This book is a satire of the book "Eat, Pray, Love" by Elizabeth Gilbert (which by the way is one of my utmost favorites!) and it's all about an angry, hurt and abandoned husband who decides to go out around the world to find but one thing: Happiness!
No, it's not a true story (which I thought it was and only discovered otherwise the next day) but it could be and I am sure it portrays what a lot of divorced older men go through in trying to find their ego back and live life once again. He is basically a sad man that decides he will quit his job and travel a full year to be able to drink to his heart's delight (which is something he does in Ireland), gamble and play away (of course, he had to go to Vegas!) and at last to a beautiful hidden resort in Thailand to makeup for all the sex he hasn't had. At one point when he is in Vegas and loosing a scandalous amount of money he joins up with this guy called Rick who becomes his main guru and shows him the ropes not only when gambling money but in many things in life as well. One of the things Rick tells him is about taking things at your own pace. Not rushing things over but not staying stopped at one point as well. Life is all about pacing yourself with your own rhythm.
The book is completely hilarious and shows a whole lot of what goes into a man's head (which is something hilarious as well!) and yet it isn't all comedy and does have a deep and human side when the main character, Bobby expands on his feelings and what he gains in each place he travels to.
I really enjoyed my read and if all books were as good as this one I wouldn't mind spending long hours in a cold air-coned supermarket more often - especially when it ends with a "Happily Ever After"...
In his 195-page tome, humorist Andrew Gottlieb pumps out a funny take on what men are looking for in life. It’s Bob Sullivan’s story: a fully jilted, newly divorced New York liberal who sets foot into the world, after years of lockdown domesticity. His journey takes him (and us) to Ireland to get smashed, to Vegas to throw dice and to Thailand to … well, enjoy the pleasures of the opposite sex.
What Bob finds, however, is not what you might expect at the beginning of what seems like an obvious parody of Elizabeth Gilbert's "Eat Pray Love."
Here’s Gottlieb, discussing his book with Jacket Copy:
JC: First of all, your book is clearly a play on "Eat Pray Love." It is nearly the husband of that book taking his own journey. Did you love or hate "Eat Pray Love"? Does your book mock or embrace it?
Gottlieb: I had this idea I was aware of the widespread success of "Eat Pray Love." And knowing of the success of that, I thought it would be funny to do it from a guy’s perspective. I admire "Eat Pray Love’s" intentions, but it was a hard read for me. I didn’t want to mock it; I just thought it would be funny because there’s another perspective to tell a completely different version of the same story.
JC: Why did you write this book?
Gottlieb: Beyond being funny, I thought there was something more significant and profound that could be told from a guy’s perspective.
JC: It’s a fictional tale of Bob Sullivan, a newly divorced guy. Tell us a bit about your main character.
Gottlieb: He’s like a lot of guys I know. Guys talk about grandiose stuff — if I could do this or that.…Bob was hemmed in for so long that he lost his wanderlust. But Bob learns he doesn’t need total crazy reckless freedom. He still wants someone to share his life with. Someone to have fun with. Once you stop worrying about what’s going to make you happy or have fun, you find out what really makes you happy and have fun.
JC: What are we supposed to learn from Bob’s failings and triumphs? Anything?
Gottlieb: I would never presume to teach anybody anything. But what’s interesting is that while it is so different from the original, and as different as men and women are, we all want the same things. You want to share your life with someone who makes you feel good.
(More after the jump)
JC: "Eat Pray Love" begins with a woman crying in the bathroom and then asking for a divorce. Your book begins this way too. Why?
Gottlieb: I started by purposely creating an architecture similar to "Eat Pray Love." But after initially mirroring the original, I stopped mirroring so much chapter for chapter.
JC: Did you learn anything from writing this book? Was it cathartic for you in any way?
Gottlieb: It was cathartic finishing it! Ha. I guess what I learned … it felt initially like a comedy book, but I realized it was more of novel about characters that I really care about.
JC: Tell us about Rick, the guru, whom Bob meets in Las Vegas. Who is he?
Gottlieb: The real Rick is a friend of a friend of mine. When we decided we wanted a guru character, we thought of Rick because Rick always had a good time in whatever situation he was in. The idea of that this guy teaches Bob to relax and let things come to you— the real Rick is like that.
JC: Alicia — the heart of the story, the woman he lands at the end — how did you come up with her character?
Gottlieb: My wife of 21 years is named Alicia, and I even asked her what she [the Alicia character] should do for a living. And my wife said she should be a documentarian. …It was as if Bob were a friend of mine and I was trying to set him up.
JC: There was actually a lot of heart at the end of this book. From Chapter 33:
“For all of God’s (and/or the Universe’s) mysterious ways, some things are extremely simple. You can talk and talk and pray and pray and meditate and meditate, but none of that will change the facts of life. And of those facts is as follows: Even when you’re scared, lost, overheated, lonely, miserable, and in extreme agony after having been struck in the midsection by an automobile, the right woman can magically make everything instantly okay.”
You so easily could have ended this with another folly or one last foible for Bob to stumble through. But you didn’t. Why is that?
Gottlieb: For all my cynicism and for all my comic antics, I’m a complete mushy, hopeless romantic. This is how I wanted it to end. Things worked out for him. Thing can work out. You can’t give up. Things can work out.
I think I assumed when the book was bought that everything was going to be a crazy romp — gambling and prostitutes in Thailand. But it really is a weird, twisted love story. I like that. It started out crazy and ended in traditional happiness.
— Lori Kozlowski
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