By Elizabeth Gilbert
Penguin Books, 2006. 334 pages. Biography, Nonfiction.
Eat, pray, love is an engrossing biography about finding oneself after tragedy and change. In rather rash turn of events, Elizabeth Gilbert finds herself newly divorced, heartbroken from a passionate love affair and in real need of some soul searching. She begins her journey in Italy where she has taken a vow of celibacy, focusing instead on learning Italian and eating- eating lots and lots of pizza. After gorging herself in the rich Italian culture, Liz makes her way to India where she spends time focusing on her spiritual self. There she practices meditation, yoga and sheds her newly acquired pizza weight, as she muddles through her emotional issues. Next she is off to Indonesia where she unexpectedly meets a man and slowly falls in love again. With each new place she meets people that help her learn and grow to arrive at a more confident, happy and self-aware state of becoming.
As I read this book I couldn’t put it down. Learning about the various countries made me have serious wander-lust and crave that kind of cultural immersion. I have been a yoga fan for years, so the idea of in-depth yoga retreat sounds hard and exciting. I am a sucker for a love story, especially when the woman is not expecting a relationship to appear. However, since finishing the book the whole thing seems rather self-indulgent and fantastical. Most people cannot drop their entire life, no matter how hard it becomes, to go on this kind of exceptional adventure. It is an entertaining read, but I would caution readers to avoid equating themselves to the author, or aspiring to have similar experiences.