Sunday, August 22, 2010

Book Club: The Final Chapter

First impressions of a book are fun. Especially about a book like Eat, Pray, Love which has been a best seller ever since it's release, was on Oprah's book club, and is now a movie with Julia Roberts... I mean, people have many different opinions about her, but I would be honored if she wanted to portray me. But it is the final impression that really defines the reader.

We decided to discuss Eat, Pray, Love over a Roman dinner, just like our heroin Elizabeth Gilbert and chose Cacio e Pepe in the East Village; a culinary indulgence that I would gladly go to hell for. To start, we shared a watermelon and spinach salad with goat cheese, almonds and a balsamic reduction. Erin and Joe shared a fig and prosciutto thing that looked tasty, but I don't eat meat. I finished with penne pasta in a crushed tomato sauce with pesto drizzle and fresh motzerella. My mouth is watering thinking about it and how I fit into my pants the next day, I'll never know. What I do know is that the meal and conversation were stimulating.

Joe started off with the opinion that the biography was well written, entertaining, and a little too self indulgent. Basically, he wished he had written it first.

Erin was still Erin. She both wanted to hurl the book from her throughout the read and discuss the inherent contradiction between praying to God and free will. I'm pretty sure she appreciated the way  Elizabeth Gilbert approached the subject... I was a little lost after a glass or two of wine.

I, on the other hand, laughed a lot in Eat, dog-eared and underlined like five hundred things in Pray, and found that Love just didn't cut it. From the title, you know that Elizabeth Gilbert is going to find love in Bali... It was not titled Eat, Pray, Balance (which is what she intended to find in Bali). And so, I made it through the book waiting for the great love. I wasn't sure how they were going to meet, but I was positive it would be really romantic. I was reading, she was flirting with a bunch of people and it was a little romantic. Then it was scientific and the romance died... That's harsh, but there was no great love affair that I had waited for. It was two people who talked it out and decided it could work. I mean, at least throw in a hot make out scene! Not just hint at the sex that was happening behind doors. I don't think Erin and Joe really cared... they were more interested in the philosophy and practice of religion. So after my tryst in love and romance I was sucked back into academia; mind stimulating conversation.

After dinner we were off to the movie... boring, boring, Javier Bardem! On screen was the romance that I wanted from the book! Thank God! And I think the missing link in the book was the interaction beween Elizabeth and Felipe. I got to see the way he looked at her when they met, and how he courted her. Needless to say, I got a little teary eyed, which surprised Joe because I rarely cry.

We finished the evening at Holey Cream in Hells Kitchen and went home. Was it cheesy to invade an Italian restaurant with our copy of Eat, Pray, Love which we read in order to see the movie? Were we "Those Americans" that we usually rebel against? Was it worth it in order to have an intellectual conversation over a decadent meal with great friends? Yes.
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  1. I don't have a response. But my blog partner did in his review of the movie (please note: he never read the book):