Why Eat Pray Love
Ah, Eat, Pray, Love. What a time old classic. Or, hopeless romantic top ten must reads, depending on how you look at it. But what if I told you, Eat Pray Love is the ultimate romance novel? However, there is only one person falling in love in this story. One woman falls in love with herself. Honestly, isn’t that what we’re all after in this game called life? Yeah sure – spoiler alert – Liz does find Fellipe at the end of the book but the true story of love within these pages is between Elizabeth Gilbert and herself.
Having underwent a tedious journey to finding self love recently, I thought this book is hellishly fitting for book club this month. As such, this is why we have gone for Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert.
What Eat Pray Love Is About
To sum it all up, Eat, Pray Love is about eating, praying, and falling in love. There we go episode over everyone go home now.
Ok but in all seriousness, it is divided into those three parts. But before we get into the juice, let’s set the back story.
It all starts with Elizabeth finds herself in a dead end marriage. She finds herself weeping on her bathroom floor one evening when she is compelled to pray. From there, we are launched into the will she won’t she intro chapters of the book, in which Liz flirts with the idea of running off to Italy and abroad for a year.
During this time, we are also privy to her messy divorce. In all honesty it looks pretty rough and my heart was instantly bonded to the lady. She also strikes up a whirlwind romance with an actor which is both turbulent and passionate.
Once Liz realizes she can’t keep jumping from bed to bed, and that David isn’t actually her forever guy, she makes the decision to jet off and jet off she does.
First up, we head off to the romantic Italy. It’s worth noting that Elizabeth has taken a vow of celibacy during this year of travel. It is also worth noting that she really shouldn’t have started in Rome after taking this vow.
She actually discusses this in the book, about how she keeps feeling the thrill and want for her Italian tutor, twin Giovanni, to suddenly kiss her.
There is also an incredibly moving piece she discusses in Italy. And that is her experience with depression and loneliness. And for the first time in my life I heard someone describe these two sensations so similarly to me it really took me aback. I’m going to read an exerpt of this section now so you can get a taste of this woman’s penmanship and the power of depression and loneliness:
“Depression and Loneliness track me down after about ten days in Italy.
I am walking through the Villa Borghese one evening after a happy day spent in school, and the sun is setting gold over St. Peter’s Basilica. I am feeling contented in this romantic scene, even if I am all by myself, while everyone else in the park is either fondling a lover or playing with a laughing child. But I stop to lean against a balustrade and watch the sunset, and I get to thinking a little too much, and then my thinking turns to brooding, and that’s when they catch up with me. They come upon me all silent and menacing like Pinkerton Detectives, and they flank me—Depression on my left, Loneliness on my right. They don’t need to show me their badges. I know these guys very well. We’ve been playing a cat-and-mouse game for years now. Though I admit that I am surprised to meet them in this elegant Italian garden at dusk. This is no place they belong. I say to them, “How did you find me here? Who told you I had come to Rome?” Depression, always the wise guy, says, “What—you’re not happy to see us?” “Go away,” I tell him. Loneliness, the more sensitive cop, says, “I’m sorry, ma’am. But I might have to tail you the whole time you’re traveling. It’s my assignment.” “I’d really rather you didn’t,” I tell him, and he shrugs almost apologetically, but only moves closer. Then they frisk me. They empty my pockets of any joy I had been carrying there. Depression even confiscates my identity; but he always does that. Then Loneliness starts interrogating me, which I dread because it always goes on for hours. He’s polite but relentless, and he always trips me up eventually. He asks if I have any reason to be happy that I know of. He asks why I am all by myself tonight, yet again. He asks (though we’ve been through this line of questioning hundreds of times already) why I can’t keep a relationship going, why I ruined my marriage, why I messed things up with David, why I messed things up with every man I’ve ever been with. He asks me where I was the night I turned thirty, and why things have gone so sour since then. He asks why I can’t get my act together, and why I’m not at home living in a nice house and raising nice children like any respectable woman my age should be.
He asks why, exactly, I think I deserve a vacation in Rome when I’ve made such a rubble of my life.
He asks me why I think that running away to Italy like a college kid will make me happy. He asks where I think I’ll end up in my old age, if I keep living this way. I walk back home, hoping to shake them, but they keep following me, these two goons. Depression has a firm hand on my shoulder and Loneliness harangues me with his interrogation. I don’t even bother eating dinner; I don’t want them watching me. I don’t want to let them up the stairs to my apartment, either, but I know Depression, and he’s got a billy club, so there’s no stopping him from coming in if he decides that he wants to. “It’s not fair for you to come here,” I tell Depression. “I paid you off already. I served my time back in New York.” But he just gives me that dark smile, settles into my favorite chair, puts his feet on my table and lights a cigar, filling the place with his awful smoke. Loneliness watches and sighs, then climbs into my bed and pulls the covers over himself, fully dressed, shoes and all. He’s going to make me sleep with him again tonight, I just know it”
That just moved me completely. During Italy, Liz makes some lifelong friends whom she ends up introducing to a full blown American thanksgiving dinner.
