All I need to be entertained are cats within ear-scratching distance and a good book . . .OK, maybe that's not ALL I need, but it's a good start.

I love to read. And I love to get recommendations for books to read.

I started Cats and a Book to share the books I read with others. Some I love, some I don't, but you may love the ones I don't, so you're welcome to post your own comments and suggestions.

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Happy reading!

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Eat Pray Love, by Elizabeth Gilbert

Eat Pray Love: One Woman's Search for Everything Across Italy, India and Indonesia is the author's story of her journey from severe depression to bliss. Elizabeth Gilbert suffered from suicidal depression as her marriage dissolved. A bitter divorce and an intense love affair left her feeling needy and rootless. Fortunately, her publisher funded a spiritual trek beginning with four months in Italy, four months at an ashram in India, and four months in Bali. This funded journey gives Eat Pray Love the flavor of "stunt nonfiction," but Gilbert didn't set out to become suicidally depressed for the sake of a potential book. And the book doesn't have the gimmicky feel of similar "I Did (fill-in-the-blank) for a Year" books.

Gilbert had always wanted to learn to speak Italian and had made some attempts prior to her trip. In Eat Pray Love she recounts her attempts to learn the language while in Italy, distracting herself from her relationship pain and ongoing divorce negotiations by sampling the country's sensory pleasures, mostly gastronomic since Gilbert had taken a vow of abstinence. By this time her marriage officially dissolves, and she spends the next four months in spiritual study in her guru's ashram, where she makes friends and achieves some spiritual solace. Finally, she goes to Bali to find an old medicine man who, years before, told her fortune and declared that she must come back to Bali someday, teach him English, and live in his home. Although she does find the medicine man and learn from him, she also befriends natives and expatriates, forming deep bonds that impact all of their lives. At one point, Ketut, the medicine man responds to Gilbert's observation that "some people like to argue about God." He says:

"I have a good idea, for if you meet some person from different religion and he want to make argument about God. My idea is, you listen to everything this man say about God. Never argue about God with him. Best thing to say is, 'I agree with you.' Then you go home, pray what you want. This is my idea for people to have peace about religion."

Gilbert is an honest narrator, and writes her story in an entertaining way. Rather than being self-indulgent and self-absorbed, Gilbert manages to avoid the blog-like self-obsession many writers fall victim to. At one point in the Bali section of the book, though, the reader has the feeling they're reading a private diary or at best, a fictionalized account, since it graphically illustrates Gilbert's passionate affair with Felipe, her Brazilian lover. And, she regrettably includes a nickname she and her gardener-pal use for each other ("homo") which could have easily been omitted.

Eat Pray Love is an entertaining story which may make the reader pine for a year in Italy, India, and Bali. A "search for happiness" book with a happy ending, Eat Pray Love will leave the reader feeling buoyed by Gilbert's experiences and the lives which touched hers. Eat Pray Love was published by Penguin in 2006, and in paperback in 2010.

1 comment:

  1. Bali is the best place to have your vacation and bonding with your friends and relatives especially if you visit the place and feel the bali accommodation there.