Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Eat, Pray, Loathe Venice

Serene like they say? Well, yeah. In a slit your wrists, suicidal sort of way. If that's your thing then, sure. Dive right into the book. Personally, I'm hoping the movie's more enjoyable. If nothing else, I'm banking on its shot-on-location, eye-candy appeal.

I'm in the middle of the oft touted and much recommended Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert and just had to vent on her Venice bit, for a bit.

Anyone else miffed by her dark take on La Serenissima?

I'm still enjoying the book (generally), but ...

"Her cheer, her optimism - they in no way match this stinky, slow, sinking, mysterious, silent, weird city. Venice seems like a wonderful city in which to die a slow and alcoholic death, or to lose a loved one, or to lose the murder weapon with which the loved one was lost in the first place. Seeing Venice, I'm grateful that I chose to live in Rome instead. I don't think I would have gotten off the antidepressants quite so quick here. Venice is beautiful, but like a Bergman movie is beautiful; you can admire it, but you don't really want to live in it."

Oh, but it gets better. Meaning, of course, worse.

"The beautiful young Venetian woman who owns the restaurant near where we are staying is miserable with her fate. She hates Venice. She swears that everyone who lives in Venice regards it as a tomb."

Sounds like our traveling author met a depressed woman in Venice and allowed this one person's view of the city to reinforce her own negative first impressions as fact. But, now that Ms. Gilbert is on her merry way to happiness without help (i.e., sans antidepressants), it seems she can no longer recognize clinical angst in others and take what such sad souls say with a grain of salt.

Sigh. Just had to get that off my chest. As you were.

So. Love it or loathe it? Elizabeth Gilbert's take on Venice, that is. Post away! Please use the comments feature to share your own Eat, Pray, Love (or Loathe) thoughts rather than contacting Marisa directly. That way everyone can learn a thing or two, too.


  1. Loved the book, read it a few months back...I don't really know how anyone could hate anything about Italy at all, and NOT at least tumble once with some handsome Italian in FOUR months.

    I think I would love Venice.

  2. Totally! I get that she was trying to get her head and heart (back) together and all but, dang. Have a little fun other than food ;)

    And how she felt such a dire disappointment with Venice I will never capito.

    I think you would love Venice, too. That is the normal reaction, I think!

  3. I leave my comment 2 years after your post, but I just finished reading the book, and being Venetian and living in Ubud, Bali, I can say that what she say about venice is as much incorrect as what she say about Bali.

    I didn't see the movie, and I hope they had the respect of leaving the bitching on venice out of it, and to correct the wrong cultural and historical references on Bali.

    I have to say that Elizabeth Gilbert writes in a pleasant manner, but she lacks in contents. Reading the book, aware it was going to be made in a movie, I been one more time fascinated by the American miracle: a semi-histerical bitch try to look good to the world, justify her actions, show off that she knows everything (while se doesn't) ant guess what? Royalties for the book, and a movie out of her book.

    The American dream, isn't it? Everyone can succeed! :)

    Thank God Venice has thousands of years of history, and billions of people that walked on her "calli" and "campi", and the opinion of Elizabeth Gilbert does not hurt at all (actually, Venetians will be thankful if many more Elizabeth Gilbert's copycats will avoid coming to their city). Still, considered the spiritual path she did follow, I believe all she has done is to build her Karma. And Venice give it back to her!


  4. Thank you for your comment, Roberto. And congratulations to you for actually finishing the book. I quit not too far into India. I just couldn't stomach Ms. Gilbert any further. She does, as you say, write in a pleasant manner. However, it's what she writes that is so grating on my nerves and upsetting to my stomach.

    I am glad to read someone's opinion with a little regional authority, as you possess. A good friend of mine spent several months living in Bali recently and commented when she came home on how little the locals like Ms. Gilbert or what her book has done to Bali. When I say locals, I mean American expats living in Bali. And when I say what her book has done to Bali, I mean inspire hordes of American tourists to descend on the region in search of spiritual guidance or love, as they read about in the book.

    Loved everything you said. Particularly the bit about how, perhaps, Ms. Gilbert's unfortunate opinion of Venice will keep her copycats at bay and far, far away from the city. Much to the pleasure of the locals.

    Lastly, don't see the movie if you don't wish to be further disgusted. It was not an improvement on the book. If anything, it was somehow more annoying and laughable. Though the wonderful and scenic cinematography did help to sweeten what was, otherwise, an unpleasant experience at the movies.

    Cazzo! I can't stand that Elizabeth Gilbert.

  5. I'm even more behind on the comment wagon...
    Loathe. Loathe entirely. An interesting tale but she gloats too much and sadly uses these beautiful backgrounds as her soap-box...

    I've been in Italy for quite some time now and Venice is one of my favorite cities. Her take on it will thankfully keeps the copycats far from Venezia, and maybe cause a few copies of her books to drown in the canals alongside the murder weapons...

    On another note! I'm so happy to have stumbled on to your blog! It's helping my wanderlust wake back up!



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