Elizabeth Gilbert’s well-received book, Eat, Pray, Love tells the story of the author’s own search for meaning in the world. Personal meaning, that is. In order to find it, she takes a year off from her very successful writing career (she’d have to be successful, wouldn’t she) to spend four months in each: Italy (for pleasure), India (for prayer) and Indonesia (for balance).
This book is huge- practically every woman alive will have read it- or plans to- and don’t let my cynicism dissuade you. Gilbert is a wonderful writer. It’s hard to sustain the perfectly pitched conversational tone her book does and not be a skilled craftsman, but…
But, here’s the thing. Lots of people wish they could stop their hectic, horrible, messy, complicated, screwed up lives in order to find their deeper purpose; in order to mend their broken hearts and psyches, in order examine their place in the world, their connection to the people with whom they share the planet…and their relationship with a higher power (God, in Gilbert’s case, although she says “I could just as easily use the words Jehovah, Allah, Shiva, Brahma, Vishnu or Zeus.”) Not everyone has the means. Plus, although Gilbert’s journey was preceded by a divorce, she has no children. Trust me, I’d love four child-free months in Italy, too.
That said, the book is so engaging that even though I didn’t internalize Gilbert’s search, I certainly enjoyed listening to her talk about hers.