Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert
In her early thirties, Elizabeth Gilbert had everything a modern American woman was supposed to want--husband, country home, successful career--but instead of feeling happy and fulfilled, she felt consumed by panic and confusion. This wise and rapturous book is the story of how she left behind all these outward marks of success, and of what she found in their place. Following a divorce and a crushing depression, Gilbert set out to examine three different aspects of her nature, set against the backdrop of three different cultures: pleasure in Italy, devotion in India, and on the Indonesian island of Bali, a balance between worldly enjoyment and divine transcendence.
Yes, this book is a bit self-indulgent on Gilbert's side, but then again, it's her memoir. I told myself that every time thought she was too whiny or self indulgent or when I didn't agree with something. While I've never gone through anything has tough and devastating as she had, I still felt for her. I think, in part, a lot of people fear they've made the wrong decision and years into that decision they have to decide what is right for them and deal with the aftermath. Which is what Gilbert does. First she has a fling and realizes that she's never been alone; she's always had a man there to "save her". So she talks to her editor for a "paid vacation" of sorts since she writes for a travel magazine to go and find herself. She spends four months each in Italy, India, and Indonesia. In Italy she immerses herself in learning the language and eating the food. She's not even really mortified by growing a muffin-top. In India she spends all of her time at an Ashram, where people go to meditate for hours on end. Totally not my cup of tea, really, but it didn't really seem to be hers in the beginning either. What little meditation she had done at home didn't prep her for the hard work of serious meditation. But she did learn - to meditate and to forgive others and herself. In Indonesia, she meets enjoyment and balance in the middle and finds her happiness. Even if I didn't always enjoy her journey, it made me want to travel and see those places. I enjoyed her story and learned a few things in the process.