Monday, November 28, 2011

Recommendation of "Eat, Pray, Love"

This book would be highly recommended amongst my fellow AP students and anyone else out there.  It’s filled with such adventure, romance, how she faced challenges in life and can even give you a different perspective in life.  Just gives hope that there are ways to find true happiness within oneself and to never give up when the going gets tough.  However, this book has its moments where it can be hard to follow along when she goes into precise details about the history of places she visits.  Also, this book is about a menopausal woman and can be quit difficult to understand and relate to with what Elizabeth is going through when at a younger age.

What I Considered the Best Chapter of This Book

              Traveling through Italy, India and Indonesia with Elizabeth Gilbert have been exciting, interesting and even convincing enough to make me want to go out and seek self discovery.  However, I would have to say that the chapter about Indonesia was the most interesting.  Don’t get me wrong and all that Italy was about a fun, pure pleasure seeking adventure, along the loveliest language, Italian, which she adores just as much as I love French.  But Indonesia is the one place I would have never guessed of going on a self-seeking adventure.  Indonesia was filled with a lot of happy greeting moments and meeting such interesting new people that become friends of her.  The way Ketut Liyer lived his life as a medicine man was so interesting and then comes along this very outgoing woman who owns her own medicine shop, Wayang.  Just her personal story of life and her hardships tugged at the heartstrings and made you want to fly all the way over there, give Wayang and her family a giant hug and say “Everything’s going to be all right.”  Then I wasn’t expecting Elizabeth to raise the money herself for Wayang to help her find a house and support her family.  Just the chain reaction that spreaded!  To top it all off Elizabeth faces love straight in the face and she has come such a long way on her self-seeking journey that she accepts it! 

Elizabeth Gilbert's Tone From a Page in "Eat, Pray, Love"

“It ws in a bathtub back in New York, reading Italian words aloud from a dictionary, that I first started mending my soul.  My life had gone to bits and I was so unrecognizable to myself that I probably couldn’t have picked me out of a police lineup.  But I felt a glimmer of happiness when I started studying Italian, and when you sense a faint potentiality for happiness after such dark times you must grab onto the ankles of that happiness and not let go until it drags you face-first out of the dirt – this is not selfishness, buy obligation.  You were given life; it is your duty (and also your entitlement as a human being) to find something beautiful within life, no matter how slight.” (115)

          This paragraph in Elizabeth Gilbert’s “Eat, Pray, Love” book really explains how important happiness really is.  Without it your life is thrown into shambles, confusion, depression, hurtfulness and even pain.  Of course everyone experiences it differently and from this paragraph Elizabeth describes it being something so indispensable and vital to your life that you need to hold onto it and never let go in order to face the difficulties in life.  Her use of comparison to the difficulties and the use of pathos involving the explained relation to a police lineup, being dragged in the dirt and just being a human being all allow her to reach a certain level of understanding with her audience, the readers, and those having trouble with happiness.

Two Places Described Within "Eat, Pray, Love"

Throughout Elizabeth's soul searching journeys, she visits many spectacular places.  But the two places that were the most spectacular would have to be in Italy and the Ashram.

     Within Italy, there's plenty of sites to see, monuments, food, the language, the people and the history that Italy has.  Everywhere you turn there's pizza, pasta and such aromas that can only be experienced in Italy with all of the fine ingredients blended to together to bring your stomach to a growl.  Around every corner there's fountains, statues, monumental monuments that are finely detailed, poverty and the perseverance of the past all dwell in Italy.  For those that have to agree with Elizabeth that Italian is the most beautiful language, even more beautiful than a rose, should come and visit Italy to get that pure pleasure, lovely spoken language full effect.

      While in India, Elizabeth prayed and meditated at the Ashram.  This place is filled with so many dedicated, devotional students and followers.  Some of which are only there for a few while on a retreat.  All there for the same reason: devotion, prayer, meditation, self discovery and even some relaxation time for ones self.  This place even consists of meditation caves for one to pray and meditate in silence when ever they chose to.  With nothing, but this huge, enormous, Ashram surrounded by poverty and dirt roads, the scenery inside is just amazing.  Elizabeth describes that there's lush plants and gardens throughout the Ashram that leave in breath in serenity.  This Ashram in India sounds to be the most beautiful places alive, where one can become closer to themselves, God (or who ever they worship and believe in) and discover the truth to many questions.

