“Eat, Pray, Love” by Elizabeth Gilbert
Although you are younger than Elizabeth Gilbert and, hopefully, have not experienced the kind of life crisis that prompts the journey detailed in this memoir, I think you’ll be able to relate to the idea of trying to pull your life together after some sort of loss. Since Gilbert is an excellent writer, you’ll also enjoy the wry way she is able to poke fun at herself at the same time that she works through some serious life changes.
When she was thirty years old, Gilbert realized that her marriage wasn’t working and that she had no desire for children. She spends nights crying on her bathroom floor, wondering what she should do. She comes to understand that she should get a divorce, and then all hell breaks loose. Her husband makes it as difficult as possible, and she gives him all her assets (house, etc.), just to get out. At the same time, she falls in love with a man whom she describes as wonderful, but who is also a bad choice for her. She’s a human shipwreck—too thin, too sleepless, lost and sinking fast.
Gilbert decides to go away for a year and visit three countries for four months each—Italy, India, and Indonesia (specifically, Bali). In Italy, she learns to speak Italian simply because it is such a beautiful language—and she eats the most delicious food she’s ever had, gaining some much needed weight. In India, she stays in an ashram to learn how to meditate and pray with the intensity that she believes spiritual life requires. In Bali, she befriends two traditional healers and falls in love.
All of the author’s experiences help her along a journey of self-discovery where she gains spiritual insight and finds the balance she seeks in her life. Her good-humored writing style will make you feel like she’s just chatting with you across the table, and yet will help you gain insights into life as well. A good choice when your teacher assigns a biography/memoir—or when you seek balance in your own life.