I just finished Elizabeth Gilbert’s Eat Pray Love few minutes ago with amazing sense of joy and satisfaction. In fact, this has been the constant feeling all along while reading the book - a delicious mix of joy and satisfaction.
Even though I knew about this book - I have seen it oh-so-many-times at pirated book sellers parked outside Andheri station - somehow I never felt like even picking it up. I was never intrigued by the book. I even remembered newspaper reports when Roberts was shooting for the movie in India. Though I hadn’t watched the film.
But then Oprah did the trick. One night I accidentally happened to watch a joint interview of Gilbert and Julia Roberts in one of Oprah’s shows on Love channel. I kind of liked what I saw and felt like reading the book. Hetal, a good friend of mine, had already read the book and the kind of dispassionate feedback that she gave to me did not help - I already had a very low expectations from the book.
And then one fine day I started reading this autobiographical book anyway. And the book pulled me in completely! The writing, the flair, the humor, the weaving, the craft, the overall impact... AHA! To top it all, the book has this 'unputdownable' quality to it. I was sucked in Gilbert’s world. I could relate to her totally. I could identify with her quest for love and life.
I never thought I would love this book with such a massive intensity. This is kind of a book that one would possibly go to all over again for selective reading. It is such a rare quality. Okay, one can dismiss it off as a glamorised-self help-book-disguised-as-a memoir. Though I don't agree with it at all. The literary value? Who cares! Okay, Gilbert is nowhere near likes of, say, Ayn Rand. But then, why compare two totally different people? Some may even find the book 'too American'. Even if it is so, how does that matter? Human emotions are universal - that's the reason the book has seen such an enormously success all over the world. The book, published in 2006, remained on The New York Times Best Seller list for 187 weeks, that is, more than 3 and half years !
Having said that, well, the account of one-year-of-self discovery-cum-world tour of Gilbert does come across as too good to be true. How can so many interesting events and interesting people can happen to one person in a span of single year? Especially the later part of book does has this fairy tale ring to it. Nonetheless, it all makes an interesting read.
|Julia Roberts in Eat Pray Love|
I am going to read Gilbert's other work, one after another. Committed is a sequel to Eat Pray Love. She has also written a novel and few short stories earlier. Well, everything that she has written before or after Eat Pray Love would be invariably compared to it. Quite clearly, it would be difficult for Gilbert to match with that kind of success and may be even quality. This is an usual phenomenon and every successful writer has to carry the excessive weight of his or her most successful work till the moment s/he dies.
So Go Read... Eat Pray Love!