With my Europe trip rapidly approaching, I began to ponder what books I would be bringing with me to keep me entertained when we were not sightseeing. Since I was going to Italy, the obvious choice was Eat Pray Love by Elizabeth Gilbert. Having seen the movie a few weeks earlier with Todd, I really wanted to read Gilbert’s own thoughts on love, spirituality, and food. Never have I been more jealous of a person’s life than after reading this book! The way she finds peace and serenity in this hectic thing we call life is admirable.
After going through a tumultuous divorce, a heartbreaking rebound relationship, struggles with work, and life in general, Gilbert finds herself at a crossroads. Either commit suicide (which she thankfully talks herself out of), or take a year away from everybody and everything and find herself: as a person, as a lover, and as a spiritual being. Obviously she chooses the second choice and convinces a publisher to pay for her year abroad in exchange for what will later become Eat Pray Love. Her plan is this: spend four months in Italy to learn Italian and to also appreciate life, food, and friendship. After Italy, she goes for four months to an Ashram (a place of spiritual learning in India), where she learns meditation, sacrifice, and devotion towards a higher power. Finally, she travels to the Indonesian isle of Bali, where she learns the secret to a happy life from an old medicine man named Ketut. Over the course of the year, Gilbert must face her horrifying bout with depression, loneliness, and dependency on men. Will she ever think herself whole enough to love and live again?
As soon as I began reading Eat Pray Love I knew I would wind up loving it. Gilbert’s effervescent personality shines through in her writing, allowing her readers to instantly connect with her and her plight and find themselves in her writing. I’ve spoken with so many people who have read this book and have said the exact same thing. Gilbert struggles with issues that aren’t uncommon to everyday people: the loss of spirituality, hard breakups, losing one’s way, and feeling helpless. When reading about her dark times you really do get a sense of how deep her depression was, and after completing the whole book a reader definitely can find hope that even in the darkest times, if you put your mind and heart into it, you can overcome anything.
Not only did I love the overwhelming message of hope found in the book, I also fell in love with the people and places that Liz introduces us to. Seeing parts of Italy through her eyes, and then being able to experience them myself was an amazing experience. I don’t get the chance very often to go to the places that authors write about, so it was a totally new experience for me, one that I hope to repeat soon.
Note: For those of you planning a trip to Italy, India, or Bali, I suggest reading Liz’s chapters on those locations prior to going, as she does talk about great sites and eats that could be worthwhile for your visit!
5 out of 5 Stars
This is my tenth completed review for the Page to Screen Challenge