Sunday, August 22, 2010

Eat, Pray, Love: The Book

As some of you may be aware, I often read a good book after I watch and like or am intrigued by the movie based on it. I think it started with Sense and Sensibility when I was about thirteen years old. I'd tried to read that book two or three times but never managed more than six pages. Then I watched the movie, basically for Hugh Grant, and liked it and then made it all through the book soon afterwards.

So anyway, I'd decided that I'd finish reading Eat, Pray, Love before they released the movie, but I overshot by about a week. On the other hand, I didn't watch the movie in the meantime.

The book contains the memoirs of a woman, Elizabeth Gilbert, who goes through a divorce that leaves her with very little money (A divorce is generally a very expensive deal for whoever makes more money of the two people involved. In this case, Elizabeth was already a celebrity writer and making a lot more money than her husband.) and little or no mental balance. She decides to visit three places she's always wanted to visit. She wants to go to Italy and learn to speak Italian (not to mention eat all the pasta and gelato she can find), to India and practise meditation, and to Indonesia to learn from a medicine man. She could afford to travel for a whole year because her publishers gave her an advance on the book she would write about her travels.

The book is beautifully written, with a great amount of spiritual and emotional depth to it. The writer is candid and fearless in expressing her innermost thoughts, but never in a gross way. She touches the reader's hearts in a very unique way - she's doing all this stuff that her average reader couldn't possibly do for a whole year, but, even so, her average reader can relate to her because she's very human with the same kind of flaws and mental confusion like the rest of us.

She does have the kind of ideas about India that Americans often have - that we are a nation of extremely poor people for whom it is a big feat to be able to speak good English. That was the only part of the book that was a turn-off for me. But it certainly helps that she just mentions it in passing and doesn't dwell on it. She focuses, in all three parts of her journey, on the good things about her travels and the things she gains and learns from them. She demonstrates an extremely positive attitude and a willingness to improve her self and her life, especially for someone who has so recently been through so much pain in her life. Definitely recommended.

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