Eat, Pray, Love author Elizabeth Gilbert recently gave the Guardian the kind of interview that is a lesson in the dangers of, well, interviews... coming off as entitled, ditsy, and bizarrely lacking in self-awareness.
You'd think someone who wrote a book on self-examination would learn to avoid saying things like, "I had an easier life than [my sister] did because I had an easier personality and it was easier for people to be sweet to me," and following that up with "I'm a physically lazy person. My sister was tougher and stronger and more disciplined. It was easier to do my chores for me than to get me to do them."
Lazy or no, it was Gilbert's early success that made her thirties so difficult for her.
I'd [...] lived a very accelerated decade in my 20s. My career started young and I was really ambitious, and then I had success and I hung out with people who were much older. I think I might have been temporally misplaced, so I thought I was 40. It was a premature midlife crisis.
The only thing less sympathetic than a midlife crisis is a midlife crisis that happens early because — oops! — I thought I was forty. But writers in particular will enjoy this description of Gilbert's early years:
After college, Gilbert knew she wanted to be a writer and also that her modest Connecticut background didn't furnish her with enough material. So she took off to have as many story-inspiring experiences as she could. She went to Wyoming to work as a cowhand; she got a rite-of-passage bar job in New York.
Once she was done providing herself with "experiences" (which some people get just by living), Gilbert sold a story to Esquire, and one to GQ that became the film Coyote Ugly. But she's happy that the big success of Eat Pray Love has come now, when she's "nearly 40 not 22," has "a solid relationship," and is equipped to deal with it.
Annoying as this all is, Gilbert does appear to have been set up. Early on in the piece, interviewer Emma Brockes writes, "there are lots of paths to self-discovery, but most of them don't conflate so many lucrative book markets in one handy volume," and describes Eat Pray Love's genre as "a strain of confessional publishing I once heard described as 'women who write about their yeast infections.'" It's possible Brockes is suffering from a little sour grapes, and to be fair, so are we. Which is (one of the reasons) why we didn't do an interview with Elizabeth Gilbert — we'll just link to it instead.
Lucky Me [Guardian]
Earlier: Did Eat, Pray, Love Sell Millions Because Elizabeth Gilbert Cheated On Her Husband?
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You Will Hate Elizabeth Gilbert For Making You Love Eat, Pray, Love