Giving In

It’s not the best book I’ve read in the last year – but aside from the occasional eyeball rolling, I did really enjoy Elizabeth Gilbert’s book, Eat, Pray, Love. I think I resisted reading it, despite all the hype (it seems to be a book club favorite – and people were always surprised I hadn’t read it), because of the word “pray” in the title. I sometimes get nervous that I’m unwittingly getting sucked into an evangelical tirade – a niggling worry that is not unwarranted here in superchurch land, where Rick Warren (of purpose-driven life fame) gives his Easter sermon in Angel Stadium.

Did you understand that correctly? The local popular pastor gives his Easter sermon in a baseball stadium that seats 45,000 people.


Gilbert is an accomplished writer, so you’re on safe footing here. Her only foible (or feat) is her utter self-disclosure. She gives it all away. After a devastating divorce (having been through a miserable myself, her break-down was hard to read about), she takes off to travel the world, dividing a year neatly between three countries: Italy, India, and Indonesia and their three corresponding activities: eating, praying, and loving. You’ll hear every detail, so if working through a massive mid-life crisis, eating massive amounts of pasta, praying for massive amounts of hours in caves, and sex galore do not interest you – well, don’t read the book.

A definite chick lit book, I was vastly entertained by my brother’s notes throughout the book.

I first discovered his notes when somebody on requested the book from me. Yes, in my obstinacy, a copy of this book had even come into my very home, but I was refusing to read it – even flip through its pages – and I’d posted it on my account. But when somebody requested the book, I took a minute to flip through and realized I was going to have to spend some time erasing my brother’s penciled notes…

My brother’s notes? Well, by the time I’d busted up laughing over a few of the scrawled notes (“reminds me of high school journal entries”; “doubt it, sheesh”; “sounds so AA!”; “Leave no wreckage”) I’d decided that I should read the book – if only to read it through my brother’s eyes. He had, after all, bothered to sketch pictures of drawings described, made a half dozen guesses at what the middle initial “M” stood for, and more. He spends some time too wondering if he should even be reading it…

So, I wrote the woman who had requested the book and told her it would be another week before I could mail the book. She was understanding.

But by the time I’d finished the book, I didn’t have the heart to erase anything. My mom would LOVE to read this book. My mother-in-law would probably love it too.

In the end, I ordered another copy of Eat, Pray, Love from another paperbackswap member and had it shipped to the woman who’d been waiting for my copy.

I’m keeping my copy.

Anybody not read it yet?

You can borrow my annotated copy!

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