Elizabeth Gilbert’s infamous bestseller, Eat Pray Love, was one of the first books I wrote about when I started this blogging project last year. You can see from my first post about it (I wrote two) that I couldn’t even wait until I finished the book before falling in love with the author… I just wanted us to be best friends! This chick is funny!
So, when the Book Fairy (the selfsame Book Fairy who gave me EPL, in fact) gave me this beautiful hardback for Christmas, I have to confess that I was already biased in its favour. Thank you, Book Fairy!
Anyway, I wasn’t wrong. I adored Big Magic. It was written with the voice I came to love in EPL – a voice of humour, kindness, grace and just the right balance of sarcasm and gentleness – and it’s about creativity, a philosophical and practical topic close to my heart.
The attitude Gilbert takes is that creativity is not some high-falutin thing that only the chosen few can access – it’s an integral part of what in means to be human. We’re all creative, whether we want to be or not – it’s just some of us express it in recognised ways and some of us have forgotten how to express it. I cannot tell you how much I agree with this (or how much better she is at phrasing the concept) – this book isn’t just for artists, it’s for the artist in all of us. Or the writer. Or nail painter. Or dressmaker. Or carpenter. Or songwriter. Or kazoo-player. or interior decorator. Or whoever, really – you get the picture!
The book’s not a memoir as such, but it’s not a story either – I guess it’s sort of an essay? Or a book-length op-ed? It’s almost a manifesto, I guess – Gilbert’s creativity manifesto. In case I’ve made it sound really boring, though, it isn’t – as ever, Gilbert’s writing is engaging and accessible. Funnily enough, when I opened this on Christmas morning, my mum looked a bit gobsmacked and proceeded to tell me that she had been recommended this book only the week before. When I finished it, I lent it to her, but I had to nag her to pick it up, because (just like I did before reading EPL) she had some preconceptions about the tone the book might take. Mum said something along the lines of ‘I don’t want to feel shouted at’ (forgive me if I paraphrase, Mum!) – but a chapter or two in (like, literally a few pages in) she had changed her mind completely and loved it.
So. Two big fat endorsements. One from me, and one from my mum. What more convincing do you need?!
I loved Big Magic, and I can’t wait to read it again.