Why am I choosing to write about it? A few reasons:
- The title evokes a certain acknowledgement of the differences between men and women. Equality does not = exactly the same. I think this is a darned good equation. And thought. You may quote me.
- Some have said Gilbert’s book is “Self-indulgent twaddle“. I happen not to think so, as I learned one of the best emotional exercises of my life while reading it (petitioning God with signatures – you can read my post about the book here). That said, this is a (sort-of) response to her work and as such, deserves some attention.
What I kinda liked about it:
- It’s silly, if you like that kind of thing. Some call this comedy. I admit, I laughed a little.
- It has snark down to a fine art. Consider this: “So, for the record, my ex-wife is not an evil, crazy bitch. […] She still is a smart, beautiful, sensitive, creative, and interesting person. I just never noticed that she’s also the single most self-obsessed person on planet earth. And I’m factoring Sharon Stone and Kim Jon Il into this equation.” (pg. 39)
- I expected the “f@#k” chapter to be the longest and most drawn-out and surprisingly, it wasn’t. “Play” (in Vegas) was by far the longest. I don’t know why this is listed under the reasons I liked it except, I was just pleasantly surprised.
What I REALLY didn’t like about it:
- Gottlieb literally uses Gilbert’s book as a template and by this I mean, he must have gone through her book page-by-page, experience-by-experience and then wrote his book to mirror it. As in: I wish Giovanna would kiss me. There are many reasons why this would be a terrible idea. (pg. 11) Where have I read that before? Oh yes, page 7 of Gilbert’s book: I wish Giovanni would kiss me. Oh, but there are so many reasons why this would be a terrble idea. I understand the notion of mimicking but this feels like overkill. And just… mean. I don’t like mean.
- In relation to #1 above, the main character is “Bob Sullivan” … and guess what? He just happens to be the husband of “the character” in Gilbert’s book! Talk about a coincidence! So, wait. Gilbert’s “character” is actually Elizabeth Gilbert – a real person. Is that right? Yes. Bob Sullivan is her fictional husband, made up by Gottlieb? Yes. Okay, got it.
- The book was clever at first, annoying by the end.
- And frankly, boring. By the end, I mean. Of each chapter.
Now see, I appreciated Gilbert’s book because … yeah, I love the notion that any of us can change our lives if we wanna. Did I believe every word she wrote? Actually, yes, I did. No reason not to! I took it at face value and enjoyed it very much. But to each, his/her own.
Also, hello! Check out my shingle: The Self-Help Whisperer. Of course I loved it! It was about a journey of self-discovery.
And yes, I can see why some people found it annoying and (more than a little pretentious) and sappy. Men, mostly, but a fair amount of women, too.
It’s not just a gender thing. What we bring to the table can shape our perception. I came into the book with an open mind and heart.
But Gottlieb’s book… well, of course I came in knowing it was a parody. I knew it the first time I saw it, there on the shelf. I mean, it has the word f@#k spelled out with condoms. Not too much to guess at there!
At the end of the day, I have to say… not worth the read unless you simply hate Gilbert’s book, in which case, you might find it hilarious.
Otherwise, skip it.