Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Book review: Eat pray love

My brother sent me a copy of 'Eat Pray Love' on my birthday and I was like "No.......! I read that more than a year ago." But how would he know? Well, agar maine blog par uska review likh diya hota to... khabar yoon hi pahunch jaati.

So, for all those of you who may be thinking of buying me a book :) or well, looking for a good book to read, here are some of my favourites reads over the past one year.

Each book probably deserves a dedicated blogpost but I shall be less ambitious and give you mini-reviews instead.

1) Eat Pray Love: I fell in love with the cover of this book and ten minutes into it, with the book itself. The writer - Elizabeth Gilbert - is obviously very 'pahunchi hui' - both in the way she writes and the way she's lived her life.

In a nutshell: Elizabeth is a thirty something woman with an almost perfect life. But on a cold November morning she finds herself sobbing on her bathroom floor and hearing a voice in her head:"I don't want to be married anymore. I don't want to live in this big house. I don't want to have a baby."

And so she walks out on the husband and the apartment in Manhattan with 8 phone lines, the friends and the picinics and the parties.

"I had actively participated in every moment of the creation of this life - so why did I feel like none of it resembled me?"... The only thing more unthinkable than leaving was staying; the only thing more impossible than staying was leaving...

But then, God spoke to Liz. And it was not an Old Testament Hollywood Charlton Heston voice but her own voice, speaking from within. A voice she had never heard before.

"This was what my voice would sound like if I'd only ever experienced love and certainty in my life". The voice said:"Go back to bed, Liz"... Go back to bed so that, when the tempest comes you'll be strong enough to deal with it. And the tempest is coming very soon. But not tonight.

The author describes this as the beginning of a religious conversation:

"The first words of an open and exploratory dialogue that would, ultimately, bring me very close to God, indeed."

Three years after this conversation, having been through a messy divorce and failed love affair, Liz sets off on her 'search for everything' across Italy, India and Indonesia.

It's important to quote the 'religious conversation' bit, because although the book follows Elizabeth's journey across three countries it's not a travelogue. This is essentially a journey within.

The Italy portion is about the pursuit of pleasure - good food, good wine, good company. Because the body needs as much nourishment as the soul.

The India portion is about the pursuit of devotion - self mastery, enlightenment, all those very Himalayan things.

And Indonesia is about the pursuit of Balance. It's also the most "geewhiz, can this really be true" part of the book where Liz finds the love of her life. (Incidentally, the two are now 'happily married').

Okay. You either absolutely and completely connect with this book, or you put it down after 5 minutes. Women, those on a spiritual trip and anyone who admires ease of expression will find 'Eat Pray Love' unputdownable.

And despite that 'God' element rest assured it is not in the least bit heavy. This is a very simply and beautifully written book with extremely tiny chapters (108 of them). The logic being that 108 is the number of beads in the traditional japa mala. Concept, isn't it?

The author also endows the book with a sharp sense of humour, pithy cultural observations and loads of colourful characters. Starting from the Italian twins Giovanni and Dario to 'Richard from Texas' and Ketut Liyer - the Balinese healer.

And yet, the string running through it all is scathing self introspection and constant 'notes to myself'. A chick-lit version of 'My experiments with truth'!

One final selling point - reading the innermost thoughts and reflections of another human being is always comforting. Because you realise - "I am not alone".

Whether we will find 'Felipe' in this lifetime or not - is another story.

Coming soon: more reviews of books I've read recently and loved. Mini review likhte likhte full blog hi ho gaya... Must do justice after all :)

Related reads: Eat Pray Love fan blog

Elizabeth Gilbert's official website

An interesting bit if trivia:
Elizabeth Gilbert's GQ memoir about her bartending years became the movie Coyote Ugly. And Eat Pray Love is also being made into a major motion picture - with Julia Roberts in the lead role!


  1. Good one.

    A suggestion for a book. Have you considered reading "A Secular Agenda" by Arun Shourie?

    He is the same guy you liked writing about after the Mumbai attack because he was so methodical and reasonable in his approach.

    Try it.

  2. Did not enjoy the book....was super hyped in the US....will wait for the movie tho.

  3. Is this book available at Crosswords or some other bookstores in India?

  4. Jack, I do find Arun Shourie's ideas interesting and research solid but the AMOUNT he writes I cannot digest. The term for it is 'prolix'. My dad has a bunch of books by him and I cannot, simply cannot get myself to read them!

  5. Ya I agree, the AMOUNT can be an issue (happens if the content requires serious scrutiny/research).

    Arun Shourie's book "Eminent Historians" is only 250 pages or so.

    Another book "Only Fatherland : Communists, 'Quit India,' and the Soviet Union" is hardly 200 pages.

    Both worth reading.

  6. buOh..I couldn't agree with you more..Read this book last week and fell in love with it..My librarian recommended it to me and God, what a lovely piece..! Its one of my favorites too now..!

  7. 小吃餐車加盟連鎖「一條龍的創業模式」複製成功開店經驗
    更新日期:2009/08/25 17:19

    (中央社訊息服務20090825 16:19:17)大環境不景氣,工作難找,有不少人就想乾脆自己創業當老闆。為強化國內創業能量,五路財神開店總部於8月20日-9月20日舉辦「2009夢幻小餐車創業成果展」歡迎蒞臨參觀。針對國內一窩蜂創業加盟潮,餐車達人陳滌五總監提醒創業者,加盟不失為一條創業捷徑,但若選擇加盟,品牌知名度、產品獨特性及是否擁有差異化優勢就顯得格外重要。
    近年來以成本低的小吃餐車最受創業者青睞。沒經驗的失業族 大部份都選擇餐車擺攤,最多人都想在創業市場闖出一片天。在台中成立的五路財神開店總部,小吃餐車用品牌方式來營運,總經理陳滌五用自己的經驗來現身說法。以國人創業首選的小吃餐車來說,如何在同質性高的市場中殺出重圍?雖然是路邊攤小餐車,營運上的重要撇步是關鍵;在企業經營戰略中,唯有領先核心競爭,保持差異化優勢才是生存之道。


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