Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert

Talk about getting away from it all.  The author did, literally – to Italy, India, and Indonesia, taking a Eat year-long trek away from a messy divorce and the aftermath.  What she discovers – spiritually and personally – makes for a journey that travels even farther than these locales.

Rome is her first stop.  Gilbert is in love with the Italian language and figures that immersion in the culture is the best way to learn it.  “Immersion” includes savoring the local foods, which she becomes an instant fan of and gains the weight to prove it.  When in Rome…

Gilbert’s stop in India is definitely a 180 degree turn.  She stays at the ashram of a guru who impressed her back in the States, and learns about the trials of meditation and and how hard/easy it is to let go of her previous life’s hangups, including guilt and grief over her divorce.  All of this she manages with a little help from her friends…

Her last stop is the idyllic island of Bali, retreat of expatriates, artists, and writers looking for a balance between pleasure and spirituality.  Bali proves to be a small cosmos of contradictions – a seemingly freewheeling society firmly entrenched in age old taboos, a country of poverty where land is precious and ownership nebulous, yet a culture that looks after itself.  Gilbert finds friendship and more in this last leg of her travels.

Gilbert’s writing style is highly personal and personable – yes, the book is her perception and sometimes her self-musings are a bit much, but she writes engagingly, encounters worlds well beyond her limit, and is daring enough to go along for the ride, crazy as it might be.  And she’ll make you laugh – how bad is that? 

(William Hicks, Information Services)

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