Most Important Occurences Throughout "Eat, Pray, Love" (spoiler alert!)

Italy - 
          Lonely and Depression take hold of Elizabeth again in Italy.  After experimenting with a few days of not taking her depression medication, she begins to notice her struggles.  With the first sign of struggle she reaches for her most private notebook.  After writing down questions in which she seeks help to, she begins to write down the reply from her mind/thoughts.  These encouraging words of love help keep her strong and take hold of a grip in her life.  To hang in there, and that he (God) will always be there for her. 

Italy -
           Elizabeth runs into an Australian girl on her way to Slovenia and is seeking directions. This makes Elizabeth realize that she isn’t just a traveler anymore, but more of a citizen in Italy. She can take her life in her own hands and do what she wants to do.  And searching for the best pizza in Naples with Sophie and thanks to David's directions, is just one of those privileges.  There’s more than just two simple choices to life.

Italy -
           Elizabeth has come to the conclusion to let David go.  This is a very difficult situation for her to bring to an end because she has loved David dearly.  But with this love there just wasn’t enough affection that she needed from David.  After sitting down for lunch with her Mother in New York, her mother reveals that those needs that Elizabeth seeks, were also what she had to endure with.  There were sacrifices her life that she made for her husband, whom she loved dearly.  But Elizabeth realizes that “something about my recent joy in Naples has made me certain that I not only can find happiness without David, but must.” (84)  So she breaks the news to David through an email and he responds with acknowledgement and even says that “beauty attracts beauty” will still play a role when it comes to searching for that significant other out there. 

          Waking up late one morning while in the Ashram, Elizabeth was worried about missing the Gurugita, a vital spiritual practice next to meditation, in which there’s chanting.  She goes to the door, only to find it looked is bewildered as how her roommate could lock her in if she could sees her sleeping in this small room.  So Elizabeth shows dedication (not knowing that yet) to the Gurugita by climbing out of the window, falling two stories, and badly scrapping her leg.  Not realizing till when she’s in meditation and she hears Swamiji mention in her mind that’s funny-you sure act like somebody who wants to be here (168).
After confronting her roommate about locking her in, she finds out that Delia would never even have thought about doing such a thing.  Espically after having a vivid dream about her last night in which she would need an escape exit.

                  Having finally arrived in Indonesia, Elizabeth sets off in search of Ketut Liyer.  As soon as she receives information from Mario about where he lives, they both set off to go greet him.  From the beginning Ketut has a hard time remembering who Elizabeth was, but as soon as she mentions that she's the book writer, the book writer from New York his face goes translucent with joy, turns bright and pure and transparent.  This slow happy greeting from the beginning evolving into a sparked memory really shows how ecstatic they both were with this reunion.
                 Thanks to a Brazilian friend of Elizabeth introduced by Wayan, she met her Indonesia lover. Armenia knew another Brazilian expat in Ubud and he was hosting a special event at a nice restaurant and she invited Elizabeth to enjoy a night in Bali with her.  This was where she met her Indonesian lover.  All thanks to Armenia’s invitation to this party.
Indonesia -
                   After hearing about Wayan's financial troubles and her eviction approaching, Elizabeth set out for help.  She sent a long heartfelt email to her friends telling them about Wayan's troubles, having to handle three children on her on, and now is approaching eviction.  Elizabeth asks to from the kindness of their hearts to send at least some donations to help out Wayan and her children.  The next day and the days to come, Elizabeth gets so many replies from her friends and notices the chain reaction of donations coming in.  All in all, $18,000 was raised to help Wayn Nuriyasih get a home of her own.  From this a message she receives from her friend Bob in Utah, that really helps Elizabeth realized this all around ironic circle.  "When you set out in the world to help yourself, you inevitably end up helping...Tutti." (274).  For tutti in Italian means "everybody".
Indonesia -
                  As the end of July was approaching so was Elizabeth's thirty-fifth birthday.  Wayan had decided to throw her a birthday party in her shop and it turns out to be quite unlike any birthday party that she has ever experienced before.  Those that celebrated were amongst Wayans brother whose younger children were gifted dancers in temple ceremonies and they danced for in that restaurant right then and there, staging a haunting, gorgeous performance usually offered only to priests.  With a gathering of friends, family and even customers that stopped by in the shop that day, this truly made one of Elizabeth's birthdays the most unique and forgettable moments she's ever experienced.

