Eat Pray Love by Elizabeth Gilbert
(Summary taken from the back book cover) “In her early thirties, Elizabeth Gilbert had everything a modern American woman was supposed to want–husband, country home, successful career–but instead of feeling happy and fulfilled, she felt consumed by panic and confusion. This wise and rapturous book is the story of how she left behind all these outward marks of success, and of what she found in their place. Following a divorce and a crushing depression, Gilbert set out to examine three different aspects of her nature, set against the backdrop of three different cultures: pleasure in Italy, devotion in India, and on the Indonesian island of Bali, a balance between worldly enjoyment and divine transcendence.”
I liked this book, except for all the language, and the fact that I couldn’t relate to this woman in 97% of the book. I am very happily married, I have children whom I adore, and I love my (sort of) quiet life in the suburbs. I also already have a relationship with a loving Heavenly Father. When she was crying and saying that she didn’t want to be married anymore, I just had a really hard time relating. I felt empathy for her, but I’ve never felt that way. Besides a lot of language, this book is well written. The format of the book is different, but I liked it. She writes in lots of short chapters, and it reads well. It’s not a really fast read, but it’s interesting to see her transformation and her thought processes. It’s also interesting to read about the three different cultures she visits. I learned a lot about food in Italy, and am dying to get to Naples for some pizza. I learned a lot about yoga and gurus, of which I knew nothing about. I learned about Balinese culture and was impressed by their healing techniques. I could never do this. I could never just leave everything (especially my family) to live abroad for a year by myself. I think it’s great that she was able to do it, and I am glad that she was able to find out more about herself and find peace, but I also think if she had worked harder at her marriage then she wouldn’t have needed it. I think it was really selfish to just walk away from a marriage like that. I also got irritated when she thought she deserved this time. Well, what about what you did to your ex-husband?? Didn’t he deserve a wife that kept her vows and worked to make the marriage better instead of just walking away?? I really liked chapters 57 and 58, relating to faith and prayers. Overall, I liked the book and am glad I read it. I liked that it gave me one more confirmation to work hard at my marriage and to never get divorced. It is fascinating to learn about how different people live and all that they experience. Ms. Gilbert does a good job of bringing you in to her story, whether you have experienced those feelings or not. She is witty and yet serious, and it makes it enjoyable to read.
Rating: R (Remember, this does not follow the movie ratings, it’s just my way of saying that younger readers should not read this story) There is a lot of language, especially the “f” word. I thought I’d be safe from “physical intimacy” scenes because she is celibate for most of the book, however, there is a lot of that at the end. And, she has these discussions with her Balinese healer friend that discuss very private parts of the body and how she heals them, and they are not appropriate for younger readers.
Recommendation: College age and up. I don’t think even high school seniors should read this book. There are some aspects of it that would be helpful for seniors to read and think about, but I think the language and intimacy is too much. I would recommend it to my friends with the above precautions. It’s a really good human interest story and I’m glad I read it. Thanks to Ms. Gilbert for allowing us to view her most private and intimate moments and thoughts.