Why Read Eat, Pray, Love Now?
Eat, Pray, Love is a book I never wanted to read. I’ve no good reason other than, if everyone else was reading it then I was’t going to. Not very rational I’ll admit, but nonetheless that was my position. FYI: When the movie came out, I boycotted that too.
As the years went by, I was proud of myself when I could tell someone, “No, I’ve never read Eat, Pray, Love,” as if I was going for a place in the Guinness Book of Records. Yep, I held my ground… until last year… when I finally acquiesced and allowed myself to see the movie. My daughter was the only person I told, letting on that I thought she might enjoy it. She watched it. Later, we compared notes. Julia Roberts, who played Gilbert, was good and now my daughter wanted to go to Bali. I still refused to read the book.
It wasn’t until a year later when I began to work on my memoir project that I recognized, I had no choice – if I was going to write a memoir, I must read memoirs. It was time to let go and let Elizabeth Gilbert’s book, Eat, Pray, Love into my life.
It arrived on my doorstep the next day. But change wasn’t easy. I gave the book to my daughter to read first. What was holding me back? What did I have against Eat, Pray, Love? What did I have against Elizabeth Gilbert who was probably a very nice woman?
I interrogated my daughter: What do you think? Do you like the way she writes? Yes to both. I was internally delighted however, when she chose not to finish the book. She’d gotten as far as Bali and said, “I don’t think I need to read about Bali, I got what I needed from Italy and India.” Got what she needed?! What was happening?!
Gilbert’s book lay on the coffee table for a week. As if “it” knew what I was thinking “it” finally spoke: “Well?” I grabbed the darn thing and said to it, “Don’t get any ideas. I’m not prepared to like you. BUT. I will read you. Happy?”
I felt the book smile.
The next morning, I sat on a cozy chair and began reading Eat, Pray, Love for the very first time.
What you’ll now learn now is that Eat, Pray, Love has become my friend and my teacher. I know. It’s made me laugh, smile and reflect. My copy can only be compared to a two-year old’s well-worn and well-loved blankie. Though the pages aren’t frayed or filled with holes, they are dogeared and covered with pen marks, arrows and underlines.
It’s only fitting that I now share three of my favorite passages from the book with you (one from each section: Italy, India and Bali). For those of you have have read Eat, Pray, Love, I hope you’ll be happy to reflect on the author’s words once again. If there’s anyone still holding out – I feel you! But trust me, it’s time.
This description Gilbert gives of herself imaging what she might be like should she become “Crazy Aunt Liz” made me laugh out loud: “I had a sudden horrifying image of the woman I might become if I’m not careful: Crazy Aunt Liz. The divorcee in the muumuu with the dyed orange hair who doesn’t eat dairy but smokes menthols, who’s always just coming back from her astrology cruise or breaking up with her aroma-therapist boyfriend, who reads the Tarot cards of kindergarteners and says things like:, ‘Bring Aunty Liz another wine cooler, baby, and I’ll let you wear my mood ring…'”
The entire chapter forty-eight is raw and real, particularly the conversation between Richard from Texas and Gilbert who he calls, Groceries, on page 149. We’ll pick it up from here:
“… a true soul mate is a mirror, the person who shows you everything that’s holding you back, the person who brings you to your own attention so you can change your life… It’s over Groceries. David’s purpose was to shake you up, drive you out of that marriage that you needed to leave, tear apart your ego a little bit, show you your obstacles and addictions, break your heart open so new light could get in, make you so desperate and out of control that you had to transform your life, then introduce you to your spiritual master and beat it. That was his job, and he did great, but now it’s over.”
The passage I’d like to include most is in the very last chapter, but that wouldn’t be fair to you! And so, here’s one from Page 260. Gilbert’s Guru’s teaching about happiness: “Happiness is the consequence of personal effort. You fight for it, strive for it, insist upon it, and sometime even travel around the world looking for it. You have to participate relentlessly in the manifestations of your own blessings. And once you have achieved a state of happiness, you must never become lax about maintaining it, you must make a mighty effort to keep swimming upward into that happiness forever, to stay afloat on top of it. If you don’t, you will leak away your innate contentment.”
I think what you’ll come to find is that Eat, Pray, Love is a book worth reading. I don’t know why I didn’t want to like this book. I don’t know why I didn’t want to like Gilbert as a writer, she’s funny, smart, and honest. All I can say is now I do.
Some things are worth the wait.
You can get a copy of Eat, Pray, Love HERE.