As sceptical as I was about this, like many novels come- Hollywood blockbusters, this book pleasantly delighted me. Eat Pray Love is a word-of-mouth bestseller, and a celebrated account of one woman diving head first into indulgence, enlightenment and spirituality – it’s a grown up gap year.
At 34, writer Elizabeth Gilbert found herself in a life that she never expected to see herself living; an outwardly perfect scenario including a suburban home, loving husband and successful writing career. But instead of embracing this, Gilbert finds herself lost, consumed with confusion and questioning herself and the world that she is now a part of. After leaving her husband, Gilbert tells of her bitter divorce, a failed attempt at rebounding love and a bout of depression, before finding herself with a choice to make. The reader is then taken on Gilbert’s soul-searching journey, as she packs up with the advance for this novel, and heads for the rest of the world.
A year spilt between; the pursuit of pleasure in Italy, devotion and self-reflection in India, and the balance of everything in between in Indonesia. From native spiritual gurus and gelato, to an elderly medicine man and unexpected love, this eloquent and irresistible tale is self discovery at its best. Not a clichéd gap year of enthusiastic teenagers, which you may have come to expect, but a candid account of a woman who for the first time in her life is going at her own pace. Beautifully written by an author that you instinctively like, she writes of herself ‘my one mighty travel talent is I can make friends with anybody’. You believe her, and you believe in her, you want her to be your friend or your ‘tandem language exchange partner’.
Her honesty and ability to poke fun at herself, enables her to captivate even the most disbelieving of audiences. Gilbert ultimately goes through a place in her life, where many people may find themselves in one form or another. Hopefully not clouded with divorce and depression as hers is, but of finding out about themselves and what they put their belief in. For budding writers it is worth reading for the writing alone.
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