Go to enough bookstores and you start seeing a pattern. There are these books that are in every store, misfit books that nobody seems to want on their shelves. Eat, Pray, Love is one of them. A Million Little Pieces is another. Couplehood, by Paul Reiser is probably the first one I noticed. Every store has a couple copies of Couplehood, a half-dozen copies of Eat, Pray, Love.
I’ve decided to read these books. All of them that I could handle. I’m not sure how many I’ll handle. Note: I’m not linking to Amazon — I don’t recommend you read these books. The last one in my ‘read’ pile is Eat, Pray, Love.
Why is it a misfit?
This book has sold a lot. Not only that, it was probably gifted a lot — given to potential readers not really interested in it. Maybe they read it to be nice or because their friend just loved it, then they couldn’t stand to have it on their selves. That’s my guess. This book is the perfect gift for every frustrated wife out there. As long as you don’t mind boring her to death.
Not a book for me. Not a book for men really at all. There are tidbits of wisdom in it, but they seemed to be cribbed from fortune cookies. It’s got the inward-looking religious crap that every self-absorbed narcissist seems to gravitate to. God is in ME! Sure.
The book is just too boastful for me. Elizabeth Gilbert makes it very clear she’s the primary earner in her relationship, that she’s a very devoted to meditation, that she’s wonderful, etc. She just wasn’t happy in her marriage, didn’t want to have children, so she left her husband, traveled to Italy, India, and Indonesia, and, spoiler alert, met an older-than-her Brazilian man who just adores her. Adores her! And he doesn’t want kids either. See what happens when you meditate for 26 hours a day like the author? This could be your life too! Just get an advance on the book before you leave so that you can pay for it. NBD.
Here are some quotes:
Wasn’t I proud of all we’d accumulated – the prestigious home in the Hudson Valley, the apartment in Manhattan, the eight phone lines, the friends and the picnics and the parties, the weekends spent roaming the aisles of some box-shaped superstore of our choice, buying ever more appliances on credit? … Why did I feel so overwhelmed with duty, tired of being the primary breadwinner …
Groan. But god is in her, talking in her voice, having a conversation with her (also in her voice, presumably):
It was merely my own voice, speaking from within my own self … This was my voice, but perfectly wise, calm and compassionate … I would call what happened that night the beginning of a religious conversation. The first words of an open exploratory dialogue that would, ultimately, bring me very close to God, indeed.
But don’t forget that everybody thought she was the happiest, most confident woman EVER!
I wince now to think of what I imposed on David [her post-divorce fling] during those months we lived together, right after 9/11 and my separation from my husband. Imagine his surprise to discover that the happiest, most confident woman he’d ever met [Me me ME!!!!] was actually – when you got her alone – a murky hole of bottomless grief.
And I hate these arguments about adversity, she’s talking about starting to pray here:
I don’t like asking, “Will you change this or that thing in my life that’s difficult for me?” Because – who knows? – God might want me to be facing that particular challenge for a reason.
Yes, god makes bad things happen to test people. What a dick he is. Meanwhile, did she mention she was beautiful?
Truthfully, I’m not the best traveler in the world … I don’t blend. Tall and blond and pink-complexioned … When I was in China, women used to come up to me on the street and point me out to their children …
But wait, she’s still depressed … more depressed than you’ve ever been, I bet. She’s the BEST at being depressed too.
[I decided to take depression medication after ...] … a night when I’d sat on the floor of my bedroom for many hours, trying very hard to talk myself out of cutting into my arm with a kitchen knife.
Don’t forget: she’s sophisticated and smart and, as we’ve already learned, beautiful.
… we ate … an exotic little serving of pickled lampascione, which is – as everyone [as culturally sophisticated and awesome as me] knows – the bulb of the wild hyacinth.
She starts the book out talking about its organization (3 parts, 108 chapters). The first part is about Italy, she tells us in the intro, but isn’t really about Italy until chapter 9 or so. In the second part, she emphasizes that all the names are changed except Richard’s. Looking back, he’s the only character I remember. What other names were there to change? Why was this such an important thing to mention when it was only about a few throw-away characters?
At this point, transcribing quotes to make my point is bringing me to the point of vomiting. Enough. If only the author’s vow of silence had stuck. One more, then we’re done here:
And, yes, I cannot help but notice that I am sailing to this pretty little tropical island with my Brazilian lover. Which is – I admit it! – an almost ludicrously fairy-tail ending to this story, like the page out of some housewife’s dream … Yet what keeps me from dissolving right now into a complete fairy-tail shimmer is this solid truth, a truth which has veritably built my bones over the last few years – I was not rescued by a prince; I was the administrator of my own rescue.
This is the awkward part. Now I have this book. And there are already copies on every for-sale and please-take shelf in America. I’m not going to read it again. I can’t give it away, because anybody that I’d give it to probably already has a copy. There’s only one thing to do … thin the herd.
Misfit books, like deer, have very few natural predators. They need to be culled periodically to keep the populations in check. Without proper management, misfit books could flood the country, breaking every shelf in America under the strain of their collective weight. No, something has to be done, but maybe something less drastic is in order.
I’ll just recycle this one. It will be resurrected as a cardboard box. Or maybe toilet paper.
Let me know if you have any ideas for the next Misfit Book in the comments.