Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Book Club

Is this Thursday. I read the book while in Chicago. I picked it a while back, but we were having trouble finding it in stores (I think we kept getting the name confused and it just isn't out there) so we postponed it until now.

One of the first books we read, when we started book club a couple of years ago, was Eat, Pray, Love: One Woman's Search for Everything Across Italy, India, and Indonesia. I don't really remember the particulars of each adventure - I read it so long ago, but I do remember the feeling I got. I loved Eat - who wouldn't enjoy reading about a woman leaving her husband and gallivanting around Italy, enjoying wonderful food? But by the time I got halfway through the part about the Indian ashram, I became annoyed with her narcissism. So annoyed, that I don't really even remember Indonesia - it got weird and I was bored and speed-reading, to finish the book. I didn't really care about her finding love, because I didn't care about her. I can't speak for everyone in book club, but that's how I felt.

So when I came across a fictional parody response by the man she jilted, called Drink, Play, F@#k: A Man's Search for Anything Across Ireland, Las Vegas, and Thailand, I thought it would be fun to read. I floated the idea and everyone agreed. I don't know what I expected - maybe a big dose of revenge and debauchery. There was a little revenge talk, but it was respectful, especially given she was the one who did the cheating. He drank a hell of a lot in Ireland, I probably missed some of the golf and gambling metaphors in Las Vegas, and I fully expected that in Thailand Bob would be reveling in rampant sexual hedonism. But I was pleasantly surprised. He was really funny throughout the book, in a self-deprecating way. The story was highly improbable, but his "gurus" (a midget in Ireland, a personal trainer in Vegas) were fantastic and doled out wonderful philosophy in such light spoonfuls that it wasn't so painful to receive. He was such a decent guy, I found myself cheering for him and might have even forgiven him if he strayed off the moral track. But he didn't. By the time I watched him dive into the ocean away from what I would consider to be every man's greatest fantasy to find true love (I'm such a sucker for that sort of thing), I was so happy on the inside.

So if you ever get inclined to read one of them, I vote for the latter. I'm shocked that his book didn't stomp hers in critical acclaim. It was a much better read.


Marni said...

we read eat pray love for our book club over a year ago and that was exactly what everyone said....totally agree with your opinion. and i hadnt heard about the book in response- im going to have to let my book club know and put it on our list. thanks!

Gizabeth Shyder said...

You will really like it!