I'm not normally a magazine reader (not even on long cross-country flights) but my roommate enjoys Entertainment Weekly and subscribes to it. The latest issue to show up in the mailbox has Julia Roberts on the cover and an article about her newest movie, "Eat, Pray, Love." Being a huge Julia Roberts fan and one of the many who enjoyed the book, I decided to read the article. The blurb on the cover says, "Julia Roberts on the epic new movie, her own 'lost' years & the joy of pizza." I have to say, before I started reading I wondered if this pizza comment was related to the movie or carried the double meaning of the movie and Roberts' first credited movie role in "Mystic Pizza." (Turns out it was about real pizza, the yummy food that it is).
Much of the article wasn't anything to write home about (and yet, here I am writing about it), but it did make me think. I have a friend who's concerned that Roberts won't be able to fill the role quite like she imagined Elizabeth Gilbert to be on her journey. I, on the other hand, think that she could be great at it. I know most people think of "Pretty Woman"and other roles that are light-hearted when they think of Julia Roberts, but don't forget about "Erin Brockovich" and "The Pelican Brief." She can be serious when the role calls for it.
I have another friend who isn't looking forward to the movie at all. As a matter of fact, she wasn't even able to finish the book, never making it out of Italy. Wow! I'll admit, there were times when I found India and Bali to be not exactly my taste, but this wasn't one of those books I had to force my way through. I related the most to Italy and all she did there, reminiscing on my own trip there and reliving the food I ate. That being said, while it was my favorite section of the book, I expect it to be my least favorite part of the movie.
It's interesting how one person can love a book and another find nothing special about it. And it's interesting how you can enjoy a book but hate the movie (though often that's because it's been butchered and is so far from the original text that you can barely recognize it on the big screen). For me, I'm not worried about that. It's more that I've changed in the years since I've read the book and think I'll relate more to those experiences in India and Bali that were once foreign to me.
But I digress - back to the article. There was a section that mentioned criticism of the book - how could Elizabeth Gilbert write about her petty little problems when there are starving children in our country and the world and people are living in genocide? I would never want to down-play the harsh realities of this world or the incredible problems that others may have. However, those realities aren't things that I can relate to easily since I've been fortunate enough to never deal with them directly. Instead of looking at Gilbert's journey as downplaying life or simplifying/belittling women's problems, I think it's a clear snapshot into many women's (or men's) souls who go through hard times in their lives. We don't all go through the same problems, but that doesn't mean we don't feel like we're in our own personal hells at times or that we never feel lost and desperately searching for ourselves while feeling as though we're drowning. To me, the book is a testimony to getting back up once you've been knocked down, and knowing that you're better because of what you've been through, even if the journey was long. And hopefully, the movie will be just that too.