I believe books can be broadly classified into two categories. First, the ones that have you at the edge of your seat, biting your nails, flipping pages like a maniac, trying your level best to read at top-speed so you can get to the end and solve the mystery. And second, the books that are calm, soothing and silent but which give you so much that at the end of it you don’t really feel like you have read hundreds of pages yet your mind is consumed by the concepts and ideas introduced in those hundreds of pages. Eat Pray Love by Elizabeth Gilbert most definitely belongs to the latter category.
Gilbert narrates her own story as she plans a year of travel all alone, first to Italy to experience pleasure, next to India to experience prayer and devotion and finally to Bali to find balance. A year of travelling all alone, experiencing feelings and emotions alone and getting her life back together after a bad divorce and failed relationship. But more than anything, I believe this book tells you and me that happiness has to be found. We cannot always just come across happiness. Finding happiness requires effort and perseverance and work. ‘Diligent joy’ she calls it. I have somehow fallen in love with that term.
I was unsure of the book when I picked it up to read because I had, earlier, picked up the same book and on reading the first few pages, had decided that it is no good. But this happens a lot to me. I give up on a book after the first few pages and then after a few months, pick the book up again and enjoy every bit of it. I was also unsure of whether or not I would enjoy the ‘India’ part of the book since it is about yoga and devotion and prayer, subjects that I have never had much of an interest in. But it was surprisingly good and I did not find myself getting bored by it at all.
Eat Pray Love is about a woman trying to find peace and contentment. And it shows. Her contentment shows in the way she writes, the way she tells her own story (which could not possibly have been easy because think about it, would you be comfortable sharing your life story with a world full of judgemental people). You can see her peace and to some extent even feel it. It’s like she knows something about how life works that mere mortals like you and me don’t. but somehow through this book, through this story, she wants us to experience what she experienced, feel what she felt and find what she found (diligently)- joy.


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