Alright. So this is coming from, at first, a male, and second, a person whose loving mother advised him to go to college as far away as possible and experience as much of the world as I could. My mother also read 60 pages of “Eat Pray Love,” got upset, and gave the book up claiming that Liz was “too selfish” (which to be fair enough she repetitively admits throughout the book). It gave me a laugh this past weekend when she grudging exhaled after I told her which book was looming in my future. But to be fair, this book wasn’t my favorite. I mean to have to listen to this woman’s “whining” for 300+ pages (and I’ll have you know the margins of each page were precariously elongated) wasn’t exactly exhilarating. Okay, you miss David a lot. Okay, you can’t exactly figure out what you want to do with the rest of your life. Okay, you’re having a tough time meditating. GET OVER IT!
But I’d be lying to you if there weren’t aspects which I liked, found interesting, or tell you that I couldn’t find similar fears or ambitions within myself.
First of all, as an English and Writing Major, Elizabeth Gilbert is not the most technical or creative, but she is good and she her “voice” transcends from the pages so that the reader can easily agree and capitulate.
In most instances, she writes more from her mind’s eye so that we can see her thought process rather that precisely detailing what everybody or ever place looks like. I liked that. For example, all of chapter 42 is basically Liz talking to herself: Liz vs. her mind. It’s humorously, but deadly accurate, how she asks herself why she can’t completely concentrate on meditation, and then realizes how ridiculous it is that she is talking to herself; all the while she then re-realizes that she is getting nowhere and not meditating as usual.
Another aspect of this book, which I couldn’t help noticing was her writing. Yes, it is simple, but at times there nicely written phrases. As a “writing person” I enjoy reading with a pencil, underlying sentences which I like. For the most part, I really liked the latter part of this book, from the beginning, mainly because as we leave Italy, we start getting away from the material infatuations and start looking at the more spiritual, and inevitably more profound.
“I just want God. I want God inside me. I want God to play in my bloodstream the way sunlight amuses itself on water” (pg 176). Such sentences sort of make me like her more because I can see some semblance of an “art,” if you will, coming out of her from this adventure. As Liberal Arts majors, we constantly find ourselves reading literature about people trying to find their true calling or the “divine fire” within themselves. Ideally this is everybody’s main goal: to feel as though they are living by God’s intending purpose. In this context, I bite my tongue, but I kind of envy her travels.
For all her complaining and for all the “jists” of things which I felt were too over reiterated, I was intellectually appeased with the weaving of Gibert’s memories and different histories within her journeys. This was an aspect of her writings which allowed the readers to better get to know her, provided us with interest tid-bits of knowledge, and all-the-while splitting up her travels into a more complex, compelling, and non-linear story. For example, a personal memory flashback would be when she is in Italy and she recalls a moment talking with her mom; Liz had an epiphany when she realized her mom had the same problems she was currently having. There are a bunch of great historical fun facts spread intricately throughout such as the whole back-story of Swamiji, the original Guru who she never met but still disrupted her meditation. Liz gives facts about his struggles growing up.
Overall, I think I gained an appreciation for the trials Gilbert went through. Yea, she needed to go to these different places to find herself—to find her homeland. But I couldn’t help noticing that each place kind of tore down the freshly cemented walls which were built in the previous country. I can gather that she needed to experience each separately from one another to at the end use them, like puzzle pieces, to complete herself. Although the narration of the story at times were repetitive or annoying, Liz’s voice, appeasing sentences, and interweaving of flashbacks and historical facts made the story move along well.