Sunday, October 10, 2010

The Pizza is so Good We Can Barely Cope

Eat, Pray, Love
by Elizabeth Gilbert

"There are only two questions that human beings have ever fought over, all through history. How much do you love me? And, who's in charge?"

Genre; Autobiographical/Romance/Spiritual
Publisher; Bloomsbury/London/2010
ISBN; 978-1-4088-0936-5

Plot; Elizabeth Gilbert is coming to the realisation that marriage and children isn't the dream she wants anymore. She wants to get away, she wants to travel and, most of all, she wants to be free of her husband.

It is during a night of endless sobbing on her bathroom floor, her husband asleep in the next room, that she has a moment from which her life would always be different. In her moment of sorrow Elizabeth prays. She prays for the answer to her dilemma.

It is in the this moment that Elizabeth begins her journey towards her spiritual enlightenment.

Eat, Pray, Love is split into three sections; "Eat"ing for pleasure in Italy, "Pray"ing for enlightenment in India and learning to "Love" again in Indonesia.

My Thoughts; This book is your typical break-up story on steroids!

When your average woman goes through a break-up, she will go through the three stages;

Stage One; She will, of course, be upset and this will lead her to find ways to bring immediate pleasure into her life. This will typically come in the form of chocolate or ice-cream.
Elizabeth's Stage One; She travels to Italy to find her immediate pleasure at the bottom of a pasta bowl.

Stage Two; A woman will sit and try to figure out what went wrong in the relationship, who was to blame and how she will go about her life without her partner.
Elizabeth's Stage Two; She sits and thinks about the same things, but she does it in an Ashram and wraps the thoughts into the title of "meditation".

Stage Three; The woman, thanks to hours of endless thought, has made a break through and is ready to welcome love into her life again.
Elizabeth's Stage Three; She has a "moment of enlightenment" in the tower of the Ashram, moves to Bali and opens her heart to Felipe.

Having said all this, I did enjoy the book. I found Gilbert's writing style to be very relaxed and her constant bouts of sarcasm forced me to laugh out loud.

"Eat" is the section of the book which I most enjoyed, probably due to the fact it is all about yummy Italian food! Gilbert's rich descriptions of the pizzas, pastries and pastas were so vivid I could taste and smell everything she described.

"Love" came in at a close second, mainly because of the very sensual Felipe and the hilariously funny Ketut, the medicine man.

But, I must admit, I found "Pray" to be tedious. When I read on the back cover that there would be a section of the book spent in India, I imagined that Elizabeth would be travelling around India, experiencing the culture and visiting numerous temples for her "spiritual enlightenment". So I was disappointed as I read page after page about endless hours of meditation in the one Ashram.

I will also say, that while Gilbert's writing style was appealing and her sarcasm entertaining, at times I found her to be a little neurotic. If there are any men out there who have read this book, I would love to hear your opinion of the woman.

All in all, two thirds of the book entertained me, which is a majority vote.

There is one more little comment I have to make, and I don't know if other readers picked up on this. Tense was a bit of an issue for me. At times it seemed as though she was writing in the moment and yet other times she wrote as though she were looking back. It was as though she was sitting down to write the book and decided to write it as though it were a day to day diary, and then in sections she forgot this and wrote as though it were in the past.

I am looking forward to seeing the movie next week and I think I will have to pop back and write a comparative review.

In terms of recommendation it is a good book for any woman to read. I cannot see too many men reading it, but I may stand corrected on that one.

I will warn anyone, like me, who is not the spiritual type that the middle section can, at times, seem monotonous, but once through it the "Love" section is well worth the wait.

Happy Reading!


  1. You asked for a man's impression of "Eat, Pray, Puke," or whatever, and I'm happy to oblige. I read it because my daughter had, and she enjoyed it. To her credit, she expressed doubts that it would appeal to me. She was right to be concerned. While Gilbert has the ability to write, I wasn't very interested in her subject matter, which was herself. I thought it was the story of an incredibly self-absorbed individual who seemed willing to use anyone and anything to satisfy her own desires and needs. Even more off-putting than her selfishness, was her blithe acceptance, and frank expression of it.
    By the time she reached the "Love" section, I was reduced to hoping Felipe would abandon her in a cruel and willful manner. Alas, it did not end happily.

  2. No, please, mlgoodell, tell us what you really think! haha!

    I could not agree more! I actually discussed this tonight with my book club. We didn't know whether to envy her selfishness and her ability to leave life behind for a year, or whether we hated her for it.. well maybe hate is a strong word..

    While I wouldn't have liked to see Felipe leave her, not because I felt for her but because I liked him too much to see him "turn bad", in all honesty I think it would have been better to leave the relationship out of the book completely.

    Seems a waste to have spent a year "finding herself", and I use that term loosely, to then rush straight back into a relationship when it is over.

    Thanks for your comment!