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The Statesman

The Student News Site of Stony Brook University

The Statesman


    Eat Pray Love

    Title: Eat Pray Love

    Author: Elizabeth Gilbert

    Publisher: The Penguin Group 2006 (334 pgs.)

    A woman in her thirties, writer Elizabeth Gilbert, is expected to follow the typical way of life — have a house, family and kids. When she experiences the tragic end of a marriage and goes through a never ending divorce, she falls into a deep depression. The way Gilbert picks herself off the ground and searches for pleasure, devotion and balance, while traveling in Italy, India and Indonesia is truly a remarkable life story.

    Elizabeth Gilbert finds herself on her bathroom floor sobbing in tears and praying to a God she is unfamiliar with for the first time. She knows she must get out of her marriage that is eating away at her life. After finding some strength, she files for a divorce and jumps into a rebound relationship. Her relationship falls apart when she becomes too attached and too insecure. Emotionally scarred, she puts her life in America on hold and spends a year in Italy, India and Indonesia.

    Eat Pray Love is an extremely powerful novel. Gilbert doesn’t just immediately let go of the feeling of depression to become content with her life. Her spiritual mind-healing process is gradual, but moving.

    In her trip to the beautiful country of Italy, she writes, ‘They come upon me all silent and menacing like Pinkerton Detectives, and they flank me — Depression on my left, Loneliness on my right. I know these guys very well. We’ve been playing a cat-and-mouse game for years now. Though I admit that I am surprised to meet them in this elegant Italian garden at dusk.’

    Gilbert’s issues are not so much with her love life unraveling, but with her inability to find her niche in life. She finds herself questioning her place in life and says, ‘What if, either by choice or reluctant necessity, you end up not participating in this comforting cycle of family and continuity? What if you step out? Where do you sit at the reunion?’

    After exploring all the pleasure and love of Italy, Gilbert moves on to India where her search for faith is found with the help of her Guru. She writes, ‘every religion in the world has had a subset of devotees who seek a direct, transcendent experience with God, excusing themselves from fundamentalist scriptural or dogmatic study in order to personally encounter the divine.’ Gilbert joins these individuals in meditating and finds compassion and an internal peace within her soul.

    In her final trip to Indonesia, Gilbert finds balance in her life. About Indonesia she writes, ‘Life here is a constant cycle of offerings and rituals. You must perform them all, in correct order and with the correct intention, or the entire universe will fall out of balance.’ During her search for balance, she realizes that she has already found it. Her life has naturally fallen into place. She remarks, ‘I can feel my own peace, and I love the swing of my days between easeful devotional practices and the pleasures of beautiful landscape, dear friends and good food.’

    Elizabeth Gilbert writes about her travels and her personal life with warmth and wit, allowing the reader to feel part of her growing experience. This intimate novel provides a firsthand account of the process of healing.

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