Eat Pray Love Book Club Discussion: Part 5

Katelyn, I took away much the same idea you did from Eat, Pray, Love: that perhaps our highest selfishness is the belief that without us, everything would fall apart. We are suspicious of her "selfish" decision to essentially run away from her everyday life in New York City and focus on herself and her relationships with herself, God, and others in Italy, India, and Indonesia. My initial reactions to the book were more negative than positive—for many of the reasons you mentioned, Katelyn—but when I mentioned my objections to a friend who had really enjoyed the book, she asked why I would consider seeking God to be a self-centered pursuit. Great question.

The things that bothered me most about Gilbert's book, I realized, are the very same things that tend to bother me most about myself. I too have a tendency to indulge in a good bit of a "navel-gazing," and have spent many, many hours dissecting my life, my problems, and my feelings about them, in journals, in solitary thought, and in conversations with friends. In fact, I spent a few months in London and Italy in the immediate aftermath of a pretty difficult emotional situation doing little but this very thing. Was I selfish then, to spend so much time "working on myself" and restoring emotional and, more importantly, spiritual, order and health to my life?

I went to see the movie, Eat Pray Love, this weekend interested in how it would handle this general theme. While the book could spend pages and pages in Gilbert's mind, a direct movie translation of her prose would bore viewers to tears. So I went with pretty low expectations—even beyond my thematic concerns, the movie has been receiving reviews that range from ...

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