This weekend, The Guardian featured a profile of Eat, Pray, Love author Elizabeth Gilbert. In the story, headlined Lucky Me, Emma Brockes offers a hard-edged take on the journalist-turned-memoirist, writing, "There are lots of paths to self-discovery, but most of them don’t conflate so many lucrative book markets in one handy volume. Eat Pray Love elides self-help, self-improvement, mysticism and a strain of confessional publishing I once heard described as ‘women who write about their yeast infections’…"
Ms. Brockes is hardly the first person to throw a bucket of cold water on the phenomenally successful Ms. Gilbert. USA Today‘s Carol Memmott wondered in February 2008 Pray tell: Is Elizabeth Gilbert self-absorbed or true seeker?; The New York Post‘s Maureen Callahan offered her take on the book under the unambiguous headline EAT, PRAY, LOATHE in December 2007; and Slate’s Katie Roiphe wrote, "I have to admit that I felt a twinge of embarrassment on the subway when I opened Elizabeth Gilbert’s Eat, Pray, Love…" in July 2007 assessment. (Don’t feel too bad for Ms. Gilbert: Eat, Pray was an international bestseller; Oprah Winfrey has backed the book; Time Magazine anointed the writer one of its Time 100 in 2008; and a talented up-and-coming actress named Julia Roberts is attached to star in the movie version.)
Buried in Ms. Brockes’ profile is this interesting quote from Ms. Gilbert, who has been nominated for a National Magazine Award three times:
Ms. Gilbert also says that while living in New York and writing for magazines like Spin, GQ, The New York Times Magazine, and others, "I had to put on a cynical personality that really wasn’t me, to be a little bit more sarcastic than I am."