In the process of nursing an airport hangover this last summer, I found myself working my way through the largest mocha I could find and standing before a selection of books for sale in an airport shop. Many will recall that one of the movies that came out in August was Eat Pray Love, and yes, (gasp!) I mean the chick flick. What should I encounter upon those shelves? The book Eat Pray Love by Elizabeth Gilbert. In my defense, there wasn’t a great deal of variety, the Twilight books were overpriced, and I was tired and cranky; so I bought the book.
The narrative follows Gilbert as she paddles her way through a bog of problems that seem largely of her own making. The first third of the novel Gilbert spends her time complaining about her failed marriage, and yet does not give the reader a reason for why this occurred. Not knowing some of the real cause behind her decision to travel leaves the reader at a disadvantage. Instead of intelligent points on why her marriage did not work for her, she leaves us with no details and therefore makes it difficult for us to empathize with her heavy depression.
The travel portion of the novel in which Gilbert portrays Italy, India, and Indonesia is witty and charming and an inside look at not only what it is like to live abroad, but also cultural experiences that are generally missed when people visit a country for only a few days. Her trip to Italy focuses on food, her trip to India focuses on yoga and meditation, and her trip to Bali focuses on love.
If you can overlook what seems to be the unending whining, you’ll find Gilbert has the ability to transport her readers to far away places. Guys everywhere are probably groaning at the thought of this novel, and rightly so as it doesn’t seem to be aimed at men but at women. All in all, this one sided view of a divorce and the travels that ensue is what got me through my layover. :)