Eat, Pray, Love
A classic in its own right, I think "Eat, Pray, Love" is a suitable book if you going through a break up, like Italian food, or are starting your spiritual journey and would like to know what it is like to go on retreat (without the expense!). Yes, there are parts that come across self indulgent, but there are also points of great comfort and wisdom. Elizabeth is a likeable person, but to me, the best lines come from Richard, an upbeat, down-to-earth American Elizabeth meets in India- “People think a soul mate is your perfect fit, and that's what everyone wants. But a true soul mate is a mirror, the person who shows you everything that is holding you back, the person who brings you to your own attention so you can change your life”.
The book follows Elizabeth Gilbert as she ‘"eats, prays and love’s’" through her divorce. , I like the fact that Elizabeth writes candidly about her life experience and how she deals with the humanness of growing older, being true to yourself and love. I also like the fact that Elizabeth spoke candidly about the difficulties around meditation – sitting in silence watching your breathing sounds easy, but I found even two minutes hard at first, so its welcoming to have a down-to-earth companion on my journey.
Personally, I wasn’t so keen of third part of the book after she meets David and falls in love. It just seemed cliché and right back to the old narrative of "woman needs a man to complete her". In my view, it would have been a stronger story to be able to finish her trip and get back to her old life alone AND then find someone if she so wishes- however I appreciate life doesn’t work to plan! The part about Elizabeth buying her friend a house also seemed a bit like over-kill in my eyes, so I tend to read the first two sections of the book and then put the book back on the shelf for the final third.
Overall, a comforting read in times of stress and I would (and have) recommend this to friends when they are going through hard times. The book offers occasional nuggets of wisdom, but nothing earth shattering in my opinion.