I’ve never read the book “Eat, Pray, Love” and I haven’t seen the movie. I have nothing against it, it’s just that I have trouble with the “eat” part. Reading about that isn’t helpful to a recovering binge-eating addict.
My therapist actually brought up the book during one of our sessions. He wanted to know if I’d read it. I scowled at him and asked why the hell a guy like me would ever read a book like that. Then he started raving about what a powerful story of self-discovery it is.
I told him I don’t care about some woman traveling around the world eating, praying and loving. I have a habit of taunting my therapist.
By the way, he hated the movie adaptation.
I’m bringing all this up because a friend was on Facebook the other day expressing a similar view on the book — or at least her perception of the book.
She said she “refuses to read Eat Pray Schtup or watch the movie” and added:
“I just think there are too many adults who right tell-alls of their screwed up lives. It’s always a story like: “drink/drug/sex addict leaves abuser/partner/dysfunctional family to join an ashram/climb Everest/sail around the world and discovers another dysfunctional relationship/they are just as screwed up only better traveled/Jesus. Actually, I am OK with that last one but why can’t they just Grow Up And Deal withoout writing a pathologically narcissistic book about it?”
As someone who tells all about his formerly screwed-up life in this blog, I have a few thoughts on the matter.
There can be no doubt whatsoever that people like us have a strong narcissistic streak in us. You’ll never find a more self-absorbed person on this Earth than the one who struggles with mental illness and addiction. My personal examples are here, here and here.
But I think it’s OK to write about it as long as there’s some valuable insight for someone who needs it. At worst, it’s harmless.
I’ve seen good tell-alls and bad tell-alls. The bad ones tend to be books that focus on burning people other than the author. The “set-the-record-straight” crap.
People like us do get a ton of healing from the writing process. When we “tell all” we get all the slime out of our head. Most people do that in the form of a personal diary. I guess I did it as a public blog because I wanted other outcasts to see that they weren’t freaks and could go for a better life.
I do agree with my friend that the “going around the world to find myself” stuff is annoying as all hell. I recently saw a commercial on TV for a new series where this guy keeps having conversations with his dead brother and ultimately decides to take a boat ride around the world to find himself or become a man or whatever.
I glared at the screen and said to Erin, “Well that’s just stupid.”
I’ve had conversations with my dead brother plenty of times. But I didn’t need to steal a boat out if Quincy to purge the insanity in my head. Prozac worked for that. And my brother would have told me I was being an idiot, anyway.
I have nothing against “Eat, Pray, Love.” How could I? I haven’t read the thing.
I also don’t object to tell-alls, as long as the author is honest.
As for some of the lines I’ve heard about from the book, including the one about God giving you Girl Scout cookies before slamming the door in your face, that’s pretty damn dumb, if the book really says that.
God would never give me Girl Scout cookies. He knows I’d just binge the box away.