Wednesday, May 6, 2009

And Pray Tell Why, but I Do Love to Eat...

I was actually thinking this book would elicit 3-4 stars from me. I confess - I was a little jaded and maybe just a touch snobby, thinking a crazy popular bestseller of a book would not impress me. I read it only because a friend recommended it and I said I'd read it. Color me humbled. I thought it was awesome - 5 of 5 stars.

The memoir covers the period in the author's life after her divorce when she goes on a worldwide quest to rediscover herself and soothe her mind and heart. She divides the trip (and the book) into three parts - four months each in Italy, India and Indonesia. Her aim is to figure out how to enjoy the pleasure in life, and to be very spiritual, and how to balance the two. The book is structured like yogi prayer beads - 108 stories, divided into three sections, 36 stories in each section.

The section about Italy was crazy and awesome and funny and triumphant. She kicks her depression, makes tons of friends, eats an insane amount of food and learns to speak passably good Italian. It made me want to go live in Italy for a few months, not that it would take all that much convincing. The section about India was deeply revealing about her spiritual life and progress in her meditations. I don't know that yoga is the path to a relationship with God for me, but I don't think it was about that - it was about finding your own path, and her showing what her path looked like. The section in Indonesia was honestly the least interesting to me, but it's very important to the story because that's where she finds love and closure. And it's a really interesting look at Balinese culture, making me want to go to Bali someday!

Part travel guide, part memoir, all funny and touching and human and healing. I enjoyed this book a lot and plan to give it to my husband to read next.


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  2. Hey, Jen. Like minds think alike...this one is on my bedside stand. Just finished Short History of Nearly Everything; based on your review, I'll start this one next! Cheers--Carrie