Eat, Pray, Love, Elizabeth Gilbert, 2006
Eat, Pray, Love
I resisted reading this book for the longest time. I still haven’t watched the movie. It’s strange how books sometimes come to you when you are receptive. Had I started this book two years ago, I probably wouldn’t have made it through the first section. In this autobiographical book, Elizabeth is in her mid-thirties and going through a terrible divorce from her estranged husband and a pretty bad break up with her boyfriend. She decides to travel for a year, dividing her time between Italy, India, and Indonesia.
During the year and through her travels, Gilbert finds her physical, emotional and spiritual center as each section of her trip provides her with numerous planned and unplanned learning experiences.
I was reticent to read this book, thinking it would be too esoteric for me, but it wasn’t. I especially loved Gilbert’s description of her four months in Rome, for obvious reasons. I lived in Rome for a year in 2002, coincidentally very close to where Gilbert stayed. This part of the book brought great memories of my neighborhood by Piazza del Popolo and other wonderful little places around the city. I also appreciated how Gilbert described her stay in Italy mostly in terms of food, since that’s the way I remember my travels.
Even though I liked the other two parts of the book, I liked but did not love them. I thought the ending was predictable. Enough said, since I don’t want to give anything away to those who haven’t read the book.
I enjoyed Gilbert’s writing style and loved the humor in the book. I also found many parts of her spiritual journey touching and relatable. Many of the people she met along the way were memorable and her interactions with them moving.
I was especially drawn to her relationship with Wayan in Indonesia. Coming from a third world country but living in the US for almost 16 years, I often have similar experiences with loved ones. I wish, however, that I could say that I handled it with the same grace and wisdom that Gilbert did.
I think that her way of handling such difficult and mixed feelings when someone you love and have done something nice for reacts in a selfish way is another facet of Gilbert’s spiritual growth and maturity. Of course, the fact that Felipe was there to explain Wayan’s motivations in such a generous way probably went very far in helping Gilbert not to take anything too personally. Perhaps since it was not her culture, it was easier for Gilbert to understand and forgive than it is to me because it is my culture.
All in all, however, I enjoyed the book, but enjoyed Gilbert’s wit and writing style even more. Some may have found her self-centered—just take a look at some of the Goodreads reviews, –but aren’t all writers self-absorbed?
If you liked this Book, I recommend:
- Under the Tuscan Sun, Frances Mayes
- Dreams of Joy, Lisa See
I have to say that I did not care much for this book. It has some good quotes but this is one of the only instances where I will say….just watch the movie.
I loved the book and the movie. Usually I think the movie-version of books don’t even compare, but the movie-version of Eat Pray Love delivered just as much as the book did.
What I love abt BKS… you take away from them each time based on where you are at that time…in your life.
I haven’t read the book. I did read some of the reviews. I guess it depends how she viewed what she experienced and saw during her travels.
I love travelogue books but there are certain ones I don’t buy: for instance, any travelogue that doesn’t have the traveller-author interact nor learn anything from locals or lacks deep research about foreign cultures, history, I just disregard: I won’t read it. Travelling is both enjoyment and learning. I don’t want to hear only about the person’s inner self-journey of growth.
I’m sure Gilbert doesn’t compare for me, against the Irish-cyclist author, Dervla Murphy, an accomplished cyclist worldwide who articulates well researched history, culture about the places she visits and about the people she meets along the way. You hardly know much about her physical challenges across Africa, etc. She puts herself in the background: that is the true mark of a humble traveller-narrator.
Thanks for the recommendation! I put Murphy on my to-read list!
I think you’ll love her writing, her compassion and appreciate she is a real cycling woman veteran….I mean she was bike touring solo overseas in her 70’s and penning down her books.