Divorce Ruins Love Story
In most circumstances, nobody would care if a famous author got divorced. Famous authors aren’t like other celebrities, where every move is videoed and critiqued. Nobody knows what most authors look like anyway. So if a famous author gets divorced, who cares?
But what if the famous author became famous because of the love story she wrote about the guy she just divorced?
About 10 years ago author Elizabeth Gilbert wrote the huge best seller Eat, Pray, Love, and millions of women read it (and forced their boyfriends/husbands to see the movie). The book has inspired a lot of women to travel, eat while they’re traveling, meditate while they’re traveling, and have lots of… uh… I’m not sure if the book really inspired women to do all of that, but a lot of women really loved this book.
I hope it doesn’t sound sexist to say that women read this book. Just because I haven’t read it doesn’t mean that other men haven’t read it, but I’m pretty sure that the vast majority of people who have read Eat, Pray, Love are women. The point is, men know what Eat, Pray, Love is about, even if we haven’t read it. It’s that huge of a book. If I’m sexist for expressing this thought, this sexism demonstrates how prolific and influential Eat, Pray, Love was.
Anyway, a couple weeks ago, Elizabeth Gilbert announced that she and her husband are getting divorced, and she wants privacy, and she’s staying off social media for a while. Reaction to this has been almost nonexistent. Social media didn’t blow up. I accidentally came across this story while I was reading about something else. I almost missed this story entirely.
Maybe it’s good that there’s little media attention. There’s nothing wrong with Gilbert treating this privately. It’s better than treating her novels like Taylor Swift treats her songs. If I were single, I probably wouldn’t want to date an author because I’d know that all my flaws would show up in her writing eventually. A guy who marries a writer like Gilbert knows that millions of readers are going to know him too.
I’ve defended Elizabeth Gilbert in the past, even though she probably doesn’t know it. A few years ago, she got into a literary disagreement with author Phillip Roth over whether writing was like “torture” or “f#cking great.” Most people would automatically choose to side with Phillip Roth just because he’s Phillip Roth, but I agreed with Elizabeth Gilbert, even though I didn’t think she had a lot of credibility on the issue.
It’s easy to say writing is “f#cking great” when you’ve gotten rich by writing. I have more credibility saying that writing is “f#cking great” because I make almost no money with my writing, and I do it anyway.
I’m not going to ever read Eat, Pray, Love. It’s just not my kind of book. I’m more likely to mock it or roll my eyes at the book than read it. But Elizabeth Gilbert wrote it herself (unlike some famous authors), and she managed to get a fan base, and I respect that a lot. And at the very least, a divorce means a possible sequel.
A couple online comments from this article complained that Gilbert’s divorce ruins the whole love story. I don’t know. 12 years of marriage is a significant love story. At least it wasn’t a one-night stand.
If Elizabeth Gilbert ever writes a sequel based on her divorce, some people will complain that she’s monetizing her divorce. Of course she would be! That’s the whole point of writing, to monetize our personal problems. Maybe that’s not the entire point, but it’s part of the point. The only problem is that Gilbert claims the divorce is amicable. That would make a crappy book. Nobody would want to read that kind of book. If she wants to maintain her privacy, she’ll keep the divorce friendly. That way, nobody will be interested.
What do you think? Does a divorce ruin a love story? Should people who bought Eat, Pray, Love demand their money back?