Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Finally, I Read Eat Pray Love

Eat, Pray, LoveEat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

For 187 weeks, Elizabeth Gilbert’s Eat Pray Love sat on the New York Times Bestseller list. I refused to read it for every one of those 187 weeks.

It just was not my kind of book. I didn’t know much about it; just that it was about some woman who went on a trip, found herself, found love, etc., and I was not one of those women who needed to read this kind of book.

Fast forward to December 2012. I am emotionally lost, and struggling to right myself and be happy. Talking to my very encouraging and supportive friends is helping, but only temporarily, so I think, “Maybe it’s time to read Eat Pray Love.” Maybe if I can read about someone else’s struggles, I can be okay again.

It turns out that this was a good way for me to approach this book.

Yes, I enjoyed Eat Pray Love. Mostly I think because I identified with the author. From her neurotic tendencies to the racing thoughts to the inability to separate herself from a particularly unhealthy relationship, I got it all. My own brokenness was mirrored in hers, and I found help in the conversations she had with her friends and in her thought process.

At another point in my life, I don’t think I would have enjoyed this Eat Pray Love in the same way. I found myself thinking that Gilbert’s issues were very…well, very American. They seemed to be about personal fulfillment, and not very real world. At the same time, I felt like she acknowledged this in a way that satisfied me. She realized that she was lucky in that she could afford to travel for a year. I know it seems unfair in terms of life experiences (who wouldn’t love to escape for stretches of time to fix themselves when it all falls apart), but I have no problem with it. Gilbert had the means, she used it, and she shared her experience with anyone who wanted to read her book.

Without her book, I would not have read this:

“People think soul mate is your perfect fit, and that’s what everyone wants. But a true soul mate is a mirror, the person who you everything that’s holding you back, the person who brings you to your own attention so you can change your life. A true soul mate is probably the most important person you’ll ever meet, because they tear down your walls and smack you awake…Soul mates, they come into your life just to reveal another layer of yourself to you, and then they leave. And thank God for it.” P. 149 (what Richard says to Elizabeth about David)

“Eventually, everything goes away.” P. 174 (Elizabeth’s own thoughts about mosquito bites, but related to life in general)

“Groceries, you need to control your thoughts just the same way you select what clothes you’re gonna wear every day. This is a power you can cultivate. If you want to control things in your life so bad, work on the mind.” P. 178 (more Richard)

By the way, I read the hardcover edition, printed in 2006, with 334 pages.

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