I am easily impressed, so I often question my critical thinking and initial responses to what I see, hear, and yes, read. My emotions can be twisted and wrung most by what I hear, thus my life-long love affair with story-telling and NPR. So yesterday I was driving through the falling snow on my way to Target with my two-year-old, Toby, in the back seat. We braved the weather to go to his soccer practice (really, just an excuse to run around and squeal) and I needed to buy him pull-ups and a new Dora Potty Chart (it's working!). Turning on the radio to calm my slushy- weather-driving nerves, I hesitated on the Diane Rehm Show. Typically, Diane's warbling voice grates on my nerves after a few minutes, but this time I stayed tuned. Diane's guest was Elizabeth Gilbert, author of the best seller Eat, Pray, Love, a book, I have discovered, you either adore or despise. There is no middle ground on this. I fall in the adoration category (blame my impressionability), so I listened to Gilbert discuss her new memoir, Committed, part-memoir about her marriage to "Felipe", the man she meets at the end of her previous book, and part-sociological inquiry into the institution of matrimony. Within an hour, I found the book on Target's display shelves and bought the book. Gilbert's voice is warm, compassionate, and funny. I hadn't planned to purchase this book, nor add it to my memoir list, but here I am on page 65 after a late night reading.
Did I mention that I haven't finished Cleaving? I blame my migraine. Yesterday, after a day of braving the weather, toting my toddler all over town, picking up my daughter from school, I finally succumbed to the throbbing in my my sinuses caused by a.) PMS and b.) a drop in barometric pressure. On my last dose of Excedrin for 24 hours, I felt slightly better, but was hopped up on caffeine at midnight. I listened to my husband snort softly beside me and turned on the reading light. A quick assessment: could I bear another chapter of Julie Powell's self-indulgent whining about her fucked-up marriage and the gross-out descriptions of pig innards?
The nausea from my migraine was still too fresh in my memory. I reached for Gilbert, and yes, I realized the irony of my literary indiscretion against the adulterous butcher. Trust me, I feel no guilt for this decision.
I will finish Cleaving, because I said I would, but it has become a grueling process as I have become physically revolted by Powell. I cannot wait to return to Gilbert, however. Gilbert, who in the first chapter describes the exile of her lover by the Department of Homeland Security after returning from travels to the U.S. She has two minutes to say goodbye to him, not knowing whether or not they will be reunited, knowing the only way to fulfill their dream of living together forever was to sacrifice their vow never to marry (after messy, traumatic divorces, neither could stomach the idea). In stark contrast to Powell's moaning, Gilbert leaves Felipe resolved to solve this problem and reunite with him as soon as possible. She never complains and even reflects on how kind the Homeland Security officer had been to her and her lover. The immediate tone of the book is inviting, like an intimate conversation with a new friend in a cozy coffee shop. I'm impressionable. I'm hooked.
A NY Times article about Gilbert and Committed:
And one about Powell: