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Refreshing Honesty by author Elizabeth Gilbert in Eat, Pray, Love
Eat, Pray, Love is Elizabeth Gilbert’s a wonderfully crafted book about life changing experiences when she took extended leave from her job as a journalist and traveled to three countries.
This book was recommended to me by several friends immediately before I left New Zealand for several months travel. I hadn’t heard of it and put it on the “must read sometime” list. Only then did I discover it was (at the time) on the New York Times Bestseller List. I saw it for sale when I was in a bookshop in Bangkok and bought it. I am so glad I did.
The book is a delight. I enjoy travel narratives and this one is in my top ten of my all time “must reads”. I also relish those books where people shift countries, buy a house and renovate it, but this one is nothing like those narratives. It’s more about delving into inner insecurities and attempting a renovation of the soul!
Divorce and depression had left its impression on the author and the book of her year long journey describes her feelings as she examines herself, her life and her motives with raw honesty. It is, at times, a painful journey as she peels away the layers of hurt she has endured in 30+ years.
Each word in the title Eat, Pray, Love is expanded by her experiences in three countries: Italy where the author indulged in the fabulous food and language, India where she found new meaning in her life at an ashram, then finally finding love in Indonesia.
It’s sparsely written but that doesn’t minimize a rich story, deep meaning as she flirts with life (potential and actual love) throughout her travels in the three countries.
Encounters with other traveler’s and locals are poignant. Elizabeth Gilbert’s personality is magnetic and the way she quickly develops close friendships with those in her path are encounters to envy. They add to the story in surprising ways.
In Italy she enrolled in a class to learn the romantic language. She found a gorgeous young Italian tutor (much younger than her) to help with the Italian language and her fantasies were humorous and touching. Her portrayals of meals shared and eaten alone are touching and real.
The “pray” section is set in an unnamed ashram in India. Each person is allocated a daily job and initially Elizabeth’s task was to clean the tiled temple floors.
She became firm friends with Texan called Richard and he nicknamed her “groceries” (which I found really funny). It was a reference to her ability to consume large servings of food. Gilbert has a wonderful ability to laugh at herself and this provides much of the humor.
Several experiences of her time at the ashram in India appealed to my sense of humor. Silence is recommended at the ashram so accepting that she talked too much, she decided to take the vow of silence. A few minutes after making this vow, she was offered the only position at the ashram where talking is essential. She accepts the role and excels at it, helping newcomers to settle into the routine.
I don’t want to give away all of the magical qualities in this book. Travel is often a life changing experience and this one is no exception. One learns that her changes were profound and love features too.
I recommend this book Eat, Pray, Love to anyone interested in tales about strong women who travel and those who like stories about self development. Those who simply want a well crafted excellent travel narrative will also enjoy this.
It’s not large so it’s an ideal book to take on holiday to read on the plane or pack in your luggage to devour while at the beach or on the road.
During my travels, I usually discard my books and sometimes that is a painful process because they become friends. Elizabeth’s Gilberts gem stayed packed in my burgeoning suitcase for me to take home with me. I did read it again (something I do rarely) and like all good books I found some different and powerful meanings.
I then passed this delightful book, Eat, Pray, Love onto my friends and family. If you decide to read it, or have already read it, feel free to share your thoughts.
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Eat Pray Love by Elizabeth Gilbert
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