Apparently, I have been pretty slow in the discovery of Elizabeth Gilbert’s 2006 novel, or rather, memoir, Eat Pray Love. International best seller, translated into over 30 languages, and having sold 10 million copies world wide and being made into a film starring Julia Roberts in 2010, I don’t know how it passed under my radar. Well, I probably do know, I leave most of my book selections down to fate as I find my next read within my nearest and dearest charity shop, pdsa.
The story follows Liz as she copes with a stressful divorce. She takes the reader with her as she travels to Italy, India and Indonesia seeking pleasure and spirituality, both of which she needs to help her through her currently turbulent life in America. Told with a comical tone as well as a blaring honesty towards the trouble of heartbreak, I could not help but feel attached to Liz and her journey, both physical and emotional. Hearing about her exploits in Italy gives me the last encouragement that I need to convince myself that some day, soon, I will travel through Italy. Like Liz, I will sacrifice a few pounds if needs be for the sake of Italian cuisine.
The part I was dubious about was Liz’s spirituality in India, and later to a lesser extent, in Indonesia. I am predominantly non-spiritual, probably through lifestyle and habit than any thing else. I could understand, however, Liz’s turn towards spirituality (I say spirituality because she does not plea to a man with a large white beard sitting in the clouds) as she finds a version that fits her when she needed it most, and it comes from within her. She describes it without preaching or pretension, so I was intrigued rather than repelled.
Eat Pray Love is a story of discovery and independence, but also knowing when to give into love; discovering that a life with the chance of love and the chance of heartbreak is better than a life with neither. It is a quiet lesson for us all, and I certainly came away thinking.