Reading Creative Nonfiction
Eat, pray, love—let’s cross over and start a journey of self-inquiry, self-discovery and self-fulfillment
Eat, Pray, Love
By Elizabeth Gilbert
What does it take for a downhearted woman to walk out of the haze and start a brand new life? Elizabeth Gilbert provides us with quite an enthralling solution—that is through the true pleasure of nourishment by eating, the power of prayers in ashrams, and the inner peace and balance from true love. Eat, pray, love is the interior record of Elizabeth Gilbert’s spiritual gap year as she traveled through Italy, India and Indonesia to recover from her exhausting struggle out of an excruciating marriage and a clueless love affair. With a record-breaking 182 weeks on the New York Times’ bestseller list, the book has won over the general readers as well as the captious critics with Gilbert’s humorous wording and utterly frankness oozed between the lines, permeating in every sad, funny and maddening moment.
The book would definitely lose much of its luster without Gilbert’s witty language, wry humor and enthralling plots unfolded in a brilliantly orchestrated manner to bring her story to life. As an extremely talented and experienced novelist, Gilbert indeed knows how to capture the readers’ heart and brings them along with her on this seemingly personal but essentially universal journey from pain to healing.
Gilbert begins the novel with a bold and straightforward statement: “I wish Giovanni would kiss me.”(7)It immediately creates our anticipation for a particular scene along the plot trajectory that the writer’s love life is at stake. Rather than explicitly tells, Gilbert implicitly shows us that she’s eager to get her love life back on track. It’s human nature of men to be drawn to the twists and turns in the search of love; therefore, Gilbert successfully creates the momentum to keep readers turning the page. The book, of course, teases us until close to the end.
During the year of self-inquiry, Gilbert has bumped into so many interesting people of diverse characters on exotic lands, yet it doesn’t take us even the slightest effort to keep their distinctive images in mind. Gilbert’s mastery of everyday language with personal characteristics attached to it captures the true flavor of each character. For the elderly medicine man Ketut Liyer, his language is displayed in a terse yet forceful way with sparks of wisdom and philosophical implications (“Let your conscience be your guide.” (225)), and on-and-off grammatical errors which adds authenticity to the character as Ketut is an elderly Indonesian who asked “Liss” to help him with his English but in vain (Liz tries her best to teach Ketut the difference between “happy to meet you” and “happy to see you”, but each time Ketut still greats her with “happy to meet you”.) . His iconic farewell “See you later, alligator.” (28,225) perfectly demonstrates the vivaciousness and wit of this wise old man. The kind-hearted and considerate Tandem Exchange Partner Giovanni comforted Liz after her official break-up with David with the exact word she taught him: “I understand, Liz. I have been there. ” (87) which couldn’t be more soothing for a broken-hearted. Through assuring Gilbert that he himself has stood in that same forest of sorrow, Giovanni managed to bring hope to her; his thoughtfulness and empathy are self-evident in his words. In Bali, Gilbert met this “cool young Indonesian musical genius in exile”(290) named Yudhi who shared the same “empire state of mind” with him—they used the same slang, talked about their favorite restaurants in New York and even went on an American-style road trip across Bali together. It was New York that opened an entirely new world to Yudhi and where he found the love of his life. Therefore, Yudhi’s wordings are particularly colloquial with American slangs heavily used, such as: “Rock on, dude.” (290) “Dude, this candy...
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