Book Review: Eat, Pray, Love
I know, I know, Where have I been?
Finally got around to reading Elizabeth Gilbert’s best-selling Eat, Pray, Love.
I was pleasantly surprised to discover that she and I share the same birthday (July 18), but other than that, our lives could not be more different. At age 30, she realised that she was unhappily married and that she did not want to have children. She divorces her husband, starts up an on-again off-again love affair, and then gets the opportunity to go on a year-long self-discovery trip.
Another thing that Ms Gilbert and I have in common is a love for categorising and compartmentalising things neatly. The book is divided into three parts, 36 chapters each. So that’s 36 chapters on Eat (Italy), 36 on Pray (India) and 36 on Love (Indonesia). And she wrote this all in her 36th year. (There’s something very pleasing about all that.)
Notice that the countries all begin with the letter ‘I’ – prompting one reviewer to say that this book is more a ME-moir than a memoir.
The book is easy to read. She is open and honest and funny.
Two things stick out in my mind. First, when she relates of how when she heard of a woman being diagnosed with cancer, her first reaction was to say, ‘Dear God, that family needs grace!’ Her non-religious sister, on the other hand, said firmly, ‘That family needs casseroles,’ and then promptly set out to organise her neighbourhood to bring meals to that family for a whole year! Ms Gilbert wrote, ‘I’m not sure if my sister realises it or not, but that is grace.’
Later, when Ms Gilbert was in Indonesia, she befriended a single mother who was threatened with eviction. Ms Gilbert decided to help her out. She sent out an email to all her friends and family asking them not to send her gifts for her birthday, but instead to deposit money into a bank account to help this Indonesian lady to buy her own home. The email was circulated and money started coming in from total strangers even. So, in a way, Ms Gilbert is not too different from her sister.
I liked the book and I’m glad I read it. Now, do I want to see the movie?