Have you ever wanted to put your life on pause and travel the world around the world for a year? Elizabeth Gilbert does just this in her New York Times Bestseller Eat, Pray, Love. Although I have never traveled the world, I once experienced my own escape from reality. During the summer before my junior year in high school, I quit everything to go live in Ocean City, New Jersey with my mom. I quit my travel basketball team, my high school basketball team, and my job. Many people viewed my decision as selfish and irresponsible.
I believe some people need to spend time getting to know themselves before they can establish a relationship with other people and that’s what I was focused on doing. Gilbert shows how letting go of everything and starting over can have a very positive effect on one’s life. Eat, Pray, Love is a spiritual memoir that takes the reader all around the world. Gilbert traveled to India, Italy, and Indonesia; spending four months in each country. At age 31 she experienced a treacherous divorce, which was followed by a love affair. She starts off her journey in the country of Italy.
During her trip in Italy, she focuses on their culture’s food and embraces the delightfulness one can receive from food. While in Rome she meets a man named Luca Spaghetti who helps her learn how to relax and how to enjoy doing nothing. They become very close and share many meals together. The meal that seems to be the most significant to both of them is on Luca’s birthday. His birthday falls on America’s Thanksgiving Day and he wanted to experience the true, big, American roasted turkey. Although they never ended up successfully making the turkey, they enjoyed the time that they spent together.
Gilbert’s next adventure proceeded to the country of India. India is a country that highly practices meditation and contemplation. Gilbert refers to India as the City of self-reflection because she practices the trait self-restraint which can show how strong of a person one is. She wanted to further her knowledge on the form of prayer that different religions practice. The final part of the book takes place in Indonesia or as many like to call it the City of Love. Throughout the book, Gilbert tries to remain without love but an unexpected man comes into her life and everything seems to change from there.
Gilbert uses four very obvious criteria throughout her book, which are to eat, pray, love, and self-revelation. The pleasure of eating is recognized all over the world. From Italy’s homemade pizza to America’s juicy hamburgers, people use eating to gather together and indulge in delicious cuisine. Many TV shows, books, magazines, and articles talk about the enjoyment one receives from eating. The food network is a perfect example of a TV network that focuses solely on food and the pleasures one receives from it.
Diners, Drive-Ins, & Dives is a show on the food network where the host, Guy Fieri, travels around the United States to local diners and drive-ins to taste their most popular dishes. Each episode seems to have a theme that it sticks to such as burgers, fish, comfort food, hot dogs, or steak sandwiches. Guy Fieri always makes sure that he shows the viewers the great deal of enjoyment he is receiving from trying all the different foods. While traveling throughout the country of Italy, Elizabeth Gilbert had the opportunity to taste many different types of cuisine in each city.
By the end of her four-month travel in Italy, she gained 23 pounds; now that’s a lot of eating. Her meal that sounded the most appetizing was one that she experienced with her sister Catherine in Rome. They decided to have a picnic which consisted of two big softball-sized rolls of bread, spicy sausage, pickled sardines wrapped around meaty green olives, a mushroom pate that tasted like a forest, balls of smoked mozzarella, peppered and grilled arugula, cherry tomatoes, pecorino cheese, mineral water and a split of cold white wine. For a picnic lunch, that sounds pretty gourmet.
The way Gilbert describes the food makes one want it even more. “Thin, doughy, strong, gummy, yummy, chewy, salty pizza paradise. On top there is a sweet tomato sauce that foams up all bubbly and creamy when it melts the fresh buffalo mozzarella, and the one sprig of basil in the middle of the whole deal somehow infuses the entire pizza with herbal radiance, much the same way one shimmering movie star in the middle of a party brings a contact high of glamour to everyone around her” (80). To be able to compare a piece of margherita pizza to a movie star shows how delicious the food was that she encountered in Naples, Italy.
Along with the pleasure of eating, Gilbert also receives happiness from Prayer. Prayer and meditation are methods used by many people to find relaxation. Prayer is the act of worshiping and meditation is deep, continued thought that is used for reflection. Dead Man Walking is a non-fictional movie where Sister Helen helps a man named Sean find himself through prayer. He committed the murder of two teenagers and was waiting on death row for six years. Sister Helen used prayer to help Sean convert to a Christian and find forgiveness in God before he received the death penalty.
Sean changed dramatically through this period and became a different man because of prayer. Although in the end of the film Sean still received the death penalty, he found himself to be a better person. Elizabeth Gilbert traveled to India to experience a strong form of prayer, yoga, and meditation. She experienced a very hard time when it came to meditating. She continuously found herself wondering about her divorce and the pain she experienced in the marriage. Eventually she stops denying these thoughts and approaches them. She realizes that she has to dismiss these thoughts in order to move on with her life.
