"Eat, Pray, Love"
I wanted to give this book more than the one sentence reviews I gave the books in my last post. I know that many of you have read this book and I'll be interested to hear what you all thought. (for those of you who haven't read it, here's a review from The New Yorker"
At the age of thirty-one, Gilbert moved with her husband to the suburbs of New York and began trying to get pregnant, only to realize that she wanted neither a child nor a husband. Three years later, after a protracted divorce, she embarked on a yearlong trip of recovery, with three main stops: Rome, for pleasure (mostly gustatory, with a special emphasis on gelato); an ashram outside of Mumbai, for spiritual searching; and Bali, for "balancing." These destinations are all on the beaten track, but Gilbert's exuberance and her self-deprecating humor enliven the proceedings: recalling the first time she attempted to speak directly to God, she says, "It was all I could do to stop myself from saying, 'I've always been a big fan of your work.'"
This book was recommended to my by a fellow Buckeye lover (who happens to be in Guatemala right now bringing home their second daughter!!!). I will have to admit - I just bought it without really looking at it. When I got it home I wasn't sure. Here's this women - lives in New York - just went through a divorce - and to get over her ex (and an ex-boyfriend) she decides to take a year off and travel to Italy (where she eats), India (where she prays) and Indonesia (to try to balance the two). First of all, who are these people who can just take a year "off." Maybe the practical person in me just couldn't see doing that. Granted - she wasn't married and didn't have any kids - but still......aren't there still bills to be paid?
Italy - I can understand - after all it was all about indulgence and food for her. Two things I can get into!! But the India part concerned me. The whole point was that she was going to spend half of her time in an Ashram studying with her Guru. I wasn't sure how I was going to handle that part. It seemed very much against my Christian beliefs. I didn't think I wanted to read a book about some hippies getting together to do yoga and try to find "themselves." And I was still very uncertain how Indonesia fit into the whole thing.
Let me just say - I'm SO glad I gave this book a chance. Elizabeth Gilbert's writing style is amazing. There were many times that I laughed out loud - and MANY times that I reread a passage because I needed to hear it again and again. In fact, the India section ended up being my favorite part. I'm not sure I've heard a better sermon than that section.
Elizabeth was pretty messed up at the beginning of her journey. She was having a hard time forgiving - letting go - and loving herself. She made some remarkable strides during the course of her year of travel.
My plan is to re-read the book and pull out sections and I plan on sharing those sections - and my thoughts with you guys.
I leave you with this - Near the end of the book, she finally struggles (and wins) with the horrible feelings that she was still harboring. And then this section (which I think is quite appropriate for the first Sunday in Lent)
"When all this was finished, I was empty. Nothing was fighting in my mind anymore. I looked into my heart, at my own goodness, and saw its capacity. I saw that my heart was not even nearly full, not even after having taken in and tended to all those calamitous urchins of sorrow and anger and shame; my heart could easily have received and forgiven even more. Its love was infinite.
I knew then that this is how God loves us all and receives us all, and that there is no such thing in this universe as hell, except maybe in our own terrified minds. Because if even one broken and limited human being could experience even one such episode of absolute forgiveness and acceptance of her own self, then imagine - just imagine! - what God, in all His eternal compassion, can forgive and accept."
I highly recommend this book!!!
"The Ultimate Gift"
We watched this Friday night during our lady's night out at church. This is NOT a "church" movie, though. Here's a synopsis of the movie:
Jason thought his inheritance was going to be the gift of money and lots of it. Was he ever in for a big surprise. Based on the best-selling book "The Ultimate Gift" by Jim Stovall, the story sends trust fund baby Jason Stevens on an improbable journey of discovery, having to answer the ultimate question: "What is the relationship between wealth and happiness?" Jason had a very simple relationship with his impossibly wealthy Grandfather, Howard "Red" Stevens. He hated him. No heart-to-heart talks, no warm fuzzies, just cold hard cash. So of course he figured that when Red died, the whole "reading of the will" thing would be another simple cash transaction, that his Grandfather's money would allow him to continue living in the lifestyle to which he had become accustomed. But what Red left him was anything but simple. Red instead devised a plan for Jason to experience a crash course on life. Twelve tasks, which Red calls "gifts," each challenging Jason in an improbable way, the accumulation of which would change him forever. Written by Sajbel, Michael O.
Let me just say what an AMAZING movie this is!!!! You must rent/borrow/buy/Netflix/RedBox/steal (ok maybe not that last one) this movie. I would also suggest you have a box of Kleenex with you when you watch it. (I pretty much cried through most of it - but I also think I'm a little hormonal right now) This is a movie about what is really important in life and how easy it is to lose sight of those things. I plan on getting the book this week. I usually like to read the book before seeing the movie, so I hope I'm not disappointed.