Friday, June 19, 2009

Review: Eat, Pray, Love

Since I have been reading so much this year I thought that I would try and give reviews about some of the books. I don't know if I will review every book and I probably will just do it in random order. That's just how I roll. If there is a book on my "read" list that you're wondering about, leave a comment and I will try and review it.

I read Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert while I was traveling through Thailand. I have heard criticism of the book that the author is self centered and a lot of her choices are unrealistic. I can understand where these criticisms are coming from but I did find the book enjoyable. I think that the best part of the book was that so many of the experiences are dramatic and of course it's self centered- that was the whole point of taking a year to herself to travel, learn and reflect.

I think that this is the sort of book that will resonate differently with each person depending on what place they are at in their lives. The "eat" section takes place in Italy and focuses on the author letting go and allowing herself to do what she enjoys, guilt free. There are so many people I know (and I am sure that you know) that need to learn how to do this. Life is hard and stressful but what's the point if you are always fixated on that and not on the enjoyable things?

The next section, "pray", takes place in India. I have to say that I enjoyed this part of the book the least since it obviously had a lot to do with praying and religion. It was fascinating to learn some more about India since I am really interested in that country. It was also inspiring the great lengths Gilbert went to to discover her faith. There were numerous times when I was in Asia that I had the opportunity to do a temple stay and every time I avoided them like the plague. I like eating past noon, sleeping in comfortable beds and not having to bow hundreds of times. Good for her though.

The last section was by far my favorite. It really, really struck a chord and there were 3 major sections/quotes that resonated with me so deeply that I had to write them down so I could look at them again and again.

"Happiness is the consequence of personal effort. You fight for it, strive for it, insist upon it and sometimes even travel around the world looking for it."

"All the sorrow and trouble of the world is caused by unhappy people."

"In the end, though, maybe we all must give up trying to pay back the people in this world who sustain our lives. In the end, maybe it's wiser to surrender before the miraculous scope of human generosity and to just keep saying thank you, forever and sincerely, for as long as we have voices."

This section was called "love" but a huge part of it was about happiness and what really fulfills a person. Gilbert went to Bali, another place I'm really interested in traveling to, and found new friends and love. She spent time with a healer and helped change a family's life with her generosity. The story of how she raised money for a house for her friend (and how her friend tried to exploit her) was really fascinating. Especially considering how I was in the middle of travel and being out of my element. Having people asking for my time, language help, money and everything else and wondering if they were my friends because they liked me or because of what they could get from me. The point that was made was that this is how some people are able to survive- they get what they can. It doesn't make them bad people. It was food for thought for sure.

I liked this book and was a little surprised that I did. I can be a bit cynical at times but when it all boils down to it I recognized a part of myself in the author. A huge reason why I left Canada was in search of happiness. I wasn't happy in the lifestyle I was living before Korea and I felt like I wasn't accomplishing my goals. It was scary and people questioned my decision but in the end it was the best thing I ever did. You don't need to make a drastic and dramatic change but everyone could use a little boost of bravery and awareness.

I probably won't review every book this in depth. Haha.


Matty said...

Hmmm... Maybe I'll read it too.

It's not like I have a job to go to!

Stephie said...

I'm soo proud of you, Amber for being soo brave and travelling the world. If it wasnt for your bravery and inspiration I dont think I would have travelled where I have today. I look up to you so much.xoxo

ambearo said...

Well you'll have to find a copy- the one I read was borrowed from your mom and was left in Thailand.

Awww, thanks Stephie. xoxox

Carter said...

Oooh! I was afraid I would have to fight you when I saw that you reviewed this one!!! ;)

I don't know if you remember but I loved this book so much, but, like you said, it's all about where you are in your life.

We must discuss more. :)

ambearo said...

What did you think of the situation with buying her friend a house? I'm curious. What was your favorite part?

Anonymous said...

Well, you really hit the nail on the head about the "where you are in your life" observation. I really loved the Bali part but it was because I wanted to find a medicine man like that guy.

The house thing... you were much more open-minded and compassionate than I was.

Bybee said...

I've had this on my TBR for a year and a half now, but keep shying away from it. I liked her book The Last American Man, but hated the way she kept inserting herself into it.

ambearo said...

Hmm, that's interesting Susan. Maybe others who gave this book a bad review had read her other books. She clearly is a self involved person but with this book it works since she is writing about her life. ^^ It's a quick and easy read!