My friends in publishing-Penguin, the Wiley agency, Wiley, John & Sons- started this book club last year while I was away doing a show. While they have told me that I should just read the book and join, I have never truly felt invited; I was not added to their email list and even when I read the book, twice, they met while I was away. But, I'm not bitter, I read two great books because of it and it inspired me to start my own book club. So, while they are reading Franzen's The Corrections and Lethem's Motherless Brooklyn, I have decided that my club should read Eat, Pray, Love.
This decision did not come easy. Working at a book store sometimes distorts your impression of a book, especially if it's been on Oprah. Consider these three situations:
There's his book it has three names... You mean Eat, Pray, Love? No! But if I'd seen the cover, I'd recognize it.
(I walk her over to a huge pile of Eat, Pray, Love)
Ya, that's it! Have you read it?
(Unspoken: Lady, if you are the type of person who reads this book, I'm never going to read it.)
...five minutes pass....
There was this book on Oprah... Eat, Pray, Love?
Maybe, I don't remember.
(I walk them to the same huge pile)
Ya, that's it! Thank you!
(Unspoken: God, I hate this book.)
Do you also have A New Earth?
(Unspoken: A self-help bio wasn't enough, now you need some new age crap? I'm sure you could learn just as much by turning off Oprah and going outside.)
It's right over here. Thank you so much! ...Two years later... Boychik, do you have Pray, Eat, Love, and is it in paper back? (Unspoken: Lady, I'm going to need you to turn the Jewish stereotypes. It's Eat, Pray, Love and it's been out for at least two years, I'd hope it's in paperback by now.) You mean, Eat, Pray, Love? It's right over here. Do you want the movie cover? That's meshugennah! (I'm guessing that means no.) The book's right over here. Thank you!
I bite the bullet and we are reading Eat, Pray, Love. First impression, it reminds me of Oprah's audience which gives me a physical diversion to it. Second impression, I don't usually like biographies or self-help; even more nauseating. But, neither Joe or Erin, my book club, have read it and the movie is coming out. I don't have to be alone when I succumb to societal pressures and read it. I don't have to be ashamed to be reading it on the subway because these other two people, who normally wouldn't read this book, are out there.
Erin buys her copy at an independent book shop where a sales clerk scoffs, looking down on Erin from over her hipster glasses. Erin immediately asks for the new AJ Jacobs andSnug Harbor to sandwich a book she feels shameful buying. My co-workers all poke a little fun, although one admits that she really loved it. And so, having read Love, Erin and I arrive at Pray. (I don't know where Joe is because he has not submitted his first impression). Erin has had moments of hate and yet, she can't put it down. And, I'm actually enjoying it. That's an understatement. I'm laughing on the subway- drawing attention to myself, people are staring-with my pencil out and dog-earing important pages.Forgive the pun ,but you could say, I am eating it up! I don't know if I relate to her entirely, but there are moments-orgasming over pizza, coming home alone in a new city with my two best friends loneliness and depression, and telling myself, "I deserve what I have," and, "I deserve down time to do nothing."
I no longer care that I am reading an Oprah book or reading it right before the movie comes out-I should have bought the movie cover-because I love it! I mean, if I'm not ashamed to rattle on about Twilight with some teenager... the third book,Eclipse,is totally the best because it is build around Jasper's back story and not Bella whining over which hot guy she can't have. I am an avid member of Team Jasper, who doesn't really have a following, but should! He's pretty kick ass... Why should I be ashamed of Eat, Pray, Love?
Eat, Pray, Love is going to happen and this blog is going to happen, Robert