This memoir came out 7 years ago, and I absolutely refused to read it. It was getting so much press, and I swear wicked ugly sparks fire off in my brain when a book gets this kind of press. Plus, it sounded self-helpy and I’m allergic to that section in the bookstore. Plus, I was sure the whole story was prefabricated: Writer goes on manufactured trip to “find herself” so she can have cool experiences with the whole purpose being to write about her cool experiences.
Blech, and blech.
Everybody was reading this book, and by everybody I mean every single woman I know. Everybody but me. My good friend Mary Helen even sent me the book for my birthday with the specific instructions to read the story out of order: “Think about starting with Pray/India, and then reading Love/Indonesia, finishing with Eat/Italy.”
I thanked her, of course, but I’m pretty sure I also rolled my Book-Snob-Eyes and shoved the book into a dark corner where I wouldn’t have to look at it. No way was I reading this nonsense.
Fast forward 7 years. I’m reading every decent memoir I can get my hands on to see how they (the writers) do it: what’s the story vs. the situation, options for structure, how to handle backstory, present tense or past tense and why, titled or untitled chapters, etc…
I finally pulled EAT PRAY LOVE out of its dark corner and forced myself to read the introduction and to follow my friend’s instructions. I liked it. I liked it and then I loved it. Loved it so much I want to give it to every woman I know over 30 and say, You should probably read this. Read it out of order. Start with India, then Indonesia, then Italy.