So I am probably the last one in the blogosphere to read Eat Pray Love by Elizabeth Gilbert. Honestly, I just hate seeing a book that is everywhere in the stores and that is all over the bestseller lists and all over the web and being in the dark. This one did have me curious and I simply wanted to see what all the fuss was about. My mom just recently read this book and RAVED about it. She loved it so much that she wants to promptly start over and of course, my mom is a big Oprah fan and thought Elizabeth Gilbert was just “delightful” when she saw her on the program.
Let’s be honest. It took me a good three weeks to read this book which roughly translates into forever! And it probably would have taken me another three weeks if it weren’t for the fact that it was due at the library and I couldn’t renew it. So I pushed through and made it to the end. And since I’m being truthful I don’t see myself adding this to my library, but if I came across a immaculate secondhand copy for a dollar I just might buy it simply so my sister could borrow it. I’m sure she would appreciate and enjoy this book much more than I did.
In this memoir, Elizabeth Gilbert is having a major mental breakdown and panic attack. She wants out of her marriage, has no desire to have kids and basically spends every night crying on her bathroom floor, to which I thought, eeewwww, that’s really gross. Why the bathroom floor? After her bitter divorce, heartbroken with the man she had an affair with, and deeply depressed she decides to drop everything and sets out to “find herself.” She decides that this can be done by taking a year off from life and simply traveling! Now this is where I got really jealous. What fun! To have the time, money, and resources to just travel. I haven’t been anywhere! Time out for a pity party for me. Okay, done now, let’s move on.
So she sets out to discover pleasure in Italy, devotion in India, and balance between the two in Indonesia. And it didn’t hurt that her publishers had already offered her a book deal about her experiences before she left, which leaves me to beg the question: did the book come out of her experiences or did she create her experiences to write this book? Makes me wonder . . .
We begin in Italy where I began to get really hungry. Elizabeth Gilbert basically eats for four months! What I wouldn’t give to eat out everyday on wonderful food and feel good about it! I just wanted to reach through the pages of the book, pull her plate off of the table and devour it myself.
In India, Gilbert spends time learning how to meditate and draw closer to God by living in an ashram. I understood her desire to use meditation and prayer to draw closer to God. Even in my faith, we go to the temple for this purpose, but I thought her little pep talks to herself were odd. It’s as almost as if she had two personalities. And she has a desire to make out with trees. Very odd indeed.
In Indonesia, she simply steps off the plane and begins her search for a medicine man whom she had met years earlier. I couldn’t believe how brave she was. Since I’ve never traveled, I couldn’t imagine arriving somewhere with absolutely no plans. One, she’s by herself. Two, she has no idea where she’s staying. Three, she doesn’t even know if this guy is even alive. Sounds like fun except for the fact that she’s traveling alone. I couldn’t do it. But everywhere she goes Elizabeth Gilbert makes best friends with everybody, so she’s never lonely for long. It’s also here that she meets her future husband and basically shuts herself in his bedroom where they have sex for what seems like months on end.
So probably not the best in depth review but those were some of my thoughts as I read the book. The book gets pretty deep and philosophical as Gilbert takes us on her journey to discover herself. I had to keep reminding myself that this was Gilbert’s honest experience and not a self help guide for the rest of us, although we could glean some life lessons from it.
Some of my favorite quotes in Eat Pray Love:
The Lazio fans always stop here on their way home from the stadium to stand in the street for hours, leaning up against their motorcycles, talking about the game, looking macho as anything, and eating cream puffs.
I love Italy.
This was the only part of the book that I read out loud to my husband for this reason: He LOVES cream puffs. He said, yumm, I want a cream puff!
You gotta stop wearing your wishbone where your backbone oughtta be.
Richard from Texas says this one. Now this is something that I could see my mom saying. I’m sure she liked this line when she came across it. My brothers and sisters were all raised to be assertive and independent and there’s nothing that she has little patience for is someone who’s, well, for lack of a better word, a wuss.
Groceries [Richards name for Gilbert], you need to learn how to select your thoughts just the same you select what clothes you’re gonna wear every day. This is a power you can cultivate. if you want to control things in your life so bad, work on the mind [ . . . ] Because if you can’t learn to master your thinking, you’re in deep trouble forever.
Another one from Richard and another one that makes me think of my mom who is a firm believer in the law of attraction and the power of thoughts in your life. And, Mom, I do agree.
I’ve heard it said that prayer is the act of talking to God, while meditation is the act of listening. […] When I ask my mind to rest in stillness, it is astonishing how quickly it will turn 1) bored, 2) angry, 3) depressed, 4) anxious, or 5) all of the above.
I totally can relate to this one. I have awful habit of letting my mind wander during prayer. Need to work on this one.
Well. A word about masturbation . . .
And I’m not even going to finish it. Hated this paragraph. This was the worst passage from Eat Pray Love. She mentions towards the end of the book that she’s so embarrassed to have a bladder infection from having way too much sex, but yet she puts this in there. A little to honest for me! And I really don’t need to know.
I love you, I will never leave you, I will always take care of you.
This is the end result from Gilbert’s year long soul searching adventure. It’s what she says to herself. Not a bad end result.
So did I like it? Yes and no. It was fun to read about her adventures, the writing style was personable, she certainly learned a lot of lessons that we could all try to apply in our own lives. But there was something a bit irritating about it as well. I didn’t relate to her character very well. And perhaps, I was jealous of the opportunities that she had to travel abroad for so long.
Would I recommend it? Yes and no. Depends upon who you are and what your life experiences are like. That and you’re attitudes about life in general.
Feel free to debate in the comments!
Links of interest: Elizabeth Gilbert website, Eat PrayLove – the movie, more book blogger reviews.
Genre: Non-fiction, Memoir
Publisher: Viking Adult. February 16, 2006.
Hardcover, 352 pages. ISBN 0670034711
Eat Pray Love is available from your favorite independent bookstore, Powell’s, and Amazon.
Updated to add: Elizabeth Gilbert has a new book published titled Committed, which you may purchase here.