Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Book: "Eat, Pray, Love" by Elizabeth Gilbert

What is the key to true happiness?

For Elizabeth Gilbert, it is pleasure, devotion and balance. She began her soul-searching journey to three countries after a messy divorce, deciding once and for all to realign her commitment and balance her life. She found pleasure in Italy by doing nothing else except learning Italian from a pair of handsome local twins and eating her heart out (putting on twenty five pounds by the end of her four months stay). She devoted herself to the teachings of a yogi in an ashram in India and in Bali, she befriended an old medicine man and helped a young single mom to find a better footing in life. Along the way, she found love.

There are books that I read so that I can gain some knowledge and converse intellectually with that dorky but cute guy in a coffee shop –

“..but imperialism inflicts perpetual corrosion of a community’s identity even in its best effort to preserve the local culture and idealism!”

(FYI, this scenario only happened in my cuckooed mind, up there).

Then there’s book that I read purely because I want to enjoy reading it. It serves purely as a method of escapism, where for once and for all I am not an underpaid executive in an otherwise competitive market (ahem ahem).. “Eat, Pray, Love” falls in the second category.

I had only fond memories of Italy and Elizabeth’s chronicle brings back memories of my solo Europe backpacking trip, of which Florence, Rome, Venice and Milan were some of the Italian stops. Spanish Steps, endless piazzas, beautifully dressed Italian women, smell of freshly baked bread, devilishly delicious gelato, and handsome Italian men. Bali was my do-nothing place, where I visited alone (hmmmm.. I started to see a pattern here. Solo. Alone) to totally unwind, had a total ‘me’ moments with a good book on a quiet, secluded beach. Traveling alone was not only a way to assert my independence, but my eyes opened wider, my mind is more receptive and I get to do more self-reflection and re-evaluate my life, since there are no family members to take care of or friends to drag you for another round of souvenir shopping spree. India is still on my go-to list.

This book is such a joy to read. It is witty, heartwarming, lovable and engaging. It is the ultimate chick-lit, but one written with more passion, in depth and certainly something that a guy should not feel ashamed to read.

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