Elizabeth Gilbert's Eat, Pray, Love...I have no words to describe this novel or to express my gratitude for the author. Certainly, the bestseller of the year; the most influential "girl" book since...Well I am not going to compare it to anything because it is not like anything I have ever read. The influence this tale of the pursuit of devotion and pleasure had on me is beyond anything words can express. You just have to read it to feel the energy and strength coming from it.
Eat, Pray, Love is Gilbert's biography, which she starts writing at a every difficult time of her life. She is going through a difficult divorce and a remorseful rebound break-up, which both leave her depressed, lonely, and hopeless. Elizabeth had tried everything - psychiatrists, pills, meditation, yoga, another lover...But nothing seems to take her out of her depression and into life again. That is when she decides to take a one year journey in the pursuit of pleasure and devotion. 4 months in Italy, eating pizza and pasta (pleasure), 4 months in India trying to find God within herself through meditation (devotion) and 4 years in Bali combining both. Gilbert shares this amazing journey with the reader, commenting on issues such a self-understanding, religion, devotion, purpose of life, and love. A truly amazing novel, Eat, Pray, Love must be experienced (I am not saying read because this novel has to be experienced with the heart) by everyone. People live such a hasty life now, that they forget to pursuit their own balance and stability. This is exactly what Gilbert aims with this year of travelling. And she succeeds.
The novel as I already mentioned is divided into three parts and into 108 tales. Each part has 36 tales and is devoted to one of the amazing places Gilbert visits during this year. Why exactly 108 - well, you have to read and find out yourself. What is more important is Elizabeth's motivation behind this journey. She gets almost no support from her relatives. They say she is irresponsible to take a year of at the age of 35. However, as Elizabeth points out "I have lost my appetite for life. I need to get it back".
And this is exactly what she does. Gaining almost 10 pounds in Italy, Gilbert indulges herself in the pleasures of good food and good wine. In India she spends almost every hour of the day meditating and trying to find this balance (or God) within herself. Finally in Bali, she is calm, secure, and happy.Throughout this journey the author meets a lot of new people and new friends, who help her in her search for her true self.
I was highly fascinated and touched by the novel. It can still be claimed to be one of those self-help books but I am starting to love the idea of a self-help book. Each and every one I read is better and better than the previous one. I want to compare Lorna Martin's Woman on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown to Elizabeth Gilbert's Eat, Pray, Love, because both of these novels are full of sarcasm, humour, self-irony and deep honesty. Both authors reveal themselves in a time of crisis and both find a way to deal with it. I am starting to get this sense of admiration for self-sufficient strong women, who do not need men to validate their existence, who are willing to go against the current, so to say, in order to find this inner balance necessary for a happy ending. I would like to believe I can be this kind of a woman some day.
The main difference between Martin and Gilbert, though, is that the latter goes very deep into the self-understanding concept. I mean, she travels half the world in the search of her true self. The author of Eat, Pray, Love is an amazing woman and her autobiography is a must-read for any self-respecting modern woman. What Elizabeth does is to transform the patriarchal view of the woman as a housewife and as a cooker into a self-sufficient individual, who is not afraid to break up with conventional norm and to find happiness in the most unexpected place.
I do not even need to mention that the movie is not even half as influential as the book itself. If you want to feel Gilbert's warmth and passion floating through your body, I suggest you buy this novel and indulge yourself in some properly deserved pleasure and devotion.