‘Eat, Pray, Love’ – My Review

with 7 Comments

I’ve just finished reading, actually listening to the audio book, ‘Eat, Pray, Love‘ by Elizabeth Gilbert. I loved that it was read by the author herself which gave the book an extra dimension. To make it clear right from the beginning, I’m in the camp of those who liked the book; and this review contains spoilers.
‘Eat, Pray, Love’ is all in all a well written novel with lots of easy to understand explanations of complicated metaphysical concepts. This book is no travel guide – for that, try Fodor, Lonely Planet or National Geographic – but it is what some might consider interesting travel blog material.
I connected with Liz throughout the book more than I hoped for. I don’t think I’ve ever read anything so personal before; nor so real. Yes, it is common for authors to write spicy sex scenes for better ratings but admitting publicly that you masturbate is a completely different matter. But this is Liz. She tells us everything that crosses her mind. And that’s either very brave or very stupid of her. Oh, and she doesn’t want kids of her own, though she likes children very much! Now this is dangerous for a woman to admit in public, especially at a certain age. The capital sin one can commit in front of the society is to try to be different. Not many people understand this. You live for and through your children. Your children are the very purpose of your existence. Life is not complete if you don’t have children. These are lies people tell themselves everyday, because they are afraid of dying alone. Once you admit not wanting children, a big scarlet letter shows up on your forehead. And this is why I believe Liz was brave writing this book the way she did.
I read some mean ‘Eat, Pray, Love’ book reviews just before writing this. Yes, the author is self-centred. But than this is the purpose of the novel. She’s on a journey of self-discovery, self-understanding and self-acceptance and though she doesn’t travel on a budget, doesn’t have near death experiences during her year of travel, and she doesn’t have to worry about raising three kids in a third world country, yet her journey isn’t less important, though maybe a bit less remarkable. I hate it when people narrow the list of problems one might have to struggling financially for survival in a hostile world. Yes, the way to happiness passes through the stomach. But than when the food, clothing and security problems are all set, it doesn’t mean there are no more battles to fight. My mother used to tell me that after a day working the fields you can have a good night sleep and wake up the next morning brand new; but if you burn yourself in intellectual work, you will need more than a good night sleep to heal you mind. There’s a similar parallel between the financial and spiritual problems. It takes many years of therapy or whatever help available to heal a broken heart or a lost soul. Life is complicated. Believe me; I have a sense for this kind of drama.
Liz’s year long journey starts in Italy where she stuffs herself with all the pasta and gelato she can find; and I envy her as I happen to love Italian food. She even gains a few pounds and she is not ashamed to admit it. She thinks she’s still pretty even when her clothes don’t fit anymore. How can she not be, for Gods sake? She’s only 35. Yes, I know, the crimes against fashion and our little lives ruled by a few Photoshoped Hollywood actresses. Just wait a few years and you will actually see how pretty you looked in this summer’s photos. Time doesn’t forget anybody. Young is beautiful.

Learning Italian just for the pleasure of it totally rocks! I think this is a very healthy attitude and I love the way she did it. It’s in everybody’s grasp to talk with the locals. It’s free too! The only objection I have is not visiting the amazing array of museums and churches Italy has to offer. I couldn’t. Wherever I go, art comes first. Oh, and I was glad to find out Naples not only gave the world pizza but gelato too!
In the second part of the book Liz moves to an ashram in India. A bit more difficult but nevertheless interesting part of the novel. I felt overwhelmed with the amount of details and philosophies she explains here. I bet the Pope didn’t like it much. I mean Rome for pleasure and India for spiritual guidance? Shouldn’t it be the other way around? But I totally agree with Liz’s decision. I feel closer to the Hindu philosophy than to the bloody beliefs of the Vatican myself. Still I’m not sure I could wake up at 5 o’clock in the morning for meditation.
The last part of the book is my favourite because of all the incursions she makes in the Balinese culture, their traditions and the status of women. I loved the part where Felipe explains the culture of poverty. And of course, the foundraising idea was absolutely brilliant!

I believe there’s time for everything in life – a time for enjoyment, a time for being alone and a time for love. Finding the balance is the key. People might believe this is easy because people don’t spend much time thinking about it. But it all hangs by a thread. Anyone could be Liz because the little dramas are the rule, not the exception. For the vast majority, life is no Shakespeare play. And that’s why I liked ‘Eat, Pray, Love’.

7 Responses

  1. Caz Makepeace
    | Reply

    Great review Laura. I, too, think she was very brave in sharing the totally raw thoughts and aspects of her life, and for that I loved it. There were parts I didn't really care much for but there were many times where I really connected with and understood what she was saying.

    • Laura
      | Reply

      Yay! Glad you liked the book too. I think some of the things she says can only be understood by women (or a very perceptive man).

  2. Devjani Ghose
    | Reply

    Laura, in India you Can Eat, Pray & Travel 🙂

  3. @Global Butterfly,
    I don't get it why people didn't like the book (haven't seen the movie, not judging). Maybe they didn't get to connect with the story? Not everybody has the luxury of leaving a husband without hurting inocent souls in the process or to go away a whole year without worrying about the financial part.

  4. Laura
    | Reply

    @Deb
    I haven't seen the movie yet. But I have high expectations from Julia Roberts.

  5. Deb
    | Reply

    Great review. EPL is one of my favorite books (I didn't like the movie).

    I think more of us need to be like Liz and be honest about what we really want in life and not what society thinks we should want.

  6. Global Butterfly
    | Reply

    What a GREAT review!!! Lately I've been reading nothing but negativity around the book/movie, so it was nice to hear something positive! 🙂

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