Is it cliché that I love this book? Mid 30’s; Single; Female; Dreaming of having a sabbatical and travelling the world for a year without any inhibitions. Finding the love of my life in a beautiful tropical destination, synchronising perfectly with me finally finding myself. Yeah, it’s probably cliché. But I don’t care. Eat Pray Love by Elizabeth Gilbert is not a bestselling novel for nothing. Millions of people can’t be wrong.
It is actually a great book. Very well constructed. Delightful mini stories of wanderlust. It resonates with everyone who has been through a bad break up and has had to search for their spiritual side to help bring themselves out of it.
I think I like this book because it proves that there are people out there who have magical lives. I know a big basis of the book involves Elizabeth Gilbert talking about the pain and suffering she went through with her divorce and then her break up. How she couldn’t stop crying, couldn’t get herself off the floor, tried all the things that were ‘meant’ to help in a break up situation but didn’t work for her. But honestly, her life has been magical. She was very successful in her twenties and for a short period, was happily married. Her marriage evidently ended, but she was quick to find another boyfriend (who can do that…that never happens for me), and when that didn’t work out, she got a large advancement from her publishing company allowing her to travel the world for an entire year to help her find herself (and write a bestselling novel along the way). Nothing dull about that life.
Her three months in Italy would not have been cheap. She had enough money to live in Rome, rent, food etc to get through that with her main goal to learn the local language (and write a bestselling novel) which she did.
She then moved to India to connect with her mantra, her goddess, her guru and herself. Learning the art of eight hour long meditations and connecting to her spiritual side; her soul (and write a bestselling novel).
Finally, the beautiful island of Bali, where she met the love of her life in tropical paradise (and write a bestselling novel). A successful well established Brazilian who she will go on to marry and then live very happily ever after with the millions of dollars she made from said bestselling novel…..and this story isn’t fiction! This all actually happened.
My most favourite part of the novel is where she quotes herself as not being a good traveller (chapter 13). She describes herself as having a shaky sense of direction, tall blonde pinked skinned meaning she doesn’t blend in anywhere in the world and never undergoing any research on a destination before visiting. Here she is, strong, independent women of the world, international traveller multiple times over (travel writer in fact), and she is confessing that regardless of how much she enjoys herself…she is a terrible traveller.
I also love her casual writing style which makes you feel like she is just a good friend telling you the story of her international travels over a wine or two.
She had to be brave to pack up and leave for a year hoping that she would both be successful in the quest of finding herself, and the quest of writing that book. And she did, with the bonus of finding a husband at the end of the story. It seems too good to be true. But it is true and I think that is why we all love this book. She was a real woman who followed her dreams, took a plunge into the unknown and it worked. Her life has been one big magical journey and she has hoards of women who are envious in her wake, and yet cheering her on the whole way.
Although a fully funded year long sabbatical in three of the world’s most magical countries to help find yourself, is not an option for us all after a hideous break-up, Elizabeth Gilbert’s journey is still resonates with everyone. Her perfect Disney themed lifestyle was a real and not fictitious which has us all dreaming that maybe, just maybe, it could one day happen to all us mid thirties, single and female folk.