouldn’t be sympathetic at all and I’d be reading an entire memoir where I don’t care about the person at the center of the story. (Yes, that’s right, not being relatable is a bigger problem than making me angry.) On top of that, traveling and exploring other cultures while either talking about how cheap everything is or glossing over the problems and idealizing the not-problems really bothers me. I was concerned that Elizabeth Gilbert was going to go to an ashram in India and talk about how deep and spiritual all Indians are and not put this ashram in the context of a country with large populations of people who have different religions which are antagonistic to each other. Or, worse, I was worried her biggest concern would be about the dogs. (Note: I’m happy when people are worried about animal welfare. I’m not happy when they’re so worried about animal welfare that it affects how they feel about seeing poverty-stricken people. This is especially troubling when you also think those poverty-stricken people have the most beautiful culture. Anyway, that’s probably a hypocritical rant for another day.) So, I didn’t read the book when it came out. Or, when it was made into a movie. Plus, I didn’t see the movie. I picked it up hoping that I would hate it and that would make me feel vindicated for avoiding it up until now.
No such luck. (Spoilers behind the cut).