I’ve now finished the first section of ‘Eat, Pray, Love’ which depicts Liz’s time in Italy. I can honestly say, I am really enjoying the pure, unadulterated honesty of Gilbert’s writing! Her experiences are so relatable, perhaps not on exactly the same levels, but most people have experienced heartbreak, loneliness and depression and Gilbert doesn’t mince her words to make them less hurtful, which I’ve always found more refreshing in a writer.
The book, as she explains in the preface, is split into 108 small chapters to echo the japa mala which are the strings of beads that devout Hindus and Buddhists use to help them stay focused.
It is clear from the outset what Elizabeth wanted to achieve by travelling to the three countries and throughout, as we work our way through the 108 chapters; we soon become aware that however difficult this time was for her, all her experiences are leading up to that 109th bead. Every japa mala has this extra bead and apparently, in meditation when your fingers reach this final bead…you are meant to pause and thank your teachers.
From this introduction, I already felt like I was becoming more cultured! It also gave me an intriguing idea as to her mindset when she started this journey, and a smudge of hope that as the book progresses, she finds what she is looking for.
As I mentioned, I’ve only read what I now realise is the ‘Eat’ section…and her descriptions of Italy, the food, the culture have given me such a strange desire. I’ve always been keen to learn Italian and to travel the world and Gilbert’s beautiful depictions of the country and the language has confirmed my passion.
After the first section, I feel that ‘One Woman’s Search for Everything’ (as written on the title page) is undeniably honest, but also it can be turned around…in some way, this journey is ‘Every Woman’s Search for…something’.
Granted, it doesn’t have the same ring to it…but it’s becoming more and more clear why ‘Eat, Pray, Love has been passed from woman to woman like the secret of life’.
p.s Attraversiamo means ‘Let’s cross over’… like Liz, I just liked it!