The author of Eat, Pray, Love has a message for those who hate the runaway best-seller, said Karen Valby in Entertainment Weekly. Having sold nearly 8 million copies of her 2006 memoir in the U.S. alone, onetime magazine freelancer Elizabeth Gilbert says she can handle honest criticism of her story about escaping an unhappy marriage with a globe-hopping journey of self-discovery. What she won't accept are the sneers of people who dismiss it—or the new movie version starring Julia Roberts—without exposing themselves to it. "It's a little lame to dislike it before you've read it," she says. Gilbert clearly struck a chord with her book, and she sees the backlash as aimed not at her book but at its fans. The logic of some critics, Gilbert says, is that "if women like it, it must be stupid."
Gilbert obviously isn't afraid of a fight, said Melissa Silverstein in Jezebel.com. She urges other tastemakers to help bury this "worn-out, threadbare chestnut of a question: Whether or not women's tastes are actually worthy." Still, launching crusades isn't really her style. "I have a pretty simple life," she says. Watching her fourth book become a cultural touchstone was an experience "so out of scale" with her expectations that she tries never to dwell on the negatives. "The best way I've learned to cope," she says, "is to just say 'Thank you' to the people who have kind things to say to me and then sort of go back to my life, back to my garden."
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