Thirty-something year old Elizabeth Gilbert has a life that other women would dream of: she has a husband, a New York family home and they’re trying for a baby. So the realisation that she doesn’t want any of it a bitter pill to swallow. After finding herself sobbing on the bathroom floor in the middle of the night for the countless time, she speaks to God. God replies, and Liz goes back to bed. A tortuous divorce, a passionate yet painful love affair, and months of grief and confusion later, and Liz begins her journey of recovery through Italy, India and Indonesia.
In Italy, Liz eats. She enjoys self-indulgence, soaking up the beautiful language, beautiful people, and beautiful food. She lives care-freely and allows herself to restore some strength, mentally and physically, in order to face the challenges that the next stage of her journey will bring. In India, Liz prays. She experiences self-discipline through the challenge of yoga during her stay at the Ashram. She battles with her thoughts as she tries to meditate deeply and truly and experiences pain, wrestles with perseverance and understands the promise of healing. In Indonesia, Liz loves. She finds the medicine man who first inspired her journey and exchanges lessons of language for lessons about life, laughter and learning to love again.
Throughout Liz’s journey, we are introduced to many friends and fellow soul-seekers in all three countries, each with a story to tell that enriches the novel in a beautiful and humble way. My personal favourite, if I had to choose just one, would be Richard from Texas - his blunt yet kind words made me smile and think a little differently about things. Liz herself taught me a lot, through her own thoughts and understandings of the world as well as through recounting what she learned at each stage of her journey. I will definitely be re-reading with a pen and paper in order to jot down specific lessons about meditation, healthy habits and healing mechanisms that I can incorporate into my own day-to-day.
‘wonderfully written, beautifully honest and captures the essence of what life has got to offer’
Would I recommend this book? Absolutely. Is this all there is to life? Will this pain ever end? Am I strong enough to carry on? If you’ve ever found yourself asking these sorts of questions, then you need to read this book. It may just save your life. As I followed Elizabeth’s story from bad, to worse, to desperate, I couldn’t help but feel somewhat comforted, knowing that the pain I once thought was unique to myself was far from so. Even if you’re in a positive place, or don’t feel that life has hit you in the balls one too many times, I would still suggest picking this up. It is wonderfully written, beautifully honest and captures the essence of what life has got to offer when you take the time to look for it. A word of warning, however. This book will undoubtedly make you question what on earth you’re doing sat at home and may prompt the impulsive purchasing of plane tickets.
You can find Eat, Pray, Love on Amazon. It has also been made into a film starring Julia Roberts, and you can find the DVD on Amazon too - I’d recommend buying both and reading the book first, which is what I’ve done!