This helped her remove the negative things in her life and helped her find her true self so she could start over with a happy life. During her time in India, one of her yoga instructors asked her, Why do we practice yoga? The response to this question could be different for everyone. Gilbert’s response was, “But Yoga can also mean trying to find God through meditation, through scholarly study, through the practice of silence, through devotional service or through mantra” (223). Her purpose to yoga was not only to relax, but also to find God through the silence and mediation.
To find love is one of the most difficult things to do in life. Sometimes love can stumble right upon you or be something that has developed over many years of dating. Most people stress everyday about the complications you encounter when trying to find the perfect soul mate. Dating is comparable to a trial and error process that goes on until you find the right person for you. Love is something that is very hard to put into words because how can you define love? There is no true way to define love because love can be different in everyone’s eyes. The perfect example of unexpected love is in the movie Nights in Rodanthe.
Adrienne was going through a rough divorce and decided to watch her best friend’s bed and breakfast in North Carolina for a weekend to get her mind off of things. During that weekend there was only one guest, Paul. Paul was in North Carolina because he was getting sued for a mistake he made while performing an everyday surgery and he wanted to visit the family of his deceased patient to show them that he cared and that it was not intentional. While they were at the beach house a terrifying storm broke out and Paul and Adrienne were forced to spend time together because of the bad weather.
They ended up becoming very close and falling insanely in love with each other. During the movie Paul and Adrienne show true love for each other and show how love can stumble upon you while you are least expecting it. Gilbert also finds a love similar to this during her travels to India. Gilbert’s purpose of traveling to India was not to find love. She was getting over a very hard divorce and did not want to jump into something right away. Throughout the memoir she emphasizes how no matter how much lust she indulges in, she will practice self-restraint and not have any sexual relations with any men.
Although she wasn’t planning on finding love, she definitely did find it in Felipe. Felipe stumbled upon her unexpectedly like the couple in Nights in Rodanthe. At first it started off as a couple dates, but then she found herself falling for him. In the book she asks herself, “Am I really falling for a man who is fifty two years old? ” (223). She was very surprised that she could find love in someone who is that old. Although things were going good between the two of them, Elizabeth had a hard time admitting her true feelings for him and breaking her plea of celibacy for him.
After a year and a half she finally gives into him and everything from there is perfect. They decide they want to move into together and they decide to build a life together that’s divided between America, Australia, Brazil and Bali because that is in-between Elizabeth’s home country, Felipe’s kids, Felipe’s family, and where Felipe’s kids reside. A self-revelation is a change of one’s thoughts or emotions, intentionally or unintentionally. Many people believe that self-revelations have to deal with finding God, but that is not the case.
The movie Into the Wild, presents a character named Christopher who experienced a true self-revelation. He was a son any parent would have wished and hoped for. He graduated from a high-ranked University at the top of his class and was an outstanding athlete. In the movie Chris says, “ I read somewhere of how important it is in life not necessarily to be strong, but to feel strong. To measure yourself at least once. ” He took this quote to heart and after college decided to go on a two-year wilderness adventure to Alaska, he wanted to find himself and to feel strong.
Chris decided to give up his $24,000 savings account money to charity and begin his journey. During his adventure he started to appreciate the world around him, reflect on his life, and experience a form of self-discovery. He did many activities while on his adventuring including kayaking down the Colorado River into Mexico. Unfortunately, by the time he arrived in Alaska, he ended up eating a poisonous berry and died from starvation because he could not eat because of the poisoning. Elisabeth Gilbert takes each one of elements of writing and incorporates them into her memoir.
Elisabeth Gilbert experiences a true self-revelation while traveling around the world. Before she decided to go travel, she was experiencing a very terrible marriage. “ I had finally noticed that I seemed to have reached a state of hopeless and life-threatening despair” (15). She slowly found herself become more and more depressed in her everyday life. One day she decided she was going to do something about it and get a divorce, she was tired of being unhappy and feeling lonely. After her divorce is when she decided that she wanted to travel around the world to become a happy person again.
Eating, praying, and love were presented to her throughout these countries and made her a more positive and happy person. She finally got over her divorce and met a man that she would soon spend the rest of her life with. Eat, Pray, Love is a book that I would not recommend to anyone. I found the book to be very boring and not interesting at all. As I was reading the book I found myself multiple times asking the questioning, Is it done yet? Her stories are very boring and would not interest anybody who likes exciting, action-packed books.
Eat, Pray, Love would be more suitable for an audience of adults, rather than young adults because I find it hard to relate to the book directly. I found the author to be very selfish in her writing because she never once wondered how the man she left was doing, all she worried about was going on a magnificent trip. First she had a love affair after the divorce and then she started to travel the world, does not sound like a rough time to me. I would give this book two out of five stars, and that’s pushing it.