Eat Pray Love By Elizabeth Gilbert
So Sofie and I have come to Pizzeria da Michele, and these pies we have just ordered—one for each of us—are making us lose our minds. I love my pizza so much, in fact, that I have come to believe in my delirium that my pizza might actually love me, in return…
Like all great philosophical ideas, this one is simple to understand but virtually impossible to imbibe. OK—so we are all one, and divinity abides within us equally. No problem. Understood. But now try living from that place…
But I was always coming here. I thought about one of my favorite Sufi poems, which says that God long ago drew a circle in the sand exactly around the spot where you are standing right now. I was never not coming here. This was never not going to happen.
See, this is why I love Penguin Books: because they print books like this. There are so many reasons to love this book that I can’t even think where to start. Elizabeth Gilbert in an Italian café, wishing an Italian friend would kiss her. This is as good a place as any, since at its heart, this book is basically about a woman who has a passion for travel and an infatuation with life—or is it the other way around?
In the introduction, Gilbert explains that her book is made of 108 short episodes, divided into three sections containing 36 stories each, all of which were written in her 36th year. The quotes above include one quote from each section, starting with Italy, the next from India, and the next from Indonesia.
Now, I don’t consider myself an excessively superstitious person, or even overly obsessive-compulsive, but I have to admit there is something reassuring about a logical structure based on a number that is held to be sacred (or at least very important) by at least two world religions. And it’s my favorite number, so that counts (har har) for something, I guess.
So I was already sold by page two. But then Gilbert talks about how she got to Italy—the divorce, the depression, the affair, the yearning to speak a language that makes her feel sexy again. And, in addition, how she has chosen three countries (Italy, India, and Indonesia) to help her regain her sense of who she is and how she should be living her life.
It’s clear that Gilbert has found out who she is—her voice is not only strong and clear throughout, but amazingly likeable. Even though she obviously has some extensive financial resources, judging by her ability to take a year off and travel, she never name-drops about her employment or gives off the tiniest air or superiority.
The book reads like your friend Liz invited you over for a cup of coffee and you two had a conversation about some amazing things she did. Never preachy, always enjoyable, and often life-altering, this is one of the few books I know will go with me wherever I end up.