Who are the most important people in "Eat, Pray, Love"?

Elizabeth M. Gilbert-  In her mid thirties and just came out of a devastating, interminable divorce and has
also gone through depression.  Developed listening skills as a sympathetic bartender and an inquisitive journalist and even grew up as the super sensitive younger child.

Husband- Her and her husband have been together for eight years and married for six years, till they got a divorce.  They had built their entire life around the common expectation that, after passing the old age of thirty, they would settle down and have children.

David- David was the guy Elizabeth fell in love with as she was taking her leave of her marriage through this ugly, complicated divorce with her husband.  He is a young man, born a New Yorker, an actor and writer, with brown Italian eyes.  David is street-smart, independent, vegetarian, foulmouthed, spiritual, seductive and a rebel poet-Yodi from Yonkers.  After one day seeing this picture of a beautiful Indian girl at his house, she couldn’t help but ask who she ways.  David explains to Elizabeth that she is his Guru and this leads Elizabeth to begin following her and her teachings.  Also, influences her to go to India for prayer.


Giovanni- He is shy, serious, and studious man that also has a twin named Dario.  Giovanni is her Tandem Exchange Partner (Giovanni is looking for a native English speaker for conversational language practice since he speaks Italian).  It usually takes him awhile to get jokes in a second language.  Throughout Elizabeth’s time in Italy she has a crush on him, but as time develops so does her feelings for him as they begin to diminish.  Its better off that they are friends for Elizabeth realizes it can go no farther.

Sofie - Elizabeth’s best friend from language class.  Sofie is Swedish and in her late twenties.  She keeps Elizabeth company while in Italy.

Luca Spagetti- Elizabeth’s new best friend in Italy that speaks perfect English and is an Italian tax accountant.  Luca is in his early thirties and he doesn’t like American food.  He helps Elizabeth understand Italy and gives her advice throughout her stay in Italy.

Catherine (Sister) - Elizabeth’s sister who is three years older than her and is an athlete, scholar, mother and writer.   She’s like a bookworm and a nerd that loves to recall any moment that she has knowledge or interest of.  Catherine nudges Elizabeth’s attention away from David after the break up.

LindaElizabeth’s favorite traveling companion or as she would call her, a codega – bringing you confidence and protection with their guidance through the dark streets.  Elizabeth considers her an unflappable and entertaining and surprisingly organized little pixie in tight red crushed-velvet pants, dreadlocks and piercings. Linda is the owner of one of the world’s more intact psyches.  She has incomprehension for depression and has a high self-esteem.  Linda has this ability to stop Elizabeth right there when she starts fretting over metaphysical questions.  She joins Elizabeth as her traveling companion through Venice in order to keep Elizabeth company as she passes through the most romantic city on earth by herself.


Guru-Her Indian parents were amongst Swamiji’s earliest followers.  She even became his successor in 1982, while in her twenties. As a feminine, multilingual, university-educated and savvy professional woman she is as reassuring in her propriety.  Along with an Ashram in India as a place for people to still practice what she teaches her followers, she travels around the world influencing others and making known her teachings. She helps guide Elizabeth through her spiritual, self-seeking journey.

Swamiji- Swamiji is Sanskrit for “beloved monk”.  He is her Guru’s own master that has a great charismatic yogi and who died in 1982. He was a stickler for silence in the Ashram.  Elizabeth has only seen pictures of this Indian man throughout the Ashram and at firsts finds him to be a wild card; a little too scary, a little too powerful, and a little too much on fire for her taste in which he seemed overwhelming. But after having moments with him during meditation he would laugh at Elizabeth’s answers after asking her a question.  Not to be harsh or rude, but the truth. This occurrence would only motivate Elizabeth to take action and show Swamiji what she’s capable of.

Richard from Texas- Has white hair and a white beard, wide shoulders, giant hands and has had a variety jobs that are not really along the lines of a career path.  He helps Elizabeth out with her mediation in India and how to focus.  When meditating, one can discover ones self and has helped Elizabeth choose her thoughts since she’s distracted by them.  Richard suggests that she just gives her mind something else to divert its attention…love, pure divine love.  And with patience and persistence, Elizabeth grasps the control of her thoughts and begins to go deeper into her meditation and prayer.

Delia - Her roommate in Ashram and is a mother of five from Australia.  Delia in her own way gives Elizabeth the impression that the she can conquer meditation of the Gurugita, not even knowingly or intentionally.

