‘Eat, Pray, Love’: A Book About Spiritual Discovery
A spontaneous trip abroad coincides with a spiritual journey for Elizabeth Gilbert in her nonfiction book, ‘Eat, Pray, Love.’ After suffering a very lengthy, painful divorce, Gilbert struggles with a roller coaster rebound boyfriend in her 30s. When exhaustion and depression hit her, she decides to sell everything she owns and travel for a year. She hopes to find a greater understanding of divinity and find a way to accept and cope with everything that has gone wrong in her life.
Gilbert first stops in Italy. Deciding to fulfill her lifelong desire to learn Italian, Gilbert finds herself in Rome. She wanders the streets, eating pastries at random shops, reading Italian newspapers and struggling to get her mind off of the things that have gone wrong in her life. It’s interesting to read about how learning another language helps Gilbert find words to describe and define her life. Her spontaneous trips, such as the one to Naples for the world’s best pizza, are thoroughly enjoyable to read. What is also interesting is her friendship with a man named Luca Spaghetti, whose name amuses her to no end.
Next, Gilbert stops at an ashram in India. Meeting characters like Richard from Texas who calls her ‘Groceries,’ she learns more about spirituality than ever before. She is at last able to fight the voices in her head that never let her move past her nasty divorce and painful breakup. In this part of the book, Gilbert’s writing starts becoming repetitive and dreary, and she even describes some situations with the corniness of a 10-year-old. Despite this, she is able to portray her struggle to free her mind, and gradually, she finds happiness without even noticing it.
Finally, she stops in Indonesia. She heads straight to Bali hoping to find the medicine man in a rural village who predicted two years ago that she would come back to teach him English. In return, he would teach her everything he knew. Here, she experiences the sincerity of the people, and it touches her more than she ever could’ve imagined. She also meets a Balinese mother and nurse, Wayan, who is a refugee from domestic violence, and other characters. Gilbert is healed enough by now to render a really good deed. She raises $18,000 via e-mail from American friends for Wayan to buy a house. And after 18 months of self-imposed celibacy, she finds mature, truer love with a charming older Brazilian businessman.
Overall, Gilbert’s unrelenting wit and realistic tone persists throughout the book. She strips every experience down and is sure to tell you exactly how she feels or what is going through her head. This kind of candid view for the reader is exciting. One feels as if he or she is on a journey vicariously through Gilbert. However, it can become annoying quickly. At some points she ends up dragging out certain situations or epiphanies for many pages.
Moreover, the whole concept she tries to communicate is quite gutsy and refreshing for this new generation. We barely stop to notice who or what we are walking by or seeing around us all the time. And then there is Elizabeth Gilbert, who sold everything and just went away for a year. Her spiritual journey offers insight and a real solution to struggles millions of us face. She is able to offer hope simply because she is still standing after everything she went through, but she shows that it definitely was not even close to easy. This is a book for people who are struggling every single day. And let’s be honest: That means everyone.