As Ifeoma mentioned in today’s Newsbites, Eat, Pray, Love author Elizabeth Gilbert is, and has been for at least one year, the new it girl for mainstream American women. She is the aughts, aka the 00’s, canted version of Betty Friedan’s Feminine Mystique with a blissful conclusion.
Gilbert’s story: Despite her successful career as a journalist, her marriage, Gilbert realized after crying on her bathroom floor (again), was killing her. Her husband wanted kids, she suddenly didn’t and the pressure was making her miserable. So she gets a soul-crushing divorce and rises from the ashes with a book deal charting her travel though Italy, India and Bali to learn Italian, yoga and meditation. VoilÃ , she finds a lovely Brazilian man in Bali, who adores her. The end.
Except it’s not. Gilbert eventually married the Brazilian guy and wrote a new follow-up book, Committed about her experience. It’s the perfect happy ending to ‘woman marries man, divorces man, is sad because of man’ because then the author ‘finds happiness in a new man.’
Sound a bit like How Stella Got Her Groove Back? ‘
It should, but not because Gilbert is plagarizing McMillan’s life experience. Instead, like McMillan expressed the feelings of single, fed-up black women with her colorful character, Stella, Gilbert gives voice to middle-aged women just outside of the “Sex & The City” bracket. No promiscuous sex; just divorces, middle age dating and the struggle of remembering what they were as a one, after being a pair for so long. As the saying goes, one in four US marriages end in divorce. But Gilbert has figured out the solution; when you find your happiness, embrace it. Plus, her Brazilian guy doesn’t turn out to be gay.
Now, she’s peddling her brand of “go get ’em” to the masses through words, film –Julia Roberts will play her in the upcoming film based on Eat, Pray, Love — and as you ladies know, I’m already a fan. Not that I’ve been through a horrendous divorce, but Gilbert herself is just so personable and encouraging, it’s a bit hard to do anything but want to hug her.
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