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Book Review: Eat Pray Love

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Nicole Tracy | Literary Columnist

“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.”
As the book’s summary
suggests, Elizabeth Gilbert
is an early thirty-something
who is struggling with herself.
By all accounts, she
has it all in life: a husband, a
great career, plenty of material
possessions – but she felt
that something was missing.
First, her marriage went
south, and then she had the
typical rebound relationship.
After this, Ms. Gilbert
decided to take a chunk of
time off to travel the world.
She spent some time in Italy,
India, and Indonesia.
Eat Pray Love is Gilbert’s
first-hand account of the
time spent in each place, including
some first-hand experiences,
interactions with
locals, and relationships
built with special people.
The book’s title reflects
her journey. Eat is referencing
her trip to Italy, sampling
the food and learning the
culture and remembering
what it was to just enjoy
life again. She moved from
there to India where she
spent some time studying
spirituality, which is where
the pray portion of the title
comes from.
From there, Gilber t
moved on to Indonesia
where she planned to put
everything she had learned
in the previous months
to use – a good balance of
spirituality and enjoying
life. Ultimately, when Gilbert
wasn’t looking for it (nor
planning for it), she ended
up finding love.
This story is a memoir,
so it would be a good book
to read if one happens to
be looking for something to
inspire a change in lifestyle
or for some good ol’ fashion
self motivation and help. It
walks one through a woman’s
life as she progresses
through her divorce and
the corresponding journey
to new beginnings, leaving
everything behind her and
following through to self
recovery and support.
That being said, it’s a
slightly tedious read. The
author believes in describing
things in detail, which
is not a bad thing, but it can
and does have a tendency to
drag down the story a little.
It’s a wonderful journey
throughout the world
through the author’s eyes.
It’s also a great reread if you
find yourself down in the
dumps and need a quick
pick-me-up.
Eat Pray Love is available
at the Howard County
Public Library. Copies are
limited, so if it is unavailable,
ask at the front desk to be
put on a waiting list for it.