Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Eat Pray Love by Elizabeth Gilbert

I really enjoyed this book. I think, partly, the reason for this is that I love the idea of a spiritual journey, and I was captivated by Liz’s spiritual and emotional transformation. Liz is a writer, and after suffering through a difficult and painful divorce, she finds herself hitting rock bottom. She feels deflated and alone and unable to cope with her unhappiness. I can relate; can’t we all?

Liz does seek professional help for her depression, but in addition to that , she gets the idea to embark on a year-long trip to the three I’s (Italy, India, and Indonesia) for further rehabilitation from this disastrous time in her life. In Italy, she learns the meaning of pleasure; in India, she learns the meaning of prayer; and in Indonesia, she learns a hodge-podge of things, including the meanings of balance and love. +/-

I have to say that my favorite part of her trip was her time in Italy. (Perhaps that is telling of my own personality!) In Italy, Liz completely lets go of every worry. She allows herself to RELAX and to focus on nothing else but to chase the next pleasure, which revolve around eating, site-seeing, and speaking Italian, a language that she feels sets her soul free.

But I also enjoyed her anecdotes from India: her struggle to meditate and quiet her mind/fears, her straight-talking friend who calls her on the carpet, her release of painful experiences to God’s hands. It’s like you see Liz transform before your eyes in this section, from a struggling, pleasure-seeking, insecure girl, to a sensible, humble, and centered woman.

The last section was my least favorite. It didn’t feel like it had a theme running through as the others did. Liz didn’t have “goals” set out as she did in the previous two sections. She just went to Indonesia (Bali) and let life sort of take over. Although the section was still enjoyable, I didn’t feel as inspired by her experiences.

After the first two sections, I thought to myself how wonderful it would be to be able to leave everything about your life behind and to focus on one thing at a time, and only that one thing. To sort of shine one part of yourself until it gleams, and then move on to the next, systematically, until you shine all over. I’ve only been able to do this one time in my life, and I have to say, it does cause reflection and reinvention of self to take place.

I loved how Liz gave herself over to this reinvention, and how obviously you can tell that she is in fact a changed woman by the end. I also enjoyed her proactive spirit. She was unhappy, so she came up with a plan to turn her life around, even if it meant making changes and letting go of bad habits. It made me jealous of her. It made me want to follow in her footsteps. The writing was superb—like a well-prepared dessert. It was a page-turner for me, which I think is hard to do with a memoir. I would definitely recommend this book!

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