There are only a few books in life that you will read and then never, ever forget. I do wish I could remember every book I’ve read (well, maybe just most as there’s been a few that were beautiful but so disturbing that I’m secretly very glad they’ve started to fade in my memory). But the feeling I got from reading Eat Pray Love a few months ago has failed to fade away at all yet, and I very much doubt it ever will.
I wanted to leave writing a review of it for a few months to see how I felt about the book after the initial exhilaration had passed. The result is that I still feel exhilarated when I think about this book. Much of my review will only repeat what many thousands, of predominantly women, have said about it. But I don’t see that as a reason why another voice can’t be added to the excited buzz that surrounds this book.
Eat Pray Love is about the huge year-long journey that it’s author, Elizabeth (or Liz) Gilbert takes after going though a truly soul-destroying divorce. During this year of soul-recovery Liz spends four months in three very different places. In Italy she seeks pleasure. In India she pursues devotion. And in Indonesia she seeks balance.
I don’t want to give too much away about how she seeks each of these things in each location, a large part of the enjoyment of this book is becoming indulged in the experiences through the way that Liz herself describes experiencing them.
It’s not a page turner in the traditional sense of the description. You won’t necessarily be so gripped by the plot that you’ll be on the edge of seat, biting your finger nails wondering what on earth is going to happen next.
Instead, you are gripped by Liz herself. You want to know what is going to happen to her. You are completely drawn into her life. You want to know what she is going to experience next because you so easily come to care about her. In fact, having read a recent interview with Elizabeth Gilbert in Elle Magazine, I actually knew the ending before I even read the book. But that didn’t stop me from guzzling down every page in a matter of days.
And it makes you want to go to each of the places she visits. I’m not sure I ever actually will go and live in Italy, India or Bali for months at a time, but I have spent many hours imagining myself there after reading this book. Some of it almost reads like the most enticing guide book ever written. You crave for Italian food, you yearn for the peace Liz finds in India, you feel compelled to meet a medicine man in Bali. Its a sensual journey that comes alive from the page and transports you to some of the most beautiful food, places, people and feelings you could ever imagine.
Eat Pray Love may not be great literature in the often slightly snobby sense of the word but it has spoken to millions of people across the world and famously affected its readers in a profoundly positive and uplifting way. If that’s not a reason to read a book, I’m not sure what is.