I spent my weekend at the beach reading “Eat Pray Love” by Elizabeth Gilbert. I probably should have spent more time working on my own Italian studies rather than reading about some else studying Italian – I’m horribly behind in ANKI and had 1700 cards due yesterday morning and still have 1142 due this morning – so now I’m procrastinating just a little more by writing about the procrastination. It’s a vicious cycle. Back to the book. I put off reading it because although I am an avid traveler I don’t consider myself spiritual in anyway and I just couldn’t get past that word “Pray” in the middle of the title. But I got to thinking that that made me just as bad as the people who fault me because I don’t pray. So as a non-spiritual person, here is my take on the book.
I agree with the many people who have said that Elizabeth comes across as overly self-absorbed and dramatic. My first reaction, like many people, was, “get a grip and get over yourself”. But what is really wrong with a little drama? She is also most likely a great friend and a lot of fun to be with. Too often we judge people based on our own situation. We want people to be like us, think like us and live like us to validate our own life. We shut out those that are wired just a little bit differently and have chosen a different path. The truth is there are a lot of “right” paths out there, especially across cultures, some spiritual, some not. Each journey is a bit different and what I hope for anyone is that at the end of your life you look back on your years with joy rather than resentment or regret.
Yes, Elizabeth is an over-the-top personality and I think she needed an over-the-top experience to get her to the place where she could accept who she is and find the contentment she was looking for. As for the writing, I found parts of the book laugh-out-loud funny and insightful but other parts melodramatic and slow. In the end, however, it did get me thinking about certain aspects of my own journey and for that I’m happy to have read it.