Eat Pray Love is a memoir on one woman’s search for everything Across Italy, India, and Indonesia. Being a memoir, the details and happenings are as real as Elizabeth Gilbert lets us believe. I started reading this book, after watching her Ted talk, “your elusive creative genius“. From it, I observed a spiritual and somewhat psycho-crazy approach to creativity and writing. Since this was her bestselling book ever, I had to read it. Her story spans across a year of traveling across three countries, in a well needed attempt at self-rediscovery.
After a bad divorce that was largely as a result of her inability to deal with her own life, she embarked on the journey to these unknowns, incorporating a whole lot of mouth-watering food from Italy, spiritual euphoria in India, and an unexpected gift of love from Bali, Indonesia. This book has been successful particularly across the women-folk for a few apparent reasons. For one, how many men would actually want to read 108 chapters of a woman worrying about her weight and her subtle crushes on men of different breeds. For women, however, these 352 pages were as familiar as ever. From crying on the bathroom floor, to fighting the need to conform to the general demand of the world from women; Liz was able to use her own problems to connect to the greater percentage of her readers in a tone alive as day.
Starting her adventure in Italy, she painted the picture of a very retro-like city, with beautiful men, a language that bounced off the tip of your tongue in delight, and a cuisine that literally got me hungry – a lot. Being the first mode of escape from her choked up life, she finds herself still battling emotionally with her divorce, and her other emotional sagas. So, when she was not busy meeting people with names as delicious as Luca Spaghetti, she was either crying her eyes out, or learning Italian from all possible fountains of knowledge. Nothing Italian food couldn’t solve apparently. This is how she described her first Italian pizza experience.
“Holy of holies! Thin, doughy, strong, gummy, yummy, chewy, salty pizza paradise. On top, there is a sweet tomato sauce that foams up all bubbly and creamy when it melts the fresh buffalo mozzarella, and the one sprig of basil in the middle of the whole deal somehow infuses the entire pizza with herbal radiance, much the same way one shimmering movie star in the middle of a party brings a contact high of glamour to everyone around her. It’s technically impossible to eat this thing, of course. You try to take a bite off your slice and the gummy crust folds, and the hot cheese runs away like topsoil in a landslide, makes a mess of you and your surroundings, but just deal with it”
However, India offered her a different take on life. She spent her days within an Ashram, where she had to do daily labour of scrubbing floors and partake in all the tasking spiritual exercises required of her. The high level spiritual exercises, initially took a tool on her. Especially since she is one of those western girls who have not had reasons to believe in infinite powers and such. Moving from the beauty of Italy, to a highly impoverished Indian community, also offered her much needed lessons on discipline and self-control. Meditation was a vital part of her living, if not all of it. “Meditation is both the anchor and the wings of Yoga”. The goal of her sojourn to India was to achieve the height of peace and spirituality. After meeting interesting personalities, jumping a window, and being mercilessly beaten by hungry mosquitoes; it is safe to say she achieved it.
Finally, Bali, Indonesia, crowned her journey. The idea was for her to eat in Italy, Pray in India, and have a bit of both in Bali. However, she found herself experiencing much more than she bargained for. She found a father, both spiritually and otherwise, in her guru; she found a family worthy of help in her doctor, and she found love in a much older Brazilian hunk. One thing I found intriguing here, were the diverse takes on religion. She did a good job of balancing Balinese spiritual practices, with that of the yoga meditation and mantras from the Indian Ashram. But really, how far does a person need to go, and how many unrelated takes on religion do we really need to hear, in an attempt to find tranquility and divinity? Still, there was so much to learn from her many experiences, and Bali crowned the entirety of the adventure we embarked on with her.
The tone of the book is impeccable. She sways from humour, to empathy, to pain, in the most alluring way possible. It is probably one of the best reasons anybody gets sucked into the whirlwind of her work. I mean, this book was great. But just when I was letting it all sink in well enough for me to see objectively, and unbiased, in order to critique possible oversights of the book; I watched the movie. That just changed everything for me. The movie, was a big flop – as far as I can say. I mean, I was looking forward to finishing the book and jumping on the movie because the star role was played by the Award winning Julia Roberts. However, that movie did not even do a little bit of justice to the book. I would give details of my criticism, but I’m no movie reviewer. It was just awful. The book, however, was blissful, and I would recommend it to anybody willing to give it a shot. There’s always something to learn from real life issues.
I rate Eat Pray Love a 4 out of 5. You can give it your own rating below.
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About the Author
Elizabeth M. Gilbert is an American author, essayist, short story writer, biographer, novelist, and memoirist. She is best known for her 2006 memoir, ‘Eat Pray Love’, which as of December 2010 has spent 199 weeks on the New York Times Best Seller list, and which was also made into a film by the same name in 2010. Source – Wikipedia