Tuesday, 26 October 2010

Audiobook: Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert

Due to the loss of my 2 hours a day of commute time (read: reading time) this poor little corner of the blogosphere has been severely neglected of late. Nowadays I walk to work, 40 minutes each way. I decided to stop using that as an excuse not to absorb books in the sponge-like fashion of my commuting days; so downloaded the audiobook version of Eat, Pray, Love (if you’ve never heard of it, welcome back to Earth! We missed you!) read by the author Elizabeth Gilbert.

This was a perfect introduction to the world of audiobooks. Eat, Pray, Love is the personal story of Gilbert’s emotional journey over one year of travel, food and finding god, so it was only fitting that it was read by her and luckily, very well. She imbues all of her speech with the same passion, insight, wit and honesty that is so evident in her writing (and one of the reasons she is an international bestselling author now), creating a conversational, convivial feel which makes you giggle with her and share her heartaches, confusions and bliss as if they were your own.

After a traumatic divorce and a long battle with depression, Gilbert extracts herself from her life to spend four months in Rome in pursuit of pleasure, four months in India in pursuit of god, and four months in Bali in pursuit of the balance between the two. The exact thing she is searching for throughout the book is what makes her writing so lovely – the combination of opulence and indulgence and raw emotional honesty gives the story real balance. It is not a frivolous romp of lavishness, nor is it a demented self-help guide for chakra-cleansing hippies. Gilbert makes spirituality appealing by being honest about who she is and how she got to be where she is. It helps that she is hilarious, sweet and modest, with a very cheeky sense of humour.

I loved the voices she did for different characters, and how expressive she was in general. Every implication of wry sarcasm, stifled laughter, bitterness, pain and everything else was there to be heard in her intonation and lilt, making a very personal journey an easily shared one. Honestly I’d recommend having a listen to the audiobook even if you’ve read the book, maybe if you’re planning on re-reading it. It is a true delight, adding another dimension of personality to a story already packed with punch and vitality and love.

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