no spoiler review
I judged this book hard when it came out. I just couldn’t understand how a book about abandoning your life to go on vacation for a year could possibly be helpful to anyone. Why did this book resonate with so many people? I just couldn’t figure it out, it didn’t seem like it offered helpful solutions for everyday people. Then again, this book was so popular, it had to have some value, right?
I was inspired to read this book, while I was reading the Book of Joy, I became interested in researching other perspectives on the subject of finding lasting happiness. This became kind of a compare and contrast investigation. Eat, Pray, Love was the most popular book on the subject of happiness that I could think of, so I decided to have an open mind and read this book.
Eat, Pray, Love follows the author on a year long trip to Italy, India and Bali after suffering a devastating divorce. In Italy the author pursues pleasure and basically does whatever she wants for three months, heavy emphasis on eating. In India she moves into an Ashram to pray and meditate, basically full time. In Bali she looks for balance with a medicine man, but this part of the book becomes a little unstructured. She does spend time with a medicine man and a healer, but she also just hangs around with locals and starts dating. I guess real life doesn’t always fall into neat categories.
I think the journey was restorative for the author, but I’m doubtful that it is the path to lasting happiness. I fear that taking a year off to focus on yourself would make it very hard to come back to the incompetent bosses and irate patrons of the real world. I get pouty when I come back from a one-week vacation, what would a year off do to me?
I don’t agree with a lot of this book, but I do respect the author for publishing this work. This is a very personal book and the author is very brave to have written it, knowing that the world is full of unhappy critics. I thoroughly enjoyed the parts that read like a travel guide, there is some very interesting information about the Balinese culture. There is also a lot of information about Yoga and meditation, that I didn’t know or understand. This book does not match my personal philosophy, but I can see how it would appeal to a lot of people.
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