Thursday, April 05, 2007

I'm starting to get dangerously behind. So, Eat, Pray, Love: One woman's search for everything across Italy, India, and Indonesia by Elizabeth Gilbert. I was a little wary of this book at first because it seemed too... too... twee? No, that's not it. I don't know the word I'm looking for. Too something. But I read enough positive reviews to give it a chance when I saw it sitting downstairs and man, I'm glad I did because it was just wonderful. There were one or two moments where I had to tamp down my automatic "oh, you poor privileged wealthy white woman" instinct, which was about, oh, 50 times fewer than I thought I would, so that was good. I mean, the woman spent four months each in Italy, India, and Indonesia. What does she have to complain about, right? Well, most of that time was spent getting over a painful divorce and a subsequent relationship that also ended. Taking that time and building a relationship with God helped her accept her failings and move past them. She and I are vastly different people, in both temperament and status, but she made me sympathetic to her situation, where normally I would react with annoyance or impatience.

Experiencing my own issues with religion lately, it was unbelievably powerful to read about that basic kind of communication with God Liz experiences at the beginning of the book, and remembering that made me miss it. There were so many moments of recognition in there and because the Church, for me, is so linked to memories of my grandpa, I spent much of the book near tears, wishing I could get his insight on what I was reading. There was one passage in particular that reminded me of something he said to me when we were discussing world religions: "The Yogic scriptures say that God responds to the sacred prayers and efforts of human beings in any way whatsoever that mortals choose to worship - just so long as those prayers are sincere. As one line from the Upanishads suggests: 'People follow different paths, straight or crooked, according to their temperament, depending on which they consider best, or most appropriate - and all reach You, just as rivers enter the ocean.'" That's almost exactly what he told me. Really, it's a touching and lovely book, full of humor and sadness and descriptions of fabulous food.

I LOVED Eat, Pray, Love. It was my favorite book of 2006. Sadly, none of the friend I have given it to have loved it as much. Glad someone did!
I really liked E,P,L too! In fact, Liz Gilbert was the first author featured at "Upstairs at the Square," a series I help put together. The show is online at www.bn.com/upstairs
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