eat_pray_loveOne of my summer goals is to build my social network down here by the shore; most of my buddies are in or around the city. Another was to read more books for grownups since I spend most of my school year life reading for the 11 and under set. So I’m joining a couple of book clubs. One is through my public library, one is through Meetup. My first meeting with my Meetup group was this past Monday, and our book was Elizabeth Gilbert’s super popular Eat, Pray, Love.

It is the story of Gilbert’s failed marriage, her failed love affair immediately after, and her year-long journery through Italy, India, and Indonesia trying to find herself again. She eats, learns to relax, spends months studying yoga in an ashram in India, befriends a medicine man in Bali, and eventually falls in love with a Brazilian man several years her senior.

This is not a book I would normally pick up on my own, but I’m glad that I read it because of this book club. A lot of the experiences in her memoir are beyond my own, but I still enjoyed this book for its honesty. There are sections that become tedious and slightly tiresome (how many pages about the horrors of her divorce and failed love affair do we need?), but by the end I was glad I’d taken the journey with her. She was my age when she realized she no longer wanted to be married, but 4 years went by before her divorce was finalized and she set off on her trip. I enjoyed how frank she was about her own role in the failure of her marriage, and she left out no details about her year-long trip was. She gained 23 pounds while eating her way through Italy; it took her weeks to adapt to all the meditation in India; she arrived in Bali with no plan, no place to stay.

And while our lives are very different, there were passages I could relate to. In Italy Gilbert discusses how Americans have a hard time relaxing; we treat it like a homework assignment. I’m finding during my summer vacation that I do the exact same thing. Rather than get up in the morning and do what I feel like doing, I like to make lists and accomplish things.

All in all, it’s a perceptive look at her own experiences finding her way back to life after a difficult few years, and I enjoyed discussing this book with my new book club.