Eat Pray Love By Elizabeth Gilbert – Not Just Another Chick Lit

So this is my first entry in Wilfrid’s blog.  Hope it is in line with Wilfrid’s overall blog theme and does not offend anybody, hehe …

I am reviewing “Eat Pray Love” because there is high probability that Wilfrid is not going to finish reading the book.  He bought the book to join a read-along and at that time I was reluctant to read the book as I thought it was just another chick lit which honestly I am not interested in (Shopaholic series, anyone?).  Was not interested in the movie, was not interested in the book.  However, one fine day, out of boredom, I picked the book up from the table, casually started reading the first page, and I got hooked!  Even the preface was interesting.  So I went on, surpassing Wilfrid’s bookmark.

The first part of the story – Italy – was interesting because it was the time she found God.  Her “encounter with God” was believable and it touched me deeply.  She found God said this to her during her loneliness and depression, “I’m here.  I love you.  I don’t care if you need to stay up crying all night long, I will stay with you. … There’s nothing you can ever do to lose my love.  I will protect you until you die, and after your death I will still protect you.” I shed a tear reading that paragraph because it reminded me how that love applies to me too.  To anyone of us.  (I do believe in God even though world-renowned-Nobel-winner scientists claimed that there is no space for God in this universe).  That paragraph was the most memorable part for me about Italy.  I am not really a foodie so can’t share much of her enthusiasm about Italian food.

The second part of the story – India – was even more captivating.  She continued her journey to deepen her spirituality, and she managed to tell her story without preaching how a certain religion is the best.  There are some references to yoga which I found entertaining as well, especially since I picked up yoga about a year ago.  I did enjoy reading India part the most, although there were tons of cliches in there.  For example, there was the “Instructions for Freedom”.   And Richard the Texan always sounded too preachy for me.  He sounded like someone who always had the right answer and a bit cocky about it.

However I respected her struggles to further her spiritual journey there – she managed to conquer her limitations in a realistic way, and I could see how she grew to be a more grounded, happier, and calmer person.  One amusing scene was how she hated a morning chanting ritual called Gurugita, tried all sort of ways to avoid it but in the end she was hell-bent to join the ritual and derived benefits out of it.  We could also see how she managed to finally meditate when initially she couldn’t even hold it for 2 minutes (who could?)

India was good for me.

The third part of the story – Indonesia – unfortunately fell flat.  It was an anti-climax after all the discoveries and growth she had made in the previous places.  I didn’t get anything out of this section – it was simply like reading someone’s letters of having a holiday in Bali.  Not to mention the “holiday” was 4 month long so it was a bit of an indulgence in my view.  The author did not really use this section to conclude the previous 2 sections, and on top of that it was not clear to me how she “pursued the balance between worldly enjoyment and divine transcendence”.  I admire her initiative to help the locals, but I expected more from her 4 month stay in Bali.  I stopped reading the book for a while because the book got a bit boring and there was only that many times I’d like to read how someone “had nothing to do in the island of paradise”.

All in all, it is a reasonably good book.  Wilfrid would agree that I am a picky reader (although not a sophisticated one), so it said something that I finished reading the book.  It is certainly not a chick lit (if we exclude the Bali part) and I did enjoy reading Elizabeth’s personal journey to be a happier person.

Footnote by Wilfrid: This entry is written by Cynthia and is published as it is.  This is a read-along and JoV and J have contributed there entries as well.

Feb 7 – Mar 7: Eat, Pray, Love Read Along!

Some of you might have heard or even joined us for the Midnight’s Children read along last year.  OK.  That was a bit intense.  To kick start a new year, we are doing something lighter, something more – I suppose – popular.  I have no idea what I have got myself into.  The ladies have chosen Elizabeth Gilbert’s “Eat, Pray, Love”.  I vaguely remember Alex, my buddy from Hong Kong, said to me one day: “You won’t believe me.  I am reading Eat, Pray, Love.”  Back then, I have no idea what so unbelievable about him reading “Eat, Pray, Love”.  Months later, when I finally got my hands onto the book, the book’s subtitle reads: One woman’s search for everything across Italy, India, and Indonesia.  OK.  I think I now have a clearer idea on why it is so incredible for a man to read this book.  Buy hey, I have always enjoyed reading materials written from a woman’s perspective – online and offline.  I have started reading “Eat, Pray, Love”.  The tone and rhyme of the author’s writing style appears to be agreeable.  I am eager to see what I can get out of this.

For those who have joined me for the previous read along, you should be familiar with Jo, a blogger from UK.  Jo’s friend, J from Canada, is joining us this time.  Feel free to pop by their websites to get a feel on how we are going to eat, pray, and love till March 7.  We have agreed that after reading the book, we will watch the movie too in order to gain a holistic experience.  By then, I could well be vividly entertained or totally horrified by how some women think.  We shall see.

Many asked: What is a read-along? It is a simple concept.  We read with a timeline in mind.  And we discuss online via blog posts and comments at the end of the read-along activity.  If you have a website or you are socially networked, feel free to spread the words.  You are welcome to post your thoughts in our websites.  Or link your post to ours.  This is free and easy exercise.  We do this for fun.  Jo’s post comes with book club discussion questions as well as questions and interview posted by Penguin Group.  Do pop by her site to take a look.  I often find it more fulfilling to read a book with the discussion questions planted in my head beforehand (think Shakespeare’s masterpieces).

OK.  Enough talking.  Lets do more reading.  Go grab your copy of “Eat, Pray, Love” today!

External Links: (1) Jo’s announcement post and (2) J’s announcement post