Never having read “Eat, Pray, Love,” Elizabeth Gilbert’s memoir of post-divorce meanderings, I’ve never understood the book’s success. It is, frankly, just one of those books that men are constitutionally uninterested in.
“This is the kind of literature that countless women soak up like biscotti in a latte cup: food, clothes, sex, ‘relationships’ and gummy, feel-good ’spirituality,’ ” writer Charlotte Allen wrote last year in The Post’s Outlook section.
Discussion of several of the above things makes me cringe somewhat. I am, however, more than happy to discuss politics, spring training, the state of the stock market, anything Apple, and the virtues of Megan Fox. I know. Pathetic, right?
Nevertheless, I do find the popularity of the book fascinating. EPL clearly speaks to something that many women feel—alienation? Dissatisfaction? Yearning? A sense that they haven’t found the romance in their lives? (Or that they’ve lost it?)
Whatever the reason, virtually every woman I know has read the book. And I don’t know a man who has.
Yesterday Gilbert gave a talk about the book at the National Cathedral in Washington attended by 2, 250 people, of whom about 2, 245 were female. Let me put that in context: for a book reading, attendance of 2, 250 would be like a U2 playing a free concert…for the state of California.
As the Washington Post describes it, the event had something of a cultish quality.
Gently, ever so gently, she informs her fans that she, for one, is moving on from “Eat, Pray, Love.” She doesn’t have time for yoga and meditation anymore, though she does take daily “silence baths” with her cat….
(Apparently she married the Brazilian, whatever that means, but it sounds like a good idea.)
As much as I find the success of such a book bewildering, I also find it heartening and sort of admirable. As any writer will tell you, women read more and buy more books than men do. It’s one of their many admirable qualities, but I’ve never really heard a good explanation why that’s the case. Any ideas?