Eat, Pray, Love–A Spiritual Memoir for Thanksgiving?

My husband Stuart and I have just worked together to make two pumpkin pies, two apple pies, and broccoli, curry cheese soup.  We are waiting for our daughter Kate and her boyfriend Nik to arrive from Pittsburgh for Thanksgiving weekend.  It seems fitting–maybe it was all that cooking–that this would be the night to write about one of the most popular memoirs of the last two years–Elizabeth Gilbert’s Eat, Pray, Love.

Interestingly, critics and readers alike have chided Gilbert for the shallowness of her spiritual journey and for the self-absorption of her personal quest.  Some are just jealous that they don’t have book advances that pay for a year of globe-trotting.  Others have reacted quite differently, enjoying the intelligence, humor, and adventure of the story as the author moves from a crying jag on her bathroom floor in Manhattan to a divorce, then to Italy, India, and Indonesia where she is able to, successively and successfully, eat, pray, and love.

I enjoyed reading the book.  It kept me well entertained on an airplane trip.  And since several people in my life were going through divorces at the time this book came out, I read with a motive to learn about healing from that particular kind of pain.  When it came to the spiritual transformation section, where the author discovers how to pray in an Ashram in India, I was less inspired than amused.

I don’t expect this book to become a classic of spiritual autobiography.  The author seems to struggle mightily to arrive at the first base of wisdom.  I suspect ambition, calculation, and narcissism are still too much with her.

But one theme rings true.  The passages in the book which focus on prayer as gratitude sing with what the author names “Diligent Joy.”  The very last lines of the book rise to a lovely descant:  “In the end, maybe it’s wiser to surrender before the miraculous scope of human generosity and to just keep saying thank you, forever and sincerely, for as long as we have voices.”

To that I say “Amen.”

And as I enjoy the festivities with my family tomorrow, I will remember to thank Elizabeth Gilbert.  She showed me–again–the three most important verbs of Thanksgiving are–eat, pray, love.

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About Shirley Hershey Showalter

Author of memoir Blush: A Mennonite Girl Meets a Glittering World. Blogging about Magical Memoir Moments and Jubilación -- vocation in the second half of life.
This entry was posted in My Reviews, Spiritual Memoir and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

8 Responses to Eat, Pray, Love–A Spiritual Memoir for Thanksgiving?

  1. Gutsy Writer says:

    There's a reason her book is still on the bestseller list. I loved it, especially the benefits of traveling and adapting to different cultures. To me there is no greater reward to mankind than to understand that we are all human and want to be loved, no matter our differences in religion. Happy Thanksgiving.

  2. Gutsy Writer says:

    There's a reason her book is still on the bestseller list. I loved it, especially the benefits of traveling and adapting to different cultures. To me there is no greater reward to mankind than to understand that we are all human and want to be loved, no matter our differences in religion. Happy Thanksgiving.

  3. shirleyhs says:

    A toast to you and to human connectedness across all our differences, Gutsy Writer! Happy Thanksgiving to you and your family.

  4. shirleyhs says:

    A toast to you and to human connectedness across all our differences, Gutsy Writer! Happy Thanksgiving to you and your family.

  5. Hey thanks for this. It's nice to know this kind of stuff!

  6. Many now interests how correctly to eat. The number of the people dissatisfied with the figure or health recently has increased and, as consequence, trying to get rid of excess weight. You should pick up a diet approaching you, and also learn to make correctly balanced diet.

  7. Pingback: The Middle Place and How to Sleep Alone in a Twin-Sized Bed: Humor and Pathos Together | 100 Memoirs

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