Pulse: The Philly Mag Endorsement
What: The book Eat, Pray, Love, by Elizabeth Gilbert (Viking; $24.95).
Who: Gilbert is a supremely talented 36-year-old writer who relocated to Roxborough six months ago from New York to be closer to her sister, who lives (and writes) in Wayne.
Why: Despite the book’s New Age-y premise, this is not a touchy-feely tome. After a painful divorce, Gilbert spent a year on a spiritual quest, seeking earthly pursuits in Italy, metaphysical insights in India, and a sense of balance in Bali. But instead of going all NPR on us, Gilbert takes an ironic tone that translates sotto voce earnestness into something more accessible, and more meaningful: “‘The world is afflicted with death and decay, therefore the wise do not grieve, knowing the terms of the world,’ says an old Buddhist teaching,” she writes. “In other words: Get used to it.”
Favorite passage: Nonfiction’s most unexpected conflation of a former president and masturbation: “After a year and a half of celibacy, after a year and a half of calling my own name in my bed-built-for-one. … I had my way with myself yet again. As usual, my mind paged through its backlog of erotic files, looking for the right fantasy … but nothing was really working tonight — not the firemen, not the pirates, not that pervy old Bill Clinton standby scene that usually does the trick.”