Eat, Pray, Love is a autobiographical account of the authors spiritual journey during her year long trip through Italy (eat), India (pray) and Indonesia (love) and how within each stage of her trip she explored herself, her struggles, her relationship with God and the universe as a whole. Before you get all freaked out or turned off by the pseudo-intellectual mumbo jumbo let me tell you that this book is written as if the author is speaking directly to you, casually, intimately- as if you were two woman snuggled up on opposite ends of a deep and comfy sofa, sipping tea and sharing your life's stories (except for the conversation is a little one sided). Liz (the author) also just happens to have a highly entertaining way of describing emotional struggles and always offers up a little comic relief..... just when you are starting to feel a little bogged down by the weight of the issues, she zaps you with a dose of good humor that suppressed that squirmy feeling that tells you this is getting a little too.... white robed zombies, give-me-the-contents-of-your-bank-account-and-I-will-introduce-you-to-God"....for my taste at least....in other words.... I laughed out loud many times during the book
One of my favorite parts of the book occurs within the first few chapters... all you need to know is that Liz is going through an emotional and spiritual melt down, set on a dizmel spiral of depression and self loathing, when she walks into her friends apartment and sees there on his dresser a picture of a "radiantly beautiful Indian woman" and asked.....
He said, "that is my spiritual teacher."
My heart skipped a beat and then flat out tripped over itself and fell on its face. Then my heart stood up, brushed itself off, took a deep breath and announced: "I want a spiritual teacher." I literally mean that it was my heart who said this, speaking through my mouth. I felt this weird division in myself, and my mind stepped out of my body for a moment, spun around to face my heart in astonishment and silently asked, "You DO?"
"Yes," replied my heart. "I do."
Then my mind asked my heart, a tad sarcastically: "Since WHEN?"...."
I dont know about you, but I've had conversations like this with myself.... as crazy as that might sound!
I love this book because it is well written, funny, deep, intellectual, spiritual, personal and totally unpretentious... and because it came to me at a time in my life when I most needed it.
You don't need to believe in her spiritual practices in order to enjoy her story or to allow it to strengthen or question the way you view faith, worship, and your relationship with God (no matter how you choose to define him/her/it/them) Eat, Pray, Love also examines the way that we as "Westerners" view the pleasures of life (like food, sex, love, fashion etc.) verses how and why Europeans embrace a lifestyle much different than our own....
Most importantly Liz details her search to define worship, the pleasures and pressures of life and how best to find the balance between the two.