Saturday, July 18, 2009

First Book of the Summer - Check

Well, I'm now a month and a half into my summer, and I have finally finished reading my first book. Yes, I know that I said that I was really excited about summer because I would have time to read--and let's face it, it's not like I'm been using my "free time" to blog. :) I mentioned last month that I had started reading Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert, and several of you expressed curiousity about my impressions of it, so now that I have finally finished it, I thought I'd give a bit of a review.

I guess I can pretty much sum up my impressions by again mentioning that it took me a month and a half to finish it, in spite of the fact that I wasn't reading anything else during that time. Now, the girls and I have kept ourselves awfully busy this summer, but even in that case, there's no excuse for me taking so long to read it. I'm the kind of reader that, when I pick up a book I enjoy, I develop a physical hunger for it. I can't stop thinking about the book. I lay awake at night contemplating it. I devote every free second to reading it, at the expense of sleeping, eating, and answering the phone. When I'm reading a good book, the reality of the story is far more vivid to me than the reality of my own home.

However, none of those statements applied to my experience with Eat, Pray, Love. It's only fair to point out that it is a very different sort of book from the kind I usually enjoy. It's Liz Gilbert's own story of her travels, impressions, and experiences, a nonfiction work, a memoir of sorts, a far cry from the novels or adventures I usually choose. So maybe it's not surprising that I didn't love it. But it came highly recommended from many sources, so I thought I'd give it a try, and I never give up on a book once I start it.

While none of the book really captured me, I did enjoy the story of her experiences in Italy. The descriptions of the various cities and landmarks brought back fond memories of my own trip through Italy back in 2000 with my dear friends Melissa and Krysten. Her descriptions of the food made me want to run out and hop a plan to Italy, then eat myself silly until I was too huge to get back on the plane. But all of this was intertwined with her vivid descriptions of her divorce, another failed romance, and her subsequent depression, none of which exactly left me wanting to come back for more.

Then I got into the second section of the book, which told about the four months she spent searching for God through Yoga at an Ashram in India. Let it suffice to say that her beliefs about God are radically different from my own, so this section was a huge turn-off for me. I admire her for seeking peace, but that's about as far as my connection goes.

Oddly enough, it was the final section about her four months in Indonesia, Bali specificially, that went the fastest for me. This was largely because Gilbert was in such an emotionally better place during this section that it was much easier to get through. I didn't get bogged down by descriptions of either her misery or her perspectives on God, so it went pretty quickly. However, I was a little disappointed in the ending, because I wanted to know, "and how did it all end up?," which, of course, is not an easy wrap-up when dealing with a real person's real life.

So, overall, not thrilled with it. There were parts that I really did enjoy, but it wouldn't make my list of recommendations. Next, I'm on to reading Eragon by Christopher Paoli. I'm hoping this one will move really quickly, as it's fantasy and aimed largely at the young adult audience, although I know many adults that I have loved it. We saw the movie version with the girls several weeks ago, and the movie left me with enough unanswered questions that I decided I'd need to consult to novel for the full story. :)

Happy reading, everyone!


Melissa said...

... fondly remembering our days in Italy when we'd eaten gelato 3 times by 10am :)

Cathy said...

While I'm all about eating my way around the world, I must say, you'll like Eragon better. Much better, and the movie was good, but did not do it justice, even though Jeremy Irons is awesome, his solo awesomeness couldn't save it.

Andrea said...

I think Rob read Eragon - I seem to remember seeing a book with a title like that around our house. I'll have to ask him.

By the way, I'm like you: if I love a book, I'll be done with it in a matter of days, even if it means I'm sitting up reading it. I have given up reading right now because I am getting enough reading done grading students papers but my favorite books are chick lit. I don't know if you have any interest in that area, but if you do, I have some good books you can borrow if you like.

SlyGly said...

Thanks for validating my avoidance of that book! Though I was mostly putting off reading it because of stubbornness and suspicion of the credentials of my recommenders! I think you'll like Eragon.