Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Two book reviews in one, sorta

A while ago (a year ago?) A***** brought a book suggestion to bookclub that we did not pick.  We don't pick most of the suggestions made but is was such a big book, by that I mean so much hype that I 1) thought it was likely to be suggested again & 2) was curious.  So I got it on disc from the library & listened while working on a quilt.  The book was Eat Pray Love & boy did it suck.  I listened to the WHOLE THING asking myself "really, this is what speaks to women"? 

& not just any women, women who have a few years & a few years of marriage on them, women who have reached personal crossroads & made the decision "I don't want that, I do want this" more than once (because those decisions are never final until they are no longer your's to make, just so you know).  This book was supposed to speak to ME.  It did, too.  It said consider yourself lucky you were never trapped on a plane with this woman.

Let me tell you who I HAVE been trapped on a plane with:  many many fat men one of whom wanted to lift the armrest between us to give himself some breathing room (the others may have wanted to but my arm jammed down on it kept them from trying), more than once I missed a tight connection because I was trapped in a window seat with mama-&-baby-in-her-lap on the aisle (& by the way, if you offer to hold baby so she can get up, into the aisle, take baby back & allow you to get on with your day, she will treat you like a potential kidnapper), just once I was trapped on a plane with an older woman a few rows back across the aisle who saw the dog carrier at my feet move & became convinced the dog securely zipped inside wanted to bite her (actually when the bag first moved she asked the flight attendant if I had a bomb because bombs do that, wiggle around for a while before they explode) & there was the memorable season I traveled on the same schedule between Columbus, Ohio & Jacksonville, Florida with a group of...

Maybe I should just tell that story:  I was headed home on Thursday or Friday afternoon & did not notice anything strange until after we were all boarded.  Later flights, I made a point of noticing as we boarded & saw that the flight attendant in question & the party of whom I am speaking clearly had issues.  In short, they asked many trivial questions, often about the weather, & she pretended they did not exist.  This first time, the floor show started with the safety demonstration.  Now I pay no real attention to airplane safety demonstrations (although I do count the number of seat backs to my seat & from my seat to the next exit, every time).  I do however recognize that the safety demonstration is part of the flight attendant's job & I try to avoid making catcalls, jumping up behind her, making horns with my hands & wagging my butt.  I have also never held up a lighter & shouted "Free Bird!" in the middle of the safety demonstration.  I am guessing you never have either, but I think you now have an idea what was going on during this particular safety demonstration.  Most of the ruckus ended here & this particular flight attendant did not appear in the cabin again.  I myself never drink alcohol on flights to keep in top form for kicking the rest of you out of my way en route to the emergency exit, should we need to depart the plane emergency-style, but I learned from my seat-mate that the hospitality cart was unable to serve any passengers alcohol, that there was indeed Never alcohol on This Flight as there had apparently been an Incident. Other flukes of the hospitality cart were a complete inability to stop at particular rows & on one memorable trip a failure to acknowledge a man heading for the restrooms until he offered to pee on the cart itself.  Sometimes a few weeks would go by before I crossed paths with these travelers & once or twice I thought I saw just one of them on other flights along this route, but without the hooting & hollering it was hard to say.

Back to the book review, remember the book review?  Eat Pray Love was not a favorite with me.  The best thing abut it was the discs skipped A LOT which made it kind of rappy (rapesque?).  I went on to read Committed & thought even less of it.  I have run out of energy for that review though, so I will just paste what I put on GoodReads:

Reasonable people have asked why did I read this book when I disliked Eat Pray Love so very very much & this is a reasonable & worthy question. If I were Elizabeth Gilbert I would take an extended vacation slash sojourn to ponder this, bemoaning my ever dwindling funds, with my Brazilian lover (let's call him Darling), internet surfing for books on the topic & having my sister send them out to my hotel rooms (Darling & me, we move around a lot). I would document my inner journey (not to be confused with the outer migration, but I would document that one, too) in a style I am going to call "meandering anecdote".

Alas, I am not Elizabeth Gilbert & all I can say is both books made me think of nothing so much as that scene in Absolutely Fabulous when Saffy gets to the end of her rope & screams at her mother "you cannot become a better person through massage!" & anything that brings back AbFab makes me happy.

Also Committed & Eat Pray Love aggravate me so very much that it helps to raise my heart rate when I am on the elliptical & for that reason alone, it was worth reading (but not buying-your public library has a copy I'm sure).

//in A*****;'s defense she had not yet read Eat Pray Love when she recommended it.  She has since & well, I think she is also grateful Elizabeth Gilbert no longer travels business class. At least we hope she doesn't.


  1. Most people I know read Eat, skipped Pray, and went directly to Love. I was smart and stopped after Eat! Boring drivel, IMHO.

  2. I must forward this to my book club as this one is on their list for next month...