Sunday, December 16, 2007

Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert

In the world of thumbs up, thumbs down, this gets a thumbs up.

Elizabeth Gilbert writes of her quest in the aftermath of a difficult divorce to find the balance between devotion and pleasure by traveling through Italy, India and Indonesia for a year.

It wasn't so much that I wanted to thoroughly explore the countries themselves; this had been done. It was more that I wanted to thoroughly explore one aspect of myself set against the backdrop of each country, in a place that has traditionally done that one thing very well. I wanted to explore the art of pleasure in Italy, the art of devotion in India and, in Indonesia, the art of balancing the two.

While I found the author annoyingly self-indulgent at times and while I couldn't really relate to her whole spiritual quest, I did find her voice candid and her observations witty. For the most part, I enjoyed tagging along with her on her journey as she explored her chosen environs and herself.

I did relate to what she had to say about happiness:

Happiness is a consequence of personal effort. You fight for it, strive for it, insist upon it, and sometimes 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.

Gilbert's willingness to forthrightly share her quest with the reader (the price of admission for her remarkable year abroad) results in an engaging tome.


Susan said...

I did want to take a year and spend it like this. I liked some of the people she met like the guy from Texas better than Gilbert herself.

Susan said...

I do agree with what she says about happiness.