The author of Eat, Pray, Love (2006) recently told the Seattle Times that her new book, City of Girls, saved her. From the Seattle Times:
Early last year, Gilbert’s romantic partner and longtime best friend, Rayya Elias, died of cancer at the age of 57.
You might expect someone famous for exploring her own life through memoir to process the aftermath of loss by writing nonfiction — and it’s what Gilbert herself expected. She had begun research on “City of Girls” before Elias’ illness, but after the diagnosis “couldn’t imagine ever caring about this novel again.” The problems of New York City showgirls seemed trivial, and Gilbert fully expected to never resume work on the book.
Then, shortly after Elias’ death, Gilbert felt compelled to dive back into “City of Girls” — “I felt like I got a message from the mothership, saying that the best thing I could possibly do was write this book. I’d been in so much pain, so much grief, it was as if the cosmic scale needed to be righted by going in the exact opposite direction.”
Read the full piece in the Seattle Times here.
If you’re a big Gilbert fan, you won’t love the New York Post’s recent piece that basically questions the sincerity of everything Gilbert does:
Gilbert’s entire career, which post-“EPL” had earned her a reported $10 million, is based on this transaction: There’s nothing I won’t share with you, my readers and followers, as long as you pay me for my infinite wisdom and grace.
But it’s a long con, an epic hustle, one as infuriating as that smug, beatific, “I’ve been to India why haven’t you?” expression she wears in every photo she takes. It’s evident in the emotionally cheap way she turns epic, devastating losses — divorcing two husbands, the death of her girlfriend Rayya — into narrative arcs of personal triumph and enlightenment, the hero always Gilbert herself.
Not much later, the gloves really come off. “This is a love guru? She sounds more like a sociopath.” Yikes!