It’s been a hot second since I did a media review. That is not an indication that I haven’t been reading – okay, mostly listening – to books this year. Six months into 2019, I have finished 10-11 books, plus started an e-book to help me learn Italian (the irony in this statement will be revealed soon. Now that I am well on my way to checking off my 2019 reading list. While not technically on my 2019 list, I just finished reading an incredible book by Elizabeth Gilbert + I had to share my Eat, Pray, Love review with you.
If you’ve been reading my posts or following me for a while, you know I love a story with a strong female lead – even of she doesn’t start out that way. Reading about one woman’s journey from despair to self-assurance is enough to inspire us all to make changes in our lives to be the person we want to be, no matter how scary. It doesn’t hurt that this story has a happy ending worthy of getting a literal Julia Roberts rom-com. Below, I dive into the “plot” of this book + the effect it had on me.
Eat, Pray, Love Review
For those of you who haven’t seen the movie, here is a quick rundown of the book. New York author, Elizabeth goes through a rough divorce + then tough break up. Seeking some enlightenment + space from the past few years, she embarks on a yearlong journey. She starts in Italy where she hopes to become fluent in Italian + seek to find pleasure in her life again. After four months, she heads to India to study at the ashram of her guru. Here she meets interesting people + makes a deeper connection with the universe. Fast forward a few more months + she moves to the Indonesia island of Bali where she hangs out with an old medicine man, a healer, and some interesting, international ex-pats. Along the way, she finds herself + love.
One of the things that struck me the most about this book is her courage. Not necessarily her courage to travel across the world with a very loose plan, but her courage to change her situation. Gilbert was in a perfectly fine marriage to a perfectly fine man. However, she eventually came to the realization she wasn’t happy. And not in a temporary way that can pass or be solved with a few changes. She knew that her life would not be fulfilling on that trajectory, so she took several deep breaths + made the change. And it wasn’t as if the journey was easy. It was super hard, but she never gave up + came through the other side lighter + with a desire to become whole within herself.
Lessons from Eat, Pray, Love
She allowed herself to feel. I think society today is so quick to shove down our feelings with distractions + vices. We don’t process our emotions properly which leads to problems. More than that, however, a lesson I took from this book is to allow yourself to feel, but then to also take action on those feelings. Do what you have to do to reclaim your life + your joy. If your feelings are within circumstances you can change, do it. On the flip side, don’t be so afraid that once things are good, the bottom will drop out. Life is like a current with ups and downs, but hopefully, in the end, it balanced out.
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. 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.
Gilbert is a big proponent of meditation + positive thoughts. This lines up well with the Start Today Journal process by Rachel Hollis that I strive to follow. Meditation, positive affirmations, and hard work all help manifest your dreams + your happiness. Do things that help you reach your goals + that make you happy.
The sole reason Gilbert learns Italian is because she wants to. She doesn’t learn French for work or Spanish because it’s useful. She takes up Italian because she can + she likes the way it sounds. I think that is a great example of what the book is about. Learning Italian wasn’t easy but it was a dream she wanted to achieve so she did it.
This is certainly not the best or most thorough Eat, Pray, Love review in existence, but I promise you, if you pick up the book, you will not regret it! Once I finish her other books (Committed + Big Magic) what should I read?