ByÂ Parvathi Jayakumar:
Eat Pray Love is break-up therapy, travelogue and a soul-stirring memoir all rolled into one by American author Elizabeth (Liz) Gilbert. The book is the true life account of a year in the author’s life when she emerges from a devastating marriage, followed by a passionate love affair which goes up in smoke, followed by her decision to embark on a quest to put together her broken self by travelling to 3 different places: Italy, India and Indonesia.
1. Candid account of her heartbreak and how she overcame the same
The book puts forth a heart wrenching image of the pain, agony and depression suffered by Liz. It connects with a million readers who have been through the same angst of a soul-shattering heartbreak, moves them to tears, makes them empathize with her and ultimately inspires people to come out stronger from their experience. She beautifully narrates the mental effort, the hard work and the time that she takes to pull herself together and tells the reader there is still hope. She encourages people to believe that there is always a happy, ‘riding into the sunset together’ ending for every story. And this connection that she developed with the readers through her narration is the reason why the book remained on The New York Times Bestseller List for 187 weeks straight!
2. Spirituality cast in a whole new light
Her extremely compelling and engaging description of the spirituality that she finds in an Indian ashram would move even the most cynical of readers to pause and ponder over the same. Also, for the uninitiated, she has sublimely presented the idea of Rudraksha mala of 108 prayer beads. Her intelligence is displayed by the fact that while talking of spirituality; she takes into account atheism as well and comes to terms with its arguments. Also, she has given a clear insight into the gruelling meditation practices and yogic kriyas undertaken by the practitioners to attain Nirvana or the transcendent state.
3. A travelogue to reckon with
Liz has done justice to all the three places she has visited, in her account. Starting from Italy, where she takes the reader through mozzarella cheese, delectable pizzas, romantic avenues and some fluent Italian, she smoothly rolls over to India where ashrams and asceticism rule the roost and then flies over to Indonesia whose herbs, strange but warm people and natural beauty charm the reader into falling headfirst for them.
4. The prose has a charm of its own
Her writing is wry, humorous, intelligent and self-deprecating, all in the right proportions! Not once does she lose the beat, miss the connection with the reader or fail to engage them. The reader sees, feels and enjoys her day-dreams, walks along with her as she fantasizes about the 25-year-old cute Italian male sitting across from her, pities her guilt when she gobbles down pizzas and feels her waist swell, sympathizes with her struggle when she tries to attain the transcendent state and ultimately have butterflies in their tummies as she finds some good natured, sexy love in the heart of Bali.
5. Riveting and intriguing characters
Since this is a real life account, all the people that she has described in the book are also real people and hence easier to feel admiration for. Every character, starting from Giovanni to Richard to Ketut Liyer, is in a different league, brings something new to the table from their myriad life experiences and prompts the reader to think in one or the other way through their wise and witty dialogues. These characters move the reader to put aside their conventional train of thought and embrace the variety of life.
Highly recommended for those who have suffered heartbreak, and for those who haven’t!