If you are the person in America who has not yet read Eat Pray Love, by Elizabeth Gilbert, this is a beautiful book about Liz's journey around the world after her divorce. It has touched countless lives, including Oprah Winfrey's, and I was glad of this, because I am Liz's friend. But when I saw her on Oprah, I was also angry: "What about her beautiful short stories?" I yelled at the TV. "Talk about those, Liz!" But she didn't. Liz just smiled radiantly and kept on changing lives.
Because we are friends, I get to call her "Liz" Gilbert. In fact, I sometimes don't even say "Gilbert." Just "Gilb." We met when we appeared in The Paris Review's "New Writers" issue in 1996. But she wasn't new. As a writer, she was already accomplished, funny and wise beyond her years. As a person, doubly so.
When my mother was dying, I asked Liz if she believed in an afterlife. Of everyone I knew, I figured Liz, 38, was probably the only one who had really thought it through. The answer she offered is still a great comfort to me, though I won't reveal it here. It's private; plus, I don't want to ruin sales of my next book, Liz Gilbert's Answer Regarding the Afterlife. I know a moneymaker when I hear one.
So I really was not surprised when I heard she would be on Oprah. It's about time, I thought. But when I saw her there, I was angry and jealous. I suddenly understood how many people now knew my friend Liz, and how those of us who love her would now have to share her. I can accept that now. That is good. But it won't stop me from telling you that my friend Liz wrote the best short story I have ever read. It's in Issue 141 of The Paris Review, and it will make you gasp.
Hodgman's actual next book is More Information Than You Require
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