My sister-in-law has asked me more than once if I’ve read “Eat Pray Love” yet. I’ve seen women reading it on the subway. I’ve seen it stacked ten high in bookstores. But yesterday after an abortive Strand experience, I picked it up in Barnes and Noble. I started devouring it on my way home on the subway and had finished the whole Eat section by mid-morning today.
Part of my reaction is: I wanna do that when I grow up! Go to Rome for a month, go to Italian language school there, and eat. I know I like Rome, and I know I like the food. Elizabeth Gilbert’s publisher gave her an advance for that trip. Where’s the theatre that’ll bankroll a playwright to do that?
But the other part of my reaction is: oh, yes, these things Gilbert writes about are familiar to me- depression; loneliness; a long, drawn out divorce in New York state. So far as the first two go, if you haven’t experienced them, you’re very fortunate. And divorce in New York, if you’re the one who files for it, God help you. If you can accept the fact that in this liberal city, there is no no-fault divorce (though there is in New Jersey and Connecticut; I nearly had to establish residency in New Jersey because of the legal complications). And then accept that your soon-to-be former spouse has the right to a divorce trial- witnesses, lawyers behind tables just like on TV, the whole schmear- just like “Law & Order,” but without the jury. The idea of my male heterosexual friends being put on a witness stand and asked if they’d had sex with me while I was married (none of them had) was too much for me. I gave my ex-husband what he wanted.
Okay, I started reading Part II about India- I wonder what happens next?