All in all, Italy is an incredibly wholesome chapter.
Next up, we head off to India. Liz has enrolled at the Ashram of her Yogi. It seems like an amazing set up. A number of volunteers live in the ashram, and as payment, perform the needed services to keep the establishment running.
During this chapter, Liz delves into her inner spiritual healing and spends a lot of time with herself in meditation. She also meets a darling little local who is entering into an arranged marriage. This causes Liz to deal with her own marriage demons and truly forgive herself for the divorce.
Finally, we jet off to Bali. Honestly, this chapter just made me want to run away to Bali, rent a little villa and be an expat. This is actually a full circle from the beginning of the book to now. In the beginning, Liz meets an elderly medicine man named Ketut Liyer. During their first meeting, Ketut prophesies that Liz will return to Bali to teach him English.
On her second visit, she returns to Ketut, who initially doesn’t recognize her due to her massive inner change she has undergone through the previous two countries. Liz quickly begins to help Ketut by transcribing his precious medicinal recipes from his tattered old book to new paper.
Whilst in Bali, Liz befriends a number of expats whom she meets through another dear character; healer Wayan – we’ll get to her now now.
It is through this group she meets her ultimate love interest, Felipe. Throughout the Bali chapters, we get to witness the formation of love between the pair, resulting in Liz breaking her vow of celibacy. Finally, the pair sail off into the sunset and actually got married.
But now back to Wayan. And I’ll tell you why I’m focusing on Wayan as my end summary, even though its not the ending of the book. Wayan is a local chemist of sorts and helps Liz out when she experiences an infection on her ankle.
Liz falls in love with Wayan, her daughter and the two adopted children Wayan took in; Ketut one and Ketut two.
I love this story because it just shows the generosity which is possible in peope. Wayan was a struggling single mother, who literally had nothing. Yet she couldn’t bare the thought of big Ketut and little Ketut – as they are nicknamed – being homeless. She then welcomes then into her tiny one bedroom one matress life where she and the four girls live. That just made my heart swell.
Then, further generosity appears when Liz decides to donate money to Wayan as her own birthday gift, to help the woman buy a home. This whole process is just so incredibly touching for me and kinda makes you want to go forth and be a good human.
What I Loved About This Book
Italy was by far my favourite chapter. Partly because I love food and mainly because I adore Europe. I could just picture every scene taking place in the beautiful surroundings of Rome. My goodness.
Furthermore I just loved the whole book as I feel like it really was a 360 take on recovery. Liz got her body right by eating and being generous to herself in Italy, she got her mind right by meditating and working through past wounds in India, and she got her spirit right by letting go in Bali.
What I Didn’t Love About This Book
India. One short word can sum it all up into one. I just didn’t gel with this section of the book. Probably because Elizabeth is such a phenomenal writer and made me feel the humidity, stifling heat and odd smells of the India chapter.
Perhaps I didn’t quite like this section because its where she actually does the most uncomfortable, spiritual work within herself, which made me uncomfortable. It made me uncomfortable because I knew this was something I, too, needed to do. And I knew this was something I, too, was not looking forward to in the slightest.
Ironically however, from my least favourite section came both my favourite character and favourite moment of the book.
“You’re wishin’ too much, baby. You gotta stop wearing your wishbone where your backbone oughtta be.” Richard From Texas.
Yup, I’ve used this quote on my Instagram before and I basically live by it now. Richard From Texas is by far my favourite character from the whole book. I just adore his bumper sticker way of speaking. Everything he says is a nugget of wisdom wrapped up in an easy to remember, at times dad joke humorous coating.
Furthermore, his story is just utterly mind blowing.
Next up, when Liz is overseeing the meditation group whom she is put in charge of, she slips into one of the deepest meditations of her life where she experiences a spiritual plane. That just blew my mind.
How This Book Affected My Life
So in totality, this book affected me quite deeply. Obviously a part of me wants to just be able to jet off to three glorious countries at a whim, who doesn’t? But furthermore, I loved how the book touched on real aspects of struggle and ho one woman overcame her personal lowest point.
All in all I find this an incredible story to be a part f and a bloody brilliant read at that.