After reading many of the previous posts on the first part of Gilbert’s Eat, Pray, Love, I too must admit that at first I was somewhat hesitant and skeptical about this book; after all, I couldn’t fathom how one woman could search across Italy, India, and Indonesia (which, seemingly convenient for her begin with the letter ‘I’, meaning “this is my search") for those [intangibles of life] which she so (desperately) seems to yearn. The novel itself is extremely personal, as Becky states, and, yes Gilbert seems to come across whiny. But, sometimes, I (can) concede that whininess is warranted by all the not-so-joyful events that have taken over [Gilbert’s] life at the eve of her travels.
While autobiographical, I think that you can also call this novel (for the most part) ‘honestly human’; if I were to assign to the novel a literary (sub) genre, I’d probably call it ‘human realism’ (or some new-fangled word like that). I can only imaging that, knowing the frantic state that (can be) New York City, her divorce proceedings were probably not the most joyous time in her life – the metaphor of the four-legged, through-heart-seeing, balanced person works well here, as divorce itself is, in a sense, the disruption and ending of the balance/harmony between two people.
One scene in particular that caught my eye –and seems to show human honestly – is the Italian soccer game in which Gilbert recounts the soccer fan screaming (for the most part) obscenities, which she translates back to English. While her English ‘translation’ was quite amusing, you really didn’t need a translation to figure out how this soccer (or football) fan was feeling; sports fans are brutally honest, especially in their home stadium – they’re not afraid to tell their rival team exactly how they’re feeling at that particular moment in the game.
While [I] may not necessarily agree with Gilbert’s methods of learning and self-discovery, I do like (quite a lot) the way her ‘stories’/’beads’ work; these seem to be those ‘little moments’ in her life that Gilbert felt were important enough to write down. They are moments of love and sadness –sometimes more of one than the other—but they are her own, and I believe (at least, I think I do) that there is nothing wrong with sharing the little moments that make up [her] life. These little moments carry the story – they are human.