Eat Pray loveTitle : Eat Pray Love : One Woman’s Search For Everything Across Italy, India and Indonesia

Author : Elizabeth Gilbert

ISBN-10: 1594132666

ISBN-13 : 978-1594132667

Paperback : 631 pages

The Plot :

Elizabeth Gilbert’s Eat Pray Love is a cross between a memoir and a travelogue. It takes you through a journey across 3 different countries, enjoying something different, each of them has to offer.

The story starts with Elizabeth Gilbert (‘Liz’) going through a horrible break up with the love of her life soon after ending her marriage. This leaves Liz emotionally drained and in a very bad place emotionally. She blames herself for the ending of both the relationships in quick succession. Liz is a travel writer and enjoys her job as she is a wanderlust. Just as things become too difficult to deal with, she decides to take a yearlong trip across 3 different countries to recuperate emotionally. The book is divided into three sections, each talking about the four months spent in a different country.

The first section starts with Italy. Here Liz goes to explore the pleasures of life (mainly of the victual kind), hence the ‘Eat’ in the title. She makes new friends and learns ‘Il bel far nientemeaning the beauty of doing nothing. Meanwhile learning and perfecting her Italian which was one of her goals. Here she finds her past haunting her and she tries to deal with it the best way she can. She makes interesting friends who introduce her to exquisite food and good stable relationships. After her 4 month stint in Italy she has a farewell feast with her friends, shows off her Italian skills, and moves on to the next leg of her journey.

In the second section Liz finds herself in an Ashram in India. Here she has come looking for the spiritual side of life, hence the ‘Pray’ in the title. She comes looking for a Guru to help her navigate a path to spiritual learning. She doesn’t get to meet the guru but does find her way spiritually. In the process she makes some new friends and they help her let go of the guilt and the past and move on to newer things.

Finally, she goes to Bali, Indonesia, looking to strike a balance between ‘Pleasures of Life’ and ‘Spirituality’. Here she manages to finally find love that is different from the past, and so the ‘Love’ in the title. Here she meets the old ninth-generation medicine man ‘Ketut’ who had predicted that she would come live with him for an extended period, during one of her previous travels. She again makes some new friends and helps them with simple things. She helps Ketut preserve his knowledge in the form of books and helps a single mother and her daughter build their dream house. In the course of all this she learns to deal with her own issues and lands up helping herself. She also falls in love with a Brazilian businessman and things seem good.

What I loved the most about the book was its simplicity. No one wants to be totally hedonistic neither does one want to be an ascetic. This book talks about the search for that balance and that is the central theme of the book. Don’t look to the book for any life altering solutions to live a better life or tips on being happy because you will be sorely disappointed. All the book does is tells you the story of a woman and how she took a break from her life for a year and gave herself the time to heal emotionally. In short it is a journey of self-discovery. It is well written for the most part but it does get slow at times. Overall a good read!


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