The third book for my IRL book club was Eat Pray Love: One Woman's Search for Everything Across Italy, India and Indonesia by Elizabeth Gilbert. This is a non-fiction account Gilbert wrote about her year-long adventures travelling the world. Her year was broken into three pieces, each four months long: Italy, where she ate, ate, ate and learned to speak Italian; India, where she spent her time in her Guru's ashram and learned to meditate; and Indonesia, where she learned to balance "...worldly enjoyment with divine transcendence."
The reason Gilbert decided to take such a trip is because she had just gone through a painful divorce. Many nights, she found herself crying, lonely and depressed. Even though she had a great job and good friends, she just wasn't happy with herself and her life. So she thought that instead of wallowing in despair, she would go in search of happiness.
Reading the first section of the book made me REALLY want to go to Italy! I already am a huge fan of Italian food, but I know it would be a million times yummier in Italy itself! Besides the delicious food, there is the architecture, the warm people, the history...so much to see! This part of the book was very enjoyable to read. Elizabeth simply enjoys everything that Italy has to offer.
Unfortunately, the rest of the book was not as entertaining as the first section. In India, Elizabeth spends her time in an Ashram. She is trying to discover "God," but I could never really understand who or what she thought God was. There is discussion of the divinity and perfection within oneself (which made me roll my eyes), some sort of blue light that you can feel if you are doing the right meditation and are in the right state of mind, and ..."be[ing] a scientist of your own spiritual experience"-which I'm not exactly sure what that means either (164). I tried to separate my own beliefs from what I was reading, and try to understand what exactly Elizabeth was searching for, but I never figured it out. Richard from Texas was a very fun character though!
The last section, in Bali, Indonesia, was less bizarre than the prior section, but I still couldn't understand exactly what Elizabeth was searching for. She said she was looking for balance, but what she ended up finding in Bali seemed to be the total opposite of balance, if you ask me!
Elizabeth Gilbert is warm, funny, and a great writer. There were parts of her book that I really enjoyed, and other parts that I had to force myself to actually read. I would be very curious to see if her year-long journey of self-discovery and her search for happiness and peace have stayed with her through the following years--when she was back to her "real" life. There are so many who just love the book, and though I definitely did not hate it, I am far from an adoring fan.
Read other reviews of Eat Pray Love at: Bending Bookshelf, Age 30 - A Year of Books, Trish's Reading Nook (if I've missed your review, please let me know and I'll add your link!)
Date Completed: September 5, 2008
# of Pages: 331