Nick- Nick is an eight-year-old boy who is Elizabeth’s nephew.  He is skinny for his age, scarily smart, frighteningly astute, sensitive and complex.  Nick had received Elizabeth’s prayers to God, and in return helped her establish a truer divine mediation within oneself.

Plumber/poet from New Zealand – Wrote poems and had guided Elizabeth through moving on from her ex-husband and not to wait for that moment of forgiveness from him.


Mario Elizabeth’s new Italian-Indonesian friend.  Mario’s real name is Nyoman and he changed it to Mario because he loves everything Italian.  He’s small, muscular and an energetic Balinese fellow.  He’s the first friend she makes right away when she first arrives at the hotel on
Money Forest Road
.  Elizabeth takes up Mario on his offering of going to look for a bicycle so that she can travel around with some ease and speed.  Most importantly he takes her to see Ketut Liyer at his house.

Ketut Liyer –His hobby is being medicine man.  Was once married, till she passed away and hasn’t remarried since.  Never really discloses his real age to Elizabeth because honestly, he doesn’t even really remember.  He always has a warm welcoming mostly toothless smile and with what Elizabeth describes as “his face is a comprehensive encyclopedia of kindness” (220).  Since there are many ways to find God he teaches Elizabeth one of many of the easiest meditations: sit in silence and smile.  Along the way she helps to try and teach Ketut Liyer some English words (or western-style language).  He guides Elizabeth through her time in Indonesia with advice, his wisdom and shows her what being a medicine man is about.

YudiRented Elizabeth a house to her.  He’s twenty-seven year old Indonesian, originally from Java, with a stocky build and talks kind of like a southern California surfer.  For somebody who is so young he has a long, complicated life story, but he’s also got a smile that could stop crime.  With Yudi as Elizabeth’s friend, they like to share about a lot of things.  He’s more American than anything else and they use the same slang, talk about their favorite restraints in New York and like all the same movies.  Yudi also has this most amazing talent of playing music on the guitar and Elizabeth believes he could become famous some day.  That’s how good he is.

WayanWayan is a Balinese healer, like Ketut Liyer.  She’s in her mid-thirties, with a wide smile and black hair down to her waist and a hands-on doctor.  Wayan owns a little storefront shop in the center of Ubud called “Traditional Balinese Healing Center.”  This is where she will usually mix herbs and medications in her own shop and take care of her patients right there on the premise.  She has a daughter named Tutti and divorced her husband after being physically abused.  Wayan even adopted two other little girls who were given the nicknames Big Ketut and Little Ketut since they have the same names.  Wayan helps Elizabeth with her prayers for Elizabeth to seek romance, even advice and helps give her medical treatment when needed.

FelipeHe’s fifty-two years old, has silver hair, warm brown eyes and has a gentle face and smells wonderful according to Elizabeth.  He’s from Brazil and not only becomes a close friend of Elizabeth’s, but also someone whom she falls in love with.  Felipe was faithfully married for almost twenty years before his marriage deteriorated and they were divorced.  During that time of marriage he has raised and tended to his children, while his Australian wife pursued her career.

Armenia – Brazilian friend of Elizabeth introduced by Wayan.  She invited Elizabeth to this party and this was where she met her Indonesian lover.  All thanks to Armenia’s invitation to this party.

Why call it “Eat, Pray, Love”?

This book evolves around Elizabeth Gilbert’s efforts in finding balance.  She structures it like a japa mala, 108 tales, or beads in which her story is divided amongst.  This string of 108 tales to taken further into three sections: Italy, India and Indonesia.  Each place in which she visits is related to the title.  In Italy she goes searching for pure pleasure.  This is simply satisfied with all the Italian food she can “eat” and pure enjoyment from just speaking the most beautiful language that she deems more beautiful than a rose…Italian.  Her next destination is through India where she seeks out pure devotion.  This achieved through prayer and meditation.  By constantly and willing to “pray” everyday Elizabeth digs deep within her soul to find herself.  Reaching Indonesia also brings up the subject “love”.  This is a touchy subject, but as Elizabeth’s stay in Indonesia progresses, her viewpoint changes all around.  Not only that, but this is all going on as she’s in the pursuit of balance in her life in this chaotic world of ours.  These journeys all play an important role in Elizabeth’s developing life that leaves a long lasting effect.