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So, of course, I encourage you guys to read it. Elizabeth Gilbert breaks up the book into three parts:
the eat part - which she did in Italy
the pray part - which she did in India
the love part - which she did in Indonesia
the Indonesia segment has so much good writing in it [I mean, the whole book did, but I really enjoyed Indonesia]
Here are two of my favorite excerpts [just to wet your appetite a bit]:
Felipe, a man Liz meets while in Indonesia, tries to convince her to have a romance while she's in Bali.
Liz responds with:
"I don't think I'm ready for it. I don't feel like going through all the effort of romance again, you know? I don't feel like having to shave my legs every day or having to show my body to a new lover. And I don't want to have to tell my life story over again, or worry about birth control. Anyway, I'm not even sure I know how to do it anymore. I feel like I was more confident about sex and romance when I was sixteen than I am now."
Felipe says in return:
"Of course you were; you were young and stupid then. Only the young and stupid are confident about sex and romance. Do you think any of us know what we're doing? Do you think there's any way humans can love each other without complication? You should see how it happens in Bali, darling. All these Western men come here after they've made a mess of their lives back home, and they decide they've had it with Western women, and they go marry some tiny, sweet, obedient little Balinese teenage girl. I know what they're thinking. They think this pretty little girl will make them happy, make their lives easy. But wherever I see it happen, I always want to say the same thing. Good luck. Because you still have a woman in front of you, my friend. And you are still a man. It's still two human beings trying to get along, so it's going to become complicated. And love is always complicated. But still humans must try to love each other, darling. We must get out hearts broken sometimes. This is a good sign, having a broken heart. It means we've tried for something."
It really had me thinking.
The second piece of writing that hit home to me was when Gilbert writes reflectively about her past relationships and her analysis of why she's been unsuccessful at them:
"I have a history of making decisions very quickly about men. I have always fallen in love fast without measuring risks. I have a tendency not only to see the best in everyone, but to assume that everyone is emotionally capable of reaching his highest potential. I have fallen in love more times than I care to count with the highest potential of a man, rather than with the man himself, and then I have hung on to the relationship for a long time (sometimes far too long) waiting for the man to ascend to his own greatness. Many times in romance I have been the victim of my own optimism.
I married young and quick, from a place of love and hope, but without a lot of discussion over what the realities of marriage would mean. Nobody advised me on marriage. I had been raised by parents to be independent, self-providing, self-deciding...of course the world was not always like this. If I'd been born during any other century of Western patriarchy, I would've been considered the property of my father, until which time he passed me over to my husband, to become marital property. I would've had precious little say in the major matters of my own life. At one time in history, if a man had been my suitor, my father might have sat that man down with a long list of questions to establish whether this would be an appropriate match. He would have wanted to know,
'How will you provide for my daughter?'
'What is your reputation in this community?'
'How is your health?'
'Where will you take her to live?'
'What are your debts and your assets?'
'What are the strengths of your character?'
My father would not have just given me away in marriage to anybody for the mere fact that I was in love with the fellow. But in modern life, when I made the decision to marry, my modern father didn't become involved at all. He would have no more interfered with that decision than he would have told me how to style my hair.
I have no nostalgia for the patriarchy, please believe me. But what I have come to realize is that, when the patriarchic system was (rightfully) dismantled, it was not necessarily replaced by another form of protection. What I mean is -- I never thought to ask a suitor the same challenging questions my father might have asked him, in a different age. I have given myself away in love many times, merely for the sake of love. And I've given away the farm sometimes in that process. If I am truly to become an autonomous woman, then I must take over that role of being my own guardian. Famously, Gloria Steinem once advised women that they should strive to become like the men they had always wanted to marry. What I've only recently realized is that I not only have to become my own husband, but I need to be my own father, too."
It rings so incredibly true.
I will be one of the first in line for the movie, out in August of this year. You've got a couple months to read it, if you haven't yet. I can't imagine it being better than the book, but it might be entertaining, if nothing else.
Happy Wednesday, loves.
Have you read any good books lately?