Oct 19 2010
After a Kafka-esque divorce followed by a passionate relationship gone afoul, Elizabeth Gilbert decides to dedicate a whole year to herself: exploring pleasure in Italy; discovering spirituality in an Indian ashram; and finally, balancing the two on the Indonesian island Bali. Having spent nearly her entire adult life in and out of love with boyfriends and her husband, Gilbert realizes in her early thirties, in the midst of an emotional crisis, that it is high time to delve into her own depths. Her memoir, Eat, Pray, Love: One Woman’s Search for Everything Across Italy, India and Indonesia, chronicles her journey.
With an apartment in the ancient city of Rome, Gilbert studies the romantic Italian language, taking conversation lessons with the endearingly sweet Giovanni. She befriends the beautiful, light-hearted Swedish woman Sofie, and attends a cozy dinner party in the country to celebrate Luca Spaghetti’s birthday (that’s his real name, by the way). Red wine, strong cappuccinos, and the world’s best pizza find their way into Gilbert’s new-found hedonistic lifestyle. Loneliness and depression are kept at bay not with the aid of medication, but by Italy’s overpowering charm.
In India, Gilbert finds peace not in losing herself in the country’s natural beauty, but by confronting her inner demons through intensive meditation. Initially, it proves to be a struggle for Gilbert, a tedious, sweaty endeavor that makes her feel as though she is failing herself. Gradually, however, she learns to ease into meditation, escaping for hours on end in the mystical realms of her mind. Gilbert travels across the universe and even finds herself in the palm of God. She also envisions a meeting with her ex-husband and forgives both him and herself for all the pain they caused each other.
Having experienced the austere purity and discipline of an Indian ashram, Gilbert then searches for the softer side of spiritual awakening, one which fully embraces an integrated life. She rents a beautiful cottage in Bali, complete with a flowering garden and singing birds. While still meditating every morning and night, Gilbert regularly meets with the old Balinese ninth-generation medicine man Ketut Liyer and a young Balinese medicine woman, Wayan Nuriyasih. Together, they teach her how to both keep in touch with her inner self and pursue earthly pleasures. It is here in Bali that Gilbert finally foresees a happier future for herself and even finds it in her heart to fall in love anew.
There’s humor, pain, culture, and philosophy all intertwined in this unique memoir. While this book may not be for everyone, I would definitely recommend it for anyone who is interested in travel both within oneself and throughout this amazing little planet of ours.Read more: Bali, Book Reviews, Eat, Elizabeth Gilbert, Food & Wine, India, Indonesia, Italy, Love, Pray, Rome, Travel, Women's Travel
Elissa recently graduated from college and has no idea what to do with her life. But she would like to continue traveling. Anywhere. Even the moon...