Sunday, June 7, 2015

Eat Pray Love

Title: Eat Pray Love
Author: Elizabeth Gilbert
Genre: Memoir
Published: 2006
Rating: 6.5/10

Review: I took a few days vacation and went to Seattle. I finished reading Ancillary Sword on my flight over there and needed something new to read. The apartment I rented had a bookshelf full of fiction, so on a whim I decided to pick up Eat Pray Love.

The only thing I knew about the book before starting was that there's a movie with Julia Roberts and that it's "empowering" women's fiction. Not my usual genre, but I was in the mood for something off the beaten path.

Overall, it was both more fun and less fun than I expected. The story is a memoir of a single woman (Elizabeth herself) living in Italy, India, and Indonesia for a year total and her experiences there. The story begins by catching up the reader on the writer's state of mind and relationship history. Her voice is pretty entertaining and I generally enjoyed her anecdotes. On the other hand, I didn't really find her particularly easy to relate to. She sees things so differently from me that rather than pull me into the book, her inner dialogue just sort of made me quizzically look at her psyche from the sidelines.

The Italy portion was pretty fun though -- descriptions of food made me totally hungry and wishing I was in Italy. I also really enjoyed her language acquisition stories and comparisons. This part of the book was probably my favorite.

The next part of the book describes Elizabeth's experience living in an Indian ashram, practicing yoga. I do yoga myself as an exercise activity, so I have a little bit insight into it, but I don't practice it as a worldview. This part of the book involves Elizabeth searching her soul, meditating, and singing a whole lot. From my view as a reader, it's a duller portion of the book, though there are some interesting tidbits here as well.

After India, Elizabeth ends up in Bali, studying with an old mystic there. Once again, not a whole lot happens, but at least she's mostly emotionally stable for this part of the book, which is pretty nice. There are also some characters in this part whom I enjoyed reading about. The mystic that she studies with is one of them -- he really colored this part of the book for me.

All in all, this was a reasonably interesting book to pick up randomly. Some fun anecdotes, but also pretty slow in parts. Eh.