Review: Eat, Pray, Love- Elizabeth Gilbert

A New York Times Paperback Nonfiction Bestseller for over 200 weeks, and over 10 million copies now in print. Eat, Pray, Love has been passed among millions of women around the world as the must-have book every female must read. A truly remarkable and entertaining memoir that fills the reader with hope from beginning to end.

Elizabeth Gilbert seems to have what every woman wants; a good career, nice house, a husband who loves her and the prospect of a baby on the way… but is this enough? Not for Liz, as she cries on her bathroom floor and desperately prays to God for help. It may sound like the typical or even ideal life, but for Liz she felt only confusion, panic and sadness; inevitably it leads to a painful, catastrophic divorce, another failed relationship with another man and an overwhelming, depression, forcing her to question everything she has ever believed in.

This is when she decides to travel to three different countries for complete fulfilment, finding her true self once again. Indulging herself in Italy, Liz finds pleasure and eats pizza and ice cream every day. In India she scrubs temple floors and meditates to find peace. In Bali she seeks balance and harmony from a medicine man, and is open to being loved again. Along the way she meets countless people of different cultures and backgrounds that really are absorbing characters in the memoir- Luca Spaghetti is one of many that the reader is introduced to. Gilbert also offers the reader some vivid, fantastic descriptions of the sights she sees and the memoir is peppered with small but interesting anecdotes or facts that I never knew about various countries, cultures and landmarks. Recounting her painful but hilarious journey from misery and depression into the fulfilled, contented woman she is today, Eat, Pray, Love is an astounding memoir that never loses its power to shock, surprise and make you laugh. The memoir is upbeat and hopeful, with just the right dose of grief and sadness to remind the reader that this memoir is a reality, and the writer’s journey has not been as easy and perfect as what the basic outline suggests:

‘‘My Guru says that people universally tend to think that happiness is a stroke of luck, something that will maybe descend upon you like fine weather if you’re fortunate enough. But that’s not how happiness works. 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.’’

Gilbert’s capacity to grow into a better, changed person, as well as her determination to help others throughout her travels is really touching, and there is something so likeable about her character that it stays with you long after you’ve finished reading. She fearlessly voices what everyone thinks but does not say, and her complete honesty is what is so appealing about her memoir:

 ‘But is it such a bad thing to live like this for just a little while? Just for a few months of one’s life, is it so awful to…nap in a garden, in a patch of sunlight, in the middle of the day, right next to your favorite fountain? And then to do it again the next day?’

Perhaps the only thing that bored me about Eat, Pray, Love, was Gilbert’s long descriptions of her time in India. There was so much written about her experiences in meditation, religion and overall harmony with God, which, although interesting for a while, became quite tedious and failed to maintain my attention since this is not my sort of thing at all! However this is a memoir; so it’s a bit unfair to say Gilbert should skip over the parts that some readers may find boring. It also does not stop her writing from being so insightful, gripping and truly fantastic, with the great sense of hope and awe at the end.

The memoir is full of memorable quotes, and one of the most important to myself as a reader was, ‘It is better to live your own destiny imperfectly than to live an imitation of somebody else’s life with perfection.” A very impressive, inspiring memoir and every woman must read it.

Rating: 3/5

Do I recommend you to read it? Definitely a woman’s novel, so yes if you’re female!

Genre: memoir/ chick lit