To realize Eat Pray Love came out over 10 years ago is somewhat similar to noting The Breakfast Club hit theaters in 1985. Does anything worthy of reading or seeing every really age? And why does it matter when Eat Pray Love was released? It doesn’t really. It simply occurred to me when I finally pulled it off my book shelf just how long it has been on my “to-read list”. In 2006 when the media storm erupted over this book, I was only 17, and one thing I confidently know after soaking up every page of Gilbert’s most successful writing – we weren’t meant to meet until 10 years (or more) later.
After reading Big Magic last year, I knew I enjoyed Gilbert’s writing style and her ability to describe life so vividly, so it’s no surprise to me how easily Eat Pray Love pulled on my heart strings. And once again, my booked is marked up with highlighted phrases and is already considered on my very short “to-read-again” list. So, instead of boring you with yet another Eat Pray Love book review, I’ve separated her influence in three parts – Eat, Pray & Love. As none of these verbs are one in the same, neither was Gilbert through her journey in opposite countries. Her writing the only cadence keeping a beautiful, regular beat.
Italy | Eat
“You were given life; it is your duty … to find something beautiful within life, no matter how slight.” – Eat, Pray Love
First and foremost, eating pasta would be a great theme to Gilbert’s first adventure, but I promise there is so much more. Reading between the lines you’ll find pleasure being the focus, whether that’s driving to Naples only for pizza the locals recommended or learning a new Italian word that makes your knees weak. The Italians, as Gilbert describes, are masters at living life beautifully. Somehow knowing exactly how to appreciate every day, every minute and every noodle. So that’s what she does – with each story reminding the reader sometimes a simple plate of fresh olives and mozzarella with the sun shining on your face is all you need to be happy. Even for just a minute.
India | Pray
“The only place the mind will ever find peace is inside the silence of the heart.” – Eat, Pray, Love
The book does a 180 when Gilbert lands in India, and she’ll be the first to tell you the stark difference between the lively streets of Italy and the quiet halls of the ashram. Searching for peace in her heart and mind, she explores meditation on a level most don’t even realize exist. The journey is remarkable and here she gives her wisest insight on spirituality. Interaction with others is less important as she focuses on silencing the inner battle and finding God, rising above the earth and into His hands. This journey is the most difficult to explain, but a beautiful one none the less. Her insights leaving me speechless at times and the beauty of prayer shining bright.
Indonesia | Love
“…it is the oak tree that creates the very acorn from which it was born.” – Eat, Pray, Love
Only a place like Bali can conclude a year of self-discovery and provide balance after emotional turmoil. I’m definitely not saying this out of experience, so I’ll leave it to Gilbert. Regardless, if you think she relaxed in Italy, she does more of it in Bali but it feels…. deserved. After all the mental battles and fight for self-worth and respect, this will leave you cheering in the victory section. Her personal medicine man may be the most influential “character” in the book even though his words are the simplest. The theory that Gilbert was always going to Bali, that her better self was just waiting, pulling, yearning her through the darkness is the most poetic way I could think for her story to end.
I’m assuming you’ve gathered I’m giving Eat Pray Love a solid thumbs up. But, if you haven’t picked it up yet and plan to do so, please have an open mind. A wide worldview is the only way to get the most out of Gilbert’s words.
And if you have read it already, what did you think?