I shamelessly finished Elizabeth Gilbert’s #1 best-seller Eat Pray Love at 1am last night. Yes, I spent a Friday night with a book about a 34-year-old in an existential mid-life crisis instead of at a fancy club downtown with my best friend Alana and her new Swiss roommate Alex. My sorority sister Brittany suggested it, as she is on her own one year voyage through Australia and knows I am getting ready to come join her down under.
First let me say this is not a boy book. Boys, don’t even think about it. The first sentence talks about Ms. Gilbert’s desire to kiss a gorgeous Italian man 10 years her junior. You will not enjoy this book. Ladies, if you want him to read it, bookmark the important pages that you think may but actually may not completely apply to your romantic and emotional situation. At least that was my first temptation. Sometimes, there are things that a woman does not need to share with the man in her life. How this book applies falls into this category.
Ms. Gilbert’s wit certainly shines through this emotional and revealing memoir, and I found myself actually chuckling at her anecdotes and internal monologues, so hopefully you will too. This is definitely a book to read while laying on the beach, if possible, or in another warm, sunny, cheerful environment. Ms. Gilbert’s journey through a self-inflicted life rehab is strange and a bit questionable. Since I personally have never seen my soul, I cannot say whether it actually is a cool blue light as she describes seeing on the roof of her Ashram in India.
The three sections of this book represent each of her locales: Italy, India and Indonesia (Bali). By far Italy was the most enjoyable. This section could easily be siphoned off into a novella of its own. Ms. Gilbert’s relationships in Italy are intriguing and deserve more exploration, which she denies them because of the structure of her piece and her control to devote equal time to each part of her journey. However for a woman recovering from a disastrous divorce and equally corrupt relationship with a boyfriend, she certainly attaches herself to men quickly: whether it is her young Italian speech partner, Richard from Texas offering her advice, or the delicious Felipe from Brazil. But I guess crossing the world gets lonely, so you can’t really blame her.
Structurally, the 108 sections were an interesting format based on the japa mala, the original rosary which the Catholics borrowed from Hindus and Buddhists in India. Somehow, she intermingles stories of her past life well, with few interruptions from the recent past and even more sparse are the reminiscences back to childhood. I was slightly less interested in her metaphysical experiences in India, but appreciated her overall approach to try to show travel as a process working with for or against your soul.
Overall, I enjoyed reading and was glad Indonesia was less spiritual and more back on the travel wave length. Definitely recommend.