I first heard about Elizabeth Gilbert, the author of Eat, Pray, Love, about a year and a half ago when she did a talk about the creative process on Ted.com. Because I highly value creativity, I flock to anything having to do with that topic. After hearing about her, I had Eat, Pray, Love on my “To Read” list. I finally picked it up and finished it just a few days before the movie came out. It’s a fun memoir that tells of her adventures of self-discovery as she travels through Italy, India, and Indonesia. Here are my thoughts on both the movie and the book.
I really liked the book. The author is definitely a writer. She uses descriptive words that are funny and seemingly perfect for what she’s trying to say. I usually find a book good when I can relate to it in some way. I definitely related to her on several levels. In Italy, it was all about just having fun and doing something for herself. I’m in a season of learning to “be” and not “do” so it was fun to read someone else’s adventures while she just had fun! I’ve been to India so that was my relating point there. I haven’t been to Indonesia but her adventures with a particular Balinese woman reminded me of living in Africa.
Liz raises money for this woman to buy her own house by asking her friends to contribute. Time goes on and she still hasn’t bought anything. Time is nearing when Liz is supposed to fly back to the states. She can’t bear to go back and not report on the house to her friends, so she urges the woman to find something. The woman throws all kinds of reasons why she can’t. It doesn’t have a good spirit. I need to go to the temple to get a blessing first but I can’t go to the temple because it’s my time of the month. The list goes on. Unless you’ve lived overseas, you probably can’t understand the extent of this. I call it the clash of cultures. To a very Western American mind, it seems absurd, but there’s nothing you can do and you will probably never understand the extent of cultural differences. All you can do is smile, or laugh, and let it go.
If you see the movie, you will miss this culture clash. I realize that you can’t include everything in a 2 hour movie which is why you should always read the book! And that would definitely be my suggestion with Eat, Pray, Love. I did like the movie. I mean it stars Julia Roberts, and she’s amazing! If you see the movie without reading the book, you might feel a bit lost and will definitely miss some of the significant parts of the book. Like when she uses attraversiamo at the end of the movie. I knew the significance of that word for her because it was driven home in the book. In the movie, it seemed like just another word that she learned while living in Italy.
My favorite parts in both the movie and the book is the conversation that ensues between Liz and her friends in Italy. They talk about the one word that would be used to describe them. When they ask Liz, her response is, “Writer.” Her friend lovingly says, “That’s what you do but it doesn’t describe who you are.” Such a challenge to find out who we are apart from what we do.
To sum it up, go see the movie, but don’t forget to read the book, too! For more posts written by me, visit my personal blog, I Believe In Love.