I would like to start by saying I had mixed feelings about reading this book; I initially thought “It is on the best-sellers list so it must be pretty good” while simultaneously thinking “hmm, Eat, Pray, Love, this sounds like the ultimate ‘Jesus-freaks’ self help book”. I was wrong. I found myself unable to put this book down, I am so in tune with Liz it is somewhat ridiculous; when she is sad I feel sad and when she got her divorce and moved to Italy I felt triumphant!
Like I said, I thought this book would prove to be 300 and some odd pages of the necessities of life; with that said, I was shocked when I started reading and found myself laughing out loud at some of the things Liz says. For example, “After meeting the boys in person, I began to wonder if perhaps I should adjust my rule somewhat about remaining celibate this year. For instance, perhaps I could remain totally celibate except for keeping a pair of handsome twenty-five year old Italian twin brothers as lovers”. Or when she gives the ultimate dating tip that men just love!—being as needy as possible!
Gilbert has the perfect combination of humor and serious language to attract the reader and maintain there focus. Her language is beautiful; there is no other word to describe it. She uses beautiful images such as “We had the eyes of refugees”, after I read this sentence I paused and thought about how incredibly loaded the phrase is. I had a similar feeling when she described her failed marriage to the older woman by simply saying, “We broke it”; I don’t think there is a more appropriate way to describe it.
Aside from the obvious, which would be her real life accounts of her victories and tragedies, I love that she includes first hand accounts of advice from friends. My personal favorite being on her cross country road trip when her friend Iva mandates to her that she is in control of her life and she can petition whatever she chooses. In fact, this entire scene was very powerful. Liz explains her views of prayer and how she doesn’t feel comfortable asking God to make something easy or to make it go away; I think this is something we can probably all relate to. She turns her serious concern of seeming selfish when asking God to mend a minor thing as her divorce when compared with other problems of the world into a humorous tale of celebrities and humanitarians signing her petition to God… The balance is perfect.
This book is really making me look into my own life and where I stand with God. I didn’t know whether to chuckle or think it was sad when she apologized to God for disturbing him late at night; we are always taught that God is always there and always open to listening to you. It becomes obvious while reading Gilbert’s book that to her successful people embrace their flaws, and mistakes, and short-comings. She makes is clear that she is not ashamed of her past, rather she chooses to move on and learn from it. Her relationship with God is very inspirational. Her stories of her finding God are great; she has a bond with him that is not a “in your face, everyone must convert” relationship, but is rather a way of her keeping a balance in her life and an outlet for her.