EN | For more than two years now, I longed to go to Italy. I have been in Italy before, but there was an urge to go back to this beautiful country again. While still being at university, I even visited a language class, because I also love Italian. Soon I stumbled across a movie called eat, pray, love and as I absolutely love Julia Roberts, I just had to watch it! I loved the movie and soon bought the book. Now I want to give a review on the first part of the book – the part where narrator Liz travels to Rome (just like I did eventually) and through Italy to follow the pursuit of pleasure. The EAT-part, so to say… Enjoy!
eat, pray, love
is a book by Elizabeth Gilbert about her quest around the world. In the auto-biographical story, narrator Liz is in her mid-thirties and as her life is sorted out already, she finds herself very unsatisfied with her situation, her marriage, her husband and herself. After a mad divorce and a short love affair after that, she makes her dream come true by taking a sabbatical to travel Italy, India and Indonesia throughout the following year.
On the Pursuit of Pleasure in Rome
Yes, the first part is all about eating. When Liz comes to Rome, she not only gets to know this beautiful city, yet also tastes new foods and probably the best pizza there is. You can almost taste it, too!
In flash-backs, Liz tells the story of her failed marriage, of her having to get out of there and ask for help. The main reason for the separation is that Liz cannot let herself disappear or vanish in the perfect life she has built up but doesn’t want anymore. She has to find herself to truly be herself, and as she has too always dreamed about travelling to Italy and speaking Italian, that’s exactly what she does. The first destination of her quest is Rome.
„I am inspired by the regal self-assurance of this town, so grounded and rounded, so amused and monumental, knowing that she is held securely in the palm of history. I would like to be like Rome when I am an old lady.“
In Rome, Liz is able to heal herself from the deep wounds of the last year. She finds new friends yet also solitude to review her life and to reflect on her actions. By learning Italian and staying in this country, she meets a new culture and new perspectives on life. She has already been very clever and wise, yet her time in Italy brings everything back in order and not only be re-gaining weight due to the amazing Italian food, she is able to recover from her fall. None of her relatives has done such a thing before – travelling to another country to really relax one’s upset soul – but it is really working out for her to do something completely foreign and new. She tries to adapt on the dolce vita lived by the inhabitants.
„They would reminisce together about the days when they were all so young and beautiful and wild.“
Liz is a very open-minded person. She says about herself that she can literally find friends anywhere, and her eagerness to learn Italian really helps, too. She is a person to look up to, because she really lives in Italy, not only travels there to have the prestige. She goes there without any travel guide and therefore wanders through the streets „90 percent lost and 100 percent happy“.
When Liz leaves Rome, she found pleasure for herself again. She also reflects on her third-life-crisis, again very relatable, and the reader is able to understand how she found her way out of her dilemma.
„It is better to live your own destiny imperfectly than to live an imitation of somebody else’s life with perfection. […] And I will leave with the hope that […] the magnification of life is indeed an act of worth in this world. Even if that life, just this one time, happens to be nobody’s but my own.“
She leaves Rome being able to really appreciate the nice and small things again and relax about the former importance of her sorted-out life.
I would love to travel Rome again just like Liz did. In the book, she quotes others who say that when in Rome, the Pantheon and when in Italy, Sicily are the places you have to see on any account. So I guess I have to go again – and I’m really looking forward to going.
I also love the way she gets hold of her own life again, takes a year out to find time for herself and although the book is sometimes long to read, I love the way the story goes along and how Liz describes her travelling. Her words are wise and I can relate to her very much… so I can only advise anyone to read the book or at least watch the movie! ;)