Tuesday, August 07, 2007

Eat, Pray, Love

Ok, so I almost named this post "Eat, Pray, Love it!" But I restrained myself. But that's how I feel....FINALLY! I feel like it's been a while since I've really loved a book, probably since reading The Kite Runner (so glad you liked it, too, Amanda! I have broken the "Running with Scissors" curse!). But now I'm back on track and am very happy to post that this book is everything it's cracked up to be. When I first started reading it I didn't realize it was a memoir - even mom said "It's fiction?" and I was adament that it was...but I'm an idiot. It's a memoir.
The way Elizabeth Gilbert writes is infectous, I was immediately engrossed with the story from the first chapter. And while I was a bit distracted by all of the excitement of a little redheaded 1.5 year old when I first picked up the book, once Amanda and Katie left, I read the rest of the book in a day.
It's the story of Elizabeth Gilbert (duh) and her struggle to find herself after going through a divorce at 30 years old. She decides to take the next year of her life and devote it to travel - and she chooses Italy, India, and Indonesia (for lots of reasons that you can get from the book, should you choose to read it). She lives in each place for 4 months and finds love - love for good food, her spirituality, and...well, love (hence, the name). It actually reminded me a lot of some discussions that Amanda and I had about religion and spirituality when she was visiting and she asks a lot of the same questions that I've asked myself over the years. But the way she goes about her journey is envious and very cool. She actually has inspired me to start learning Spanish again (she learned Italian, but I'll go back to my high school roots). And I think that really is what sums up the book the best - besides the fact that it's just a wonderfully colorful, well-told story, it's inspirational and I found myself rejuvinated after reading it.
I highly recommend this book to Amanda. I think Dad will probably pass, and Mom is 50/50. But it's a keeper in my personal library - that's for sure!

Saturday, August 04, 2007

The Kite Runner

The Kite Runner
Originally uploaded by i-Topographies
Before I start, Becky, you did a great review on this book a while ago which is why I picked it up in the first place. Comparisons to Running With Scissors notwithstanding (graphic violence, child abuse, taking me out of my element,) this book was worth the emotionally grueling journey. I was stunned that about every 3 pages something heartwrenching happened - not for effect, but because it was what had to happen. This is how people lived and still live in so many parts of the world.
I think the unrelenting brutality and perpetual suffering, both emotionally and physically, was the most difficult part of this book for me. Things seemed to stay bad for so long. Is that an analogy for Afghanistan itself, and perhaps the Middle East as a region? I remember on page 272 I said, "Finally, something hopeful has happened." I was elated. And I think that's how many Afghanis must feel about their situation. But every time they cling to that little bit of hope, somehow it's dashed away.
One of the best things about this book, other than the superb, spare writing, was the way I really began to understand someone else's suffering. As frustrated as I occasionally was with the narrator, I had to ask myself if I would have acted any differently if I was in his shoes? Who would I be if I'd grown up in his world? I have a deeper understanding and a much broader perspective on Afghanis lives. When will things get better, when will they change? I don't know.
This was one of those wonderful fiction books that brought you closer to truth than any biography ever could. Highly recommended!