Thursday, April 20, 2017

Book Review: Eat, Pray, Love

I have been wanting to read Eat, Pray, Love for a long time, but it was one of those books that always slipped my mind when I was looking for something new. The memoir, by Elizabeth Gilbert, is about discovering herself and finding peace within after an incredibly difficult divorce. She sets the book up in three sections; Italy discusses pleasure, India digs into devotion, and Indonesia explores the balance between the two. I  loved this book and I would definitely recommend it to anyone who has ever felt a little lost in their lives. 

The separation of location and concept in Eat, Pray, Love made it easier to understand and follow what Gilbert was discussing.The first section, about Italy and pleasure, was a bit slow starting. Chapters 2-9 are fully devoted to the background of the story; minor details about Gilbert's divorce, how she got to her breaking point, and why she decided to travel to Italy, India, and Indonesia. While all necessary for understanding the memoir, at points I found myself just waiting for her to go to Italy and start experiencing pleasure.
When she did get to Italy I was fully satisfied. Large meals of pizza and pasta, slow walks to gelato stands, and long evenings discussing life with good friends marked her time in Italy. Gilbert's time in Italy started to lighten her mood; the reader witnesses her letting go of some anxiety and pain on the surface and allowing herself to freely enjoy what she wants to enjoy. However, the more she relaxes and enjoys herself the more her deep rooted pain starts to come to the surface. She leaves Italy feeling more calm but not truly happy yet. 

Gilbert's next stop is India, to spend four months at an Ashram, a monastery for Indian religions. This is the point in the memoir where we see Gilbert making her biggest steps forward and dealing with her biggest fears and wounds. Her schedule is rigorous; long hours of yoga, meditation, and study now mark her days. Her body and mind become stronger. Surrounded by a strict routine and new friends finding their own peace at the Ashram, Gilbert was able to come to terms with the events of her past, accept them, and start to move forward again. This section was my favorite section; Gilbert discusses the most difficult issues of her trip in a way that is relatable and enlightening. 

The final stop on the journey is Indonesia. Here Gilbert planned to find the balance between the pleasure she had enjoyed in Italy and the devotion she had discovered in India. She met up with a medicine man she had met years before, rented a house, and spent her days between work and play. Helping the medicine man provided a spiritual outlet and a large learning opportunity, while spending time with her new friends provided fun and relaxation. In Indonesia the reader sees Gilbert find peace. She is whole and independent, more than she has been in years. When she meets a new man and starts dating again it only shows how far she has come; she still spends time on the things which are important to her, while learning to let go and follow where life leads her. The final section of the book does a great job of tying everything together without seeking to teach the reader. Gilbert lets the reader witness her transformation without trying to outline a step-by-step plan for balance. 

Overall, Eat, Pray, Love is a wonderful book. I enjoyed reading it and found valuable insights into pleasure, devotion, and balance. Gilbert is funny, heartfelt, and honest throughout the book, not holding back details that might be embarrassing or difficult to discuss. Watching Gilbert rediscover peace while coming to a better understanding of herself was fascinating and inspiring. I was motivated to make more time to explore these concepts in my own life, though on a much smaller scale. I gave this book 4/5 starts on goodreads and would definitely recommend it!

What do you want to see me review in the future?

P.S. The tea of the day is peppermint tea ^_^

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