Lazy Saturday Afternoons……are perfect for finishing a book, and writing reviews.
The book of the hour (or week, rather) is Eat Pray Love. For those that don’t know, it’s a memoir–a great one. Elizabeth Gilbert, after navigating a nasty, years-long divorce, and nearly losing her mind, her self, and all of her joy in the process, embarks on a year-long trip across the world. Each verb used in the title describes what she learns in the four months she spends in each country: Eat in Italy, Pray in India, and Love in Indonesia.
First, let me just state that the depths of my jealousy of this woman’s travels cannot possibly be described in words. She does not describe any form of income at all during this year of travels, so it seems to be just one long vacation. However, it must also be said that the depths of her sorrows at this time are so heartbreakingly and vividly portrayed in the book, that what appears to be an escape or vacation from her problems is actually a courageous confrontation of all the things that weigh her down. Liz Gilbert is not a weak woman, and the force of her nature and strength of her character are evident both in the events she describes and the language she uses.
And WHAT language it is! She is downright hilarious, for a start. Of course, the humor in the book is attractive to readers, but Gilbert is just as captivating in the most serious parts of the book. Her brushes with the divine, interactions with people of all different backgrounds and cultures, adventures in food and exploration, plunges into the depths of depression and loneliness, and attempts at meditations and prayers are humorous or gravely serious at the appropriate time, and reinforced with strong metaphor. The reader gets the impression that without this journey towards self-love and balance, Gilbert’s life might have been lost.
The book also gives such wonderful insight into other cultures that are not often in the spotlight. The section on Italy draws the reader in. It is engaging, romantic (in a non-romantic way, if that makes sense), and tons of fun to read. I laughed out loud in public often, and got a few funny looks. India gets serious, for she spends her entire four months in an Ashram, praying and meditating and scrubbing floors constantly. It is here that she stops running from her problems and begins to confront them in the depths of her heart and mind. In Indonesia she seeks to combine those things she learned in Italy and in India, finding joy and love as she seeks to balance self-actualization and personal pleasure.
What’s so great about this? I won’t lie–there are places I feel the book drags. Many of the meditation practices and accompanying vocabulary hold no interest for me. But aside from that, her writing is fun and enthralling. In many places, her insight into these other cultures is fascinating, and at times I found myself marveling at the things the people in India and Indonesia lived without–things we in the West often take for granted. The kindness, spirituality, and generosity demonstrated by the people on Gilbert’s journeys are (excuse my cheese) heartwarming, and often inspiring.
In short–yes, you should read this book. Especially with the film being released in 12 days. Gilbert is possibly one of the most fascinating writers I’ve ever had the privilege of reading.


One thought on “Lazy Saturday Afternoons…

  1. Jen says:

    I just downloaded this book on audiobook! I'm excited to listen to it.

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