Monday, June 11, 2007

book review: eat, pray, love

This book is shamefully overdue at the library (and heavily requested, which is why I couldn't renew or just re-request and wait a few days patiently), but the chaos of daily life did not allow for a zip through the pages of Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert, which has made quite the splash in the blogs I've been reading. Since, as of recent, I've been exploring a certain level of transformation, finding inner calm amongst the turbulence of daily life, this book was, in a sense, perfect to accompany me on my still spiritual journey. She uses the three I's: Italy, India, and Indonesia, as her places for change, and though I've done a bit of traveling (Boston in May, camping this month), I can't say movement is what pushes me through my own mental exploration.

Emily helped me figure out why her writing style disappointed me and excited others. Though I have a long way to go before I can truly say this, I am a poet. I am one who writes little pieces, things on scraps of paper, fleeting images. Gilbert writes, as Emily's friend called it, journalistically. I think (though I could be wrong) she meant it as a magazine-writer might mean it, but I think "journalistically" strikes me more correctly in that the book reminded me of reading a well written blog. Divided into 108 little sections, compact in their own right, this book felt like visiting 108 days worth of Elizabeth Gilbert's blogging. Perhaps this is a sign that I ought to take a blogging break, but for now, I am going to ride the creativity wave, as I am not sure if I would make up for the lack of writing and images here with writing and images in a tangible notebook.

This wasn't a disappointing read, and certainly a good book for those (women) who are seeking ways to explore the world and explore the self. I found myself actually wanting to meditate after reading some sections and wanting to muse on my own, to digest slowly, after reading other sections. I found some places speaking to me--the discussion of negative energy attracting negative things (which, I think, is more like--if you have a positive attitude, those negative things seem less strikingly painful--you tend to focus and tell stories of the good) and thoughts on living in a country for months simply to learn the language because you feel it is beautiful (Italy for her, and for me, I would go to France). Of course, the question so many posit: How could she afford to pack up and live somewhere else, essentially without a job beyond the one of writing this book? But she lived in New York City, so it can only make sense that there are ways in which that big city living can translate. And she managed to find a home to sublet, in a sense, for incredibly cheap, and I'm sure she wasn't just living out of Hilton Hotels (and, by the way, I am enamored with the new commercials featuring quiet music, and I have to admit I am going to go out and buy a Joshua Radin CD at some point in the near future because of it--and maybe Brett Dennen too--they got me).

In the end, yes, read this if you have spare moments, though I would not say put it on the top of your pile. Not a must-read, but a good read, and a very specific read that fits a niche.


Ringo said...

Hey! Well, I do have a lot of time, so maybe I'll pick it up, but I doubt it. If mom gets a horse this summer, you're going to have to come and ride!

sognatrice said...

I just started reading this book yesterday, and because of a couple train rides, I'm already 100+ pages in. Excellent observation on the bloggy style, and indeed, I think you've pinpointed one of the reasons why I'm enjoying it so much. I like the snippets in short chunks, perhaps because my attention span has been influenced by so much blog reading! Also, in this style, the book is probably accessible to a wider audience, which may or may not have been a consideration of the writer, editor, and/or publisher.

I'm not so much into the spiritual journey parts of the book yet (as far as I can tell!), as I'm still nodding along with her observations of experiencing Italy. Admittedly, this is another reason I like it so far--I can identify with a lot of it. I'm interested to see, though, how deeply she explores her feelings.

Stay tuned for my review ;)

GreenishLady said...

I'm glad to come across someone else who wasn't over-the-moon about this book. I'm not sorry I read it, and enjoyed the first two sections in particular, but the whole thing did leave me curiously unsatisfied, and what you have identified may have been part of it. So many other people raved about it, I thought it must have been me... but now I think maybe not.