Okay, I finished Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert on July 31 and the New Classics Challenge doesn’t officially begin until August 1, but I’m counting it!
As I’ve mentioned before, I saw Elizabeth Gilbert on Oprah and after hearing her on there, I decided I wanted to read her book. It took me awhile to finally get it and read it. Since the Oprah show, I’ve heard mixed reviews about the book. One woman I know said she didn’t see what all the hype was about. Another woman, who tried to listen to it on CD, just gave up on it. Nevertheless, I went with my first reaction to hearing about the book and read it (especially after I saw it on the New Classics list).
Now, for my reaction. I would say it’s mixed. The book is Elizabeth’s year-long search for happiness after her messy divorce. The book is split into three parts: 1. Italy; 2. India; 3. Indonesia. Each of these sections are divided into 36 sections (which has some significance to the author).
The first part of the book, Italy, I truly enjoyed. I liked the author’s writing style. She writes like I’m assuming she talks. Reading it was like listening to her talk. There are some witty lines and I love her descriptions of the Italian language. I loved her description of the crowd at a soccer match in Italy. I also think she does a wonderful job describing depression. I’ve never read such a good description of depression (from my perspective of having suffered through depression myself). I also related to her mixed feelings concerning mood medications, which I share. It was this section of the book where I could really relate to Elizabeth and I was truly rooting for her.
Then, Elizabeth heads to India to “find” God through mediation and living at an ashram studying under her guru. During this period, Elizabeth continues to struggle with her feelings and also struggles with the mediations and yoga. She meets lots of interesting characters (this saved this section for me). This is the section in which I could no longer relate to Elizabeth. And, her writing style actually started to grate on me here. She tended to find a metaphor for everything (and I mean everything). And, she would take these metaphors a lot further than was useful. Does beating a dead horse mean anything? It became annoying and seemed to take away from her story.
Finally, Elizabeth heads to Indonesia where she wants to learn balance between passion/enjoyment and prayer. I started to relate a little better again. It seemed liked Elizabeth came back to reality, sort of. I enjoyed “meeting” the people she met there and reading about how she did find some balance. Nevertheless, the metaphors did continue.
Overall, I’m not sure I would recommend this book. I would definitley recommend the first section for any depression sufferers, especially those who seem to, on the outside, “have it all” and still suffer. After that, I would skip the second section and maybe finish up with the third for the happy ending.
So, book 1 down for the challenge! Next up, The Glass Castle by Jeannette Walls.