It’s 3 a.m. and Elizabeth Gilbert is sobbing on the bathroom floor. She’s in her thirties, she has a husband, a house, they’re trying for a baby – and she doesn’t want any of it. A bitter divorce and a turbulent love affair later, she emerges battered and bewildered and realises it is time to pursue her own journey in search of three things she has been missing: pleasure, devotion and balance. So she travels to Rome, where she learns Italian from handsome, brown-eyed identical twins and gains twenty-five pounds, an ashram in India, where she finds that enlightenment entails getting up in the middle of the night to scrub the temple floor, and Bali where a toothless medicine man of indeterminate age offers her a new path to peace: simply sit still and smile. And slowly happiness begins to creep up on her.
I did like the first and third part best. In the first part Gilbert travels to Italy where she heals her body, mostly through the pleasures of food. She enjoys living there, learning the language. Gains a few pounds. Then to India, where for months she meditates and prays. Mostly about being devoted and silent. A bit to much to my liking. Finally to Bali, Indonesia, where she lives in Ubud. Completes her healing and finds new love when she was sure she never again would. Gilbert takes us along with a story that pulls us along jumping and skipping and running and gasping, not missing a moment, eating and praying and loving right along with her. Yes, it’s a good read. My judgement, four stars.
In august 2010 a filmversion, with Julia Roberts, was released. And for those who like to read about the book: a review in The New York Times and one in The Telegraph. To be complete, here you can find Elizabeth Gilbert’s official website.