I first came across Eat Pray Love when a friend of mine recommended it to me. It is Elizabeth Gilbert first best selling spiritual memoir. where she explores her divorce with her husband, and long-term partner, which then paved the desire for taking the courageous journey on the road to self-discovery.
Liz was thirty one when her marriage and prosperous lifestyle crashed head first with a grueling divorce, followed by a passionate and then not-so-passionate love affair with a guy called David, that ended up in bitterness. Liz snaps up the opportunity to fly to Bali to write a story about yoga vacations. There she comes across other influential characters: one is a ninth- generation Indonesian medicine man, and the other, Felipe, her new love. Eat Pray Love covers Liz’s travels to Italy, India, and Bali. She decides to dedicate a year of her life eating whatever she wants, meditating and finding out who she really is without any pressure to find a man to make her happy. Liz’s publisher who was eager to see how Liz could transfer her experiences abroad into writing and hence Eat Pray Love was born.
It’s hard not to like Liz. She narrates her story and her well-developed voice throughout the memoir allows me to really get a good understanding of her as a character. Basing the memoir on herself also heightened my interest in the book as it’s always nice to find out more about the writer behind the work. With a prominent voice, it’s as if she’s sitting beside you, telling her experiences to you.
Not many writers can develop their narratives as effectively to make the reader feel that way. Liz doesn’t shy away from expressing the good, the bad, the ugly and the happiest moments. I think a writer that focuses their work on themselves is courageous to reveal a part of their life for the world to read and critique.
The novel has a clear structure: Italy – thirty-six tales about the pursuit of pleasure, India – thirty-six tales about the pursuit of devotion and then Bali – thirty-six tales about the pursuit of balance.
What I liked most about Eat Pray Love was the simplicity of being able to love yourself for all that you are, and all that you aren’t. Which, I must admit, is not always an easy thing to do! Yet by following Liz through her journey of accepting and forgiving herself for her divorce, for all the bad relationships, for all the mistakes; it’s refreshing to see a woman put her desires and needs first instead of a man’s. And that taught me a thing or two too about where I stand with relationships.
Ironically, Liz does find love towards the end of the novel, which makes me happy for her, though this happens once she has learnt about herself and she had recovered from the guilt from the past, and has healed from her divorce.
I would recommend this book to anyone that wants to be inspired about life, love in general, loving yourself and looking within to find the answers.