I'm only 18 sections in (out of 108) but have already recommended Elizabeth Gilbert's Eat Pray Love four times (five if you count the couple as two), strenuously. This is a book I'd been thinking about, both attracted to and avoiding since it was published. I'd flip though it on the bookstore display table, walking out without it. Earlier this week my sister emerged with one of her erratic wonderful emails. Complications in France but was I familiar with this book? Would I be interested in the audio version?
Not only was I familiar, I'd been tracking it before it existed. The writer showed up in one of my regular Garrison Yoga classes one day. Another writer excitedly pointed her out to me. She'd published at least two books and wrote highly regarded non-fiction for either GQ or Esquire - I can't remember which. I'd never heard of her, but always craving good non-fiction particularly in the neighborhood, I started reading her work. I thought about trying to meet her through some other mutual literary friends. Next thing I knew she wasn't around much, and I left for Fiji. For a year away. I often thought about writing while there. Well, I did write while I was there, just not in a publishable book form. I thought John had already staked out that claim. But I thought of it. And continued to mull further. Somehow I was aware of her book, aware of the genre of a woman away for a year, finding herself. Attracted and repulsed.
Nancy sent me the audible version (Happy 50th!) and I began to listen on what are now, finally, daily walks. At first a bit wary, not crazy about her Italian phrases. I worried she was too pretentious and full of herself. Within minutes that all changed. I was entranced. I got completely hooked by her fantastically articulate on-the-money description of love gone bad. The off-again, on-again nature. The pain and torture. Lying on the bathroom floor for hours sobbing. The desire for rationality, and easy exit coupled with that impossibility. Her language of course, the telling, much much better. (I'd quote something here but I'm listening to the audio version! Kind of great to hear it all in her own voice but frustrating in that I can't underline for myself or share with any of you here. I'll probably end up picking up the paperback too.) It's fantastic. For the heartbreak and clarity on depression alone. A must read.