Have you seen this? It's a rare thing for me to go see a movie before I've read the book, but when I first saw this book be published, I felt an odd reticence about me as I toyed with the idea of reading it. It didn't strike me as being 'my thing,' and I felt vaguely repelled by it. I'm still not sure what informed my intuition at that time - or even if I trust my intuition all that much - but as I watched the movie (alongside some varied, excellent and lovely female companionship, which definitely redeemed the experience for me), I realized anew that this just wasn't my thing.
I've never been a huge Julia Roberts fan, though I can stomach her, a claim to fame my husband can't confidently make for himself. For me, the actress and my level of enchantment with her wasn't the problem. I think that the main character's - Elizabeth Gilbert's - journey to 'find herself' seemed futile and empty. My mother-in-law always used to say, "wherever you go, there you are," and I believe it to be true. I think that real enlightenment comes not from running away from life and it's accompanying problems, even in the name of mind expanding exotic travel, but from facing them and deriving strength from slowly growing courage borne of that act of standing up, shoulders back, staring them down and realizing that even this may not 'solve' anything, but that maybe that's ok. Strength can sometimes come by degrees - inch by inch - almost imperceptively until the gift of retrospect shows us how far we've come.
I've always felt saddened and discouraged at the Eat, Pray, Love notion that God is within me and that I am in some little understood sense, God. I need for my Creator to be significantly better than that. To see better, I need to look outside myself. Maybe I'm just more icky than your average professer of these beliefs, but I need a greater Hope. A stronger, more loyal Love.
You may have noticed from the beginnings of my booklist that there is a sort of pattern emerging. I'm one of those rare (and some may say odd) birds who relishes reading about swoons, lazy, impossibly fancy ladies lounging on the sofa all the day long and smelling salts. I like parlour maids, evenings full of games of whist (what is that anyway?), and scenes depicting men retiring to the library for port and cigars. I love the antiquated feel of it all. I love the dusty images these books bring to mind and I love the slight disorientation of bringing the reading session to a close and re-emerging into the 21st century. Though I don't wish to emulate it for my own life and house and regularly-showered body, I love reading about the lavish ornamentation and the myriad textures covering both the heavy, formal furniture and the rarely bathed, but heavily powdered bodies of the ladies adorning the dance floors during formal balls. Jane Austin is my best friend.