Release date: February 16, 2006
Premise: A celebrated writer’s irresistible, candid, and eloquent account of her pursuit of worldly pleasure, spiritual devotion, and what she really wanted out of life.
Around the time Elizabeth Gilbert turned thirty, she went through an early-onslaught midlife crisis. She had everything an educated, ambitious American woman was supposed to want—a husband, a house, a successful career. But instead of feeling happy and fulfilled, she was consumed with panic, grief, and confusion. She went through a divorce, a crushing depression, another failed love, and the eradication of everything she ever thought she was supposed to be.
To recover from all this, Gilbert took a radical step. In order to give herself the time and space to find out who she really was and what she really wanted, she got rid of her belongings, quit her job, and undertook a yearlong journey around the world—all alone. Eat, Pray, Love is the absorbing chronicle of that year. Her aim was to visit three places where she could examine one aspect of her own nature set against the backdrop of a culture that has traditionally done that one thing very well. In Rome, she studied the art of pleasure, learning to speak Italian and gaining the twenty-three happiest pounds of her life. India was for the art of devotion, and with the help of a native guru and a surprisingly wise cowboy from Texas, she embarked on four uninterrupted months of spiritual exploration. In Bali, she studied the art of balance between worldly enjoyment and divine transcendence. She became the pupil of an elderly medicine man and also fell in love the best way—unexpectedly.
An intensely articulate and moving memoir of self-discovery, Eat, Pray, Love is about what can happen when you claim responsibility for your own contentment and stop trying to live in imitation of society’s ideals. It is certain to touch anyone who has ever woken up to the unrelenting need for change.
Thoughts + Feelings: I strongly disliked this book. I contemplated not finishing it several times. But I’m no quitter, so I powered through the absolute garbage that was Eat, Pray, Love. I understand why there were mixed reviews of this memoir because I went back and forth between being empathetic with Liz Gilbert and really just wanting her to shut up (maybe that’s a little harsh). She had a wonderful year long journey in Italy, India and Indonesia. She lived a life that so many others can just dream of. Several quotes throughout the memoir are the reasons that I decided to power through – I’m a sucker for motivational quotes.
“My truth is not a condemnation of yours.”
“Happiness is the consequence of personal effort. You fight for it, strive for it, insist upon it, and sometimes even travel around the world looking for it. You have to participate relentlessly in the manifestations of your own blessings. And once you have achieved a state of happiness, you must never become lax about maintaining it. You must make a mighty effort to keep swimming upward into that happiness forever, to stay afloat on top of it.”
“Your emotions are the slaves to your thoughts, and you are the slave to your emotions.”
I chose to finish this book because I know that Elizabeth Gilbert had a reason to writing it for the story to become a global phenomenon. I have not yet seen the movie, but it is on my life. Deep down I appreciated the story because it was relatable. It’s not always about traveling the world, and eating an insane amount of pasta. It’s about realizing what you need in your life in that moment. It’s reflecting on your relationships with your friends, family and with yourself. This by no means meant that I liked this book. I thoroughly wanted to smash my iPad as I was reading it, but I did like bits and pieces of it.
Recommend? No, I honestly wouldn’t. I’ve already texted several friends that it would not be worth their time to read the book. I was initially so excited for this memoir because it’s about self-discovery, but it was SO boring.