Title: Eat, Pray, Love: One Woman’s Search for Everything Across Italy, India and Indonesia
Author(s): Elizabeth Gilbert
No. of pages: 445
Genre: Memoir, Travel
Publication date: 2006
Date read: April 30th 2018
A celebrated writer’s irresistible, candid, and eloquent account of her pursuit of worldly pleasure, spiritual devotion, and what she really wanted out of life.
Around the time Elizabeth Gilbert turned thirty, she went through an early-onslaught midlife crisis. She had everything an educated, ambitious American woman was supposed to want—a husband, a house, a successful career. But instead of feeling happy and fulfilled, she was consumed with panic, grief, and confusion. She went through a divorce, a crushing depression, another failed love, and the eradication of everything she ever thought she was supposed to be.
To recover from all this, Gilbert took a radical step. In order to give herself the time and space to find out who she really was and what she really wanted, she got rid of her belongings, quit her job, and undertook a yearlong journey around the world—all alone. Eat, Pray, Love is the absorbing chronicle of that year. Her aim was to visit three places where she could examine one aspect of her own nature set against the backdrop of a culture that has traditionally done that one thing very well. In Rome, she studied the art of pleasure, learning to speak Italian and gaining the twenty-three happiest pounds of her life. India was for the art of devotion, and with the help of a native guru and a surprisingly wise cowboy from Texas, she embarked on four uninterrupted months of spiritual exploration. In Bali, she studied the art of balance between worldly enjoyment and divine transcendence. She became the pupil of an elderly medicine man and also fell in love the best way—unexpectedly.
An intensely articulate and moving memoir of self-discovery, Eat, Pray, Love is about what can happen when you claim responsibility for your own contentment and stop trying to live in imitation of society’s ideals. It is certain to touch anyone who has ever woken up to the unrelenting need for change.
This was a book that had been on my TBR for years and years, but not that high of a priority. I knew my mum really liked both the movie and the book, but I thought it’d be a super spiritual and kinda woolly book. So I didn’t start reading it until a week ago and I’m very happy I finally did!
This story, this true story, has a bit in it for everyone. For people who like to live by the “rules of pleasure” or by the “rules of God”; for those who want to live by their own rules and for those who have a bit of all of these in them. I wouldn’t call myself a spiritual person, so the parts about praying and God were not necessarily for me. Luckily, Gilbert knows how to bring the passages about religion in a way that’s not too ecclesiastical. She brings it in a way that it’s also understandable for the people who don’t believe in a God – like me.
If you follow me on instagram, you could’ve seen some quotes passing by in my story from Eat, Pray, Love. And man, it was FILLED with inspirational quotes! Two of them really made me think about my own life and personality, which was quite the confrontation in a way!
[I] disappear into the person I love. I am the permeable membrane, If I love you, you can have everything. You can have my time, my devotion, my ass, my money, my family, my dog, my dog’s money, my dog’s time – everything. If I love you, I will carry for you all your pain, I will assume for you all your debts (in every definition of the word), I will protect you from your own insecurity, I will project upon you all sorts of good qualities that you have never actually cultivated in yourself and I will buy Christmas presents for your entire family. I will give you the sun and the rain, and if they are not available, I will give you a sun check and a rain check. I will give you all this and more …
This quote perfectly shows that this was a serious book, but also filled with wit. This quote almost brought me to tears from both the recognisability and the references to the “dog” – I was almost crying from sadness and happiness, both at the same time.
Here’s another quote to give you a taste of the book:
My sense of helplessness was overwhelming. What I wanted to do was pull some massive emergency brake on the universe, like the brakes I’d seen on the subways during our school trip to New York City. I wanted to call a time out, to demand that everybody just STOP until I could understand everything. I suppose this urge to force the entire universe to stop in its tracks until I could get a grip on myself might have been the beginning of what my dear friend Richard from Texas calls my “control issues.” Of course, my efforts and worry were futile. The closer I watched time, the faster it spun, and that summer went by so quickly that it made my head hurt, and at the end of every day I remember thinking, “Another one gone,” and bursting into tears.
Eat, Pray, Love is definitely a book that has changed my life in a way and that I will remember and definitely reread someday!