I have book-rapture!!
When Eat, Pray, Love came out in the mid-2000’s, I refused read it. At the sight of the word “Pray”, I automatically assumed that this book was far from what I (at the time, a struggling atheist/agnostic/maybe Christian) wanted or needed to read. In my mind, this book was a calling to all women who needed reassurance from another being about God, our Lord and Savior. I pictured middle-aged woman across the nation reading this book and discussing, with vindication, that God DOES EXIST!
THIS IS WHY YOU MUST NEVER, EVER JUDGE A BOOK BY THE COVER.
I was so woefully wrong! I can not even begin to explain my regret of not reading this book sooner… If not when it first came out, I *at least* wish I had found it 5 years ago. So, Liz Gilbert, I am SO sorry for erroneously judging you and your book!
So, for those who haven’t read this book, Eat, Pray, Love is a book about Elizabeth Gilbert’s spiritual and physical journey after a turbulent break from her first marriage. That is the simple, one sentence answer you can provide anyone that asks. However, this book encases so much more within the two covers. Specifically, it is the breakdown of a woman, her physical and her soul, that you bare witness to. As I read, I could literally feel myself experiencing the loss Gilbert felt… her shame, humiliation, sadness that stemmed from the divorce came through to me from those pages… they stuck to me, and I experienced those with her. (Maybe because I’ve struggled in the same way in the past, just not divorce?) Not only that, but while Gilbert builds herself up in Italy, in India, in Indonesia, I felt that with her. Perhaps it’s that Gilbert’s style of writing that aligns so closely with what I like… or maybe it’s that I have struggled exactly as Gilbert has, physically, emotionally, religiously… one way or another, this book took hold of me.
The book is broken down into 3 sections, for each location that she visits (Italy, India, Indonesia). In each location she has a set goal and matches that of the title (Italy-eat, India-pray, Indonesia-love). Personally, my least favorite was Indonesia.. Although interesting and still a beautiful section, the other two sections were far too powerful for me to hold the 3rd to the same bar. I loved everything about Italy not only because FOOD, but also because I can understand the desire to learn a language just simple because you can… For years, I’ve tried to master German. Although it may not be a “beautiful” language like Italian, it just intrigues me more than I can explain.
Then there is India… and honestly, WOW… I have struggled with my relationship with God for many years. In more recent years, I’ve developed a more complex and hybrid version of what I think God means. My roots push me to believe in a King, the Lord and Savior. But the science, logical part of my brain prevents me for accepting this theory in it’s entirety. Add into that all the world drama from the last few years… In my mid-western state, it’s believed that a man who is gay will automatically burn in hell for LOVING another… but a murderer that repents may be forgiven? I can’t accept this… Within the last year, I’ve looked more into a Buddhist style of worship… I’ve tried to better myself in the hopes it betters the world. I believe that my soul will continue to regenerate until I find Karma’s peace… I saw my struggles reflected back to me from the pages in E, P, L. How corny would it be to say that this book helped me find better footing in my religious beliefs? Seriously, my doubts of this book are shameful to me now.
On top of all that, I honestly can say I don’t think I’ve read an autobiography that was so well put together as E, P, L. Seriously, this book is *divinely* written. It mends so well together, and the everything is so wonderfully organized within the sections.
Can you tell I have a book crush? This moved straight up the list to one of my favorites. I would highly suggest this book if you are struggling…. If you are struggling with depression… with love… with loss… with religion… anything! Read this. Add this to your list. And if you have wanderlust, read this… because Gilbert visits some magnificent places! I know I want to immediately pack up my shit and get to an Ashram (maybe in a decades time)…
Anyway, I hate everyone that didn’t tell me to read this book 10 years ago. You may all make it up to me by suggesting one of your favorite books to me in the comments.
And, since she loves Italian…