Ethiopian Business Review

“Everywhere I go now people treat me like I’m doomed!” says Elizabeth Gilbert on her Ted Talk session in 2009, “they come up to me now all worried and they say aren’t you afraid? Aren’t you afraid that you are never going to be able to top that? Aren’t you afraid you are going to keep writing your whole life and you’re never again going to create a book that anybody in the world cares about at all? Ever…again?” And her answer to that is yes, she is afraid of that as much as she was afraid of not being successful when she was a teenager.

Elizabeth’s international best seller book that people are now afraid for her not to be able to top that again is Eat Pray Love published in 2006. Eat Pray Love is a memoir of Elizabeth from her journey in three countries in search of balance in life followed by her dreadful divorce and heartbreakingly failed relationship.

Her failed relationships triggered other emotions inside her that constantly made her feel bad about herself and ultimately ended up hating herself and her life. Hence, decided to take a year off from her busy life, the busy city of New York, all her beloved family and friends and set out a journey first to Italy to learn and speak the language she adored and eat without worrying about healthy diet, just eat a lot of pasta, drink a lot of wine, have a lot of pastries, hang out with new friends and shut down the window of the reality at least until she gets back to her apartment alone. Then she took off to India, an Ashram in the outskirts of the city to study Yoga and find God, learn to meditate, make peace with her inner demons and slowly lull them to death so they won’t show up again to make her feel bad about her past and hate herself, learn to master her thoughts, forgive and love herself. Finally, Elizabeth sailed her journey to the magically beautiful Bali, Indonesia to visit the kind medicine man she met couple of years back when she was on an assignment to write about meditation. The medicine man, who also does palm reading, predicted not only that she will back to Bali in couple of years but also predicted her misery, her financial status (that she will broke but will gain as much right away). Back then, the medicine man also invited her to come back and live with him to teach him English and he will teach her everything he knows. During her stay in Bali, the medicine man, Ketut, thought her a Balinese meditation (which encourages to smile your liver), she learned a lot from his kindness and pure love for everything around him, she made friends with the kind Balinese people, she changed a life by raising fund from her friends around the world and buying a house to a kind Balinese healer and single mom, and finally, her story was wrapped up with a perfect fairytale ending; she met a man who she slowly melted for and fall completely in love with.

The book is written in a creative way. It is more like you are sitting with the storyteller and you are being told about the one year journey where at one point you are highly intrigued that you want to go buy a ticket to Italy, while in another point you don’t really care about the breakfast she had in the Ashram in India and you yawn several times while in another instance you might find yourself adding “go-see-the-funny-and-smart-medicine-man-in-Bali-before-he-dies” to your bucket list. But regardless, you would finally thank the storyteller saying “wow, what an amazing story you’ve got there. I really want to go to these three places even though I never went through such a hard time in my life.” Or you will be left wondering if the reality is actually more like a three act play, a non ending back to back three act piece of story; problem happens then we seek for solutions, which is where the challenge is, and finally problem will be solved then we smile with our liver until another problem comes and stand on our guts.

Eat Pray Love was also adopted into a movie in 2010 by Columbia Pictures featuring Julia Roberts as lead star. Even though the book and the movie are almost identical, the movie is more like somebody telling you a long story in a very short and summarized way. Not to mention few of the story line changes.

Elizabeth Golbert, Eat, pray, love: one woman’s search for everything across Italy, India and Indonesia, United States of America, Penguin Books, 2007, Print.

Selam Mussie

EBR staff writter

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