Amy Reads Books

Eat, Pray, Love: One Woman's Search for Everything Across Italy, India and Indonesia

Eat, Pray, Love - Elizabeth Gilbert Eat Pray Love is the best-selling 2006 memoir written by American writer Elizabeth Gilbert. The memoir begins with the disintegration of her marriage in 2000, and her tumultous post-marriage relationship. After a painful divorce, Gilbert comes to the conclusion that she needs to get away from everything and embarks on a trip to Italy (for pleasure), India (in order to visit an Ashram) and Bali (to discover balance).I didn't want to like this book. I almost dreaded picking it up, having read huge amounts of criticism on the internet about both the novel and the recently released film. However, having read it, I will admit to having quite enjoyed it. I will first say that the anger launched at Gilbert for having the apparent audacity to feel depressed when she was wealthy; is frankly ludicrious, and buys into the idea that material possessions equal happiness which (at least to me) is untrue.Gilbert has a very informal, almost chatty way of writing, which makes you feel like a close friend to whom she is describing all the events that are happening to her. In between the personal stories are really interesting facts about the Italian language, Indian spirtuality and the history and culture of Bali; none of which I was aware of before I read this book, and which I found very interesting. Gilbert's writings certainly made me want to grab an Italian phrasebook and learn the language, and her detailed descriptions of the amount of food she ate whilst in Italy made me very, very hungry and desperate to hed to Rome to try gelato. Similarly, the descriptions of Bali made it seem a lovely place to visit, despite the semi-recent troubles there.The only part of the book I found hard to swallow was the 'Pray' section. I have no problem with religious metaphors in novels, and Gilbert's own views on spirtuality seem quite close to my own. My only real problem was the apparent pluralistic attitude attempting to run alongside a view that there is a specific way (meditation/yoga) to reach God correctly; and I think her descriptions of 'experiencing God' were a little hamfisted. Plus, if the dialogue from the people she met in the Ashram is really lifted from people she knew then I don't think I'll ever visit one for fear that everyone really does use the word 'dude' liberally and talk about your 'inner self' all the time.Whilst I had various problems with aspects of the book, I couldn't help but feel happy for Gilbert when she realised that she was falling in love with Felipe (even though, again, his language is highly irritating). I doubt, however, that I'll be running out to buy Committed, the sequel. In the end, Eat Pray Love read as a very nice travel journal, but I didn't get any more than that out of it.