Change of Perspective

Musings on Writing, Reading, and Life Narratives

Fiction writers and literary critics speak of point of view. Social scientists are more likely to discuss perspective. But both of these terms refer to essentially the same construct: the consciousness behind the perception and narration of experience. Each individual’s point of view is unique, and point of view shapes the stories people tell to themselves and to others about themselves and their relationships with their environment. The same event narrated from two different perspectives will produce two different stories.

A change of perspective can expand our perception and reframe our thinking about our experiences. We can all benefit from an occasional change of perspective.

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Saturday, November 10, 2007

Book Review: Eat, Pray, Love

Gilbert, Elizabeth. Eat, Pray, Love
New York: Viking, 2006

ISBN 978-07394-7418-1

Highly recommended

Read this book!

That's it. There's nothing else to say.

Well, OK, you're right. I need to tell you a little more about this book.

After a very messy divorce, writer Elizabeth Gilbert found herself in a deep depression. With her publisher's advance for the book she would write in her bank account, she set off on a year's trip around the world in search of inner peace and balance. She began in Italy, where she went to learn to speak what she calls the most beautiful language in the world. The Italian language and pasta: she calls this four-month period her Pursuit of Pleasure. Next she went to India to practice meditation at the ashram of her guru, whom she had met when the guru came to speak in the United States. These four months were her Pursuit of Devotion. Finally, in the Pursuit of Balance, she went to Bali, Indonesia, to learn about love from an old medicine man she had met two years earlier.

Italy, India, and Indonesia: Gilbert says it's appropriate that her three destinations begin with I, since it's a journey of self-exploration and self-discovery she's on. Some people who commented on this book on Amazon complained that they would have liked more about the countries Gilbert was visiting and less of her thoughts. To those people I would say: You're looking for the travel section, not the memoir section of the bookstore. Gilbert is just as interested--probably more interested--in her internal journey as in the scenery and the local color. This is what memoir writers do: They think about the significance of their experiences and look for personal meaning in the world around them.

Gilbert is not only an incredibly gifted writer. She's also a profound thinker. Anyone interested in reading about more than scenery will appreciate the significance of her journey and will be grateful of the opportunity to share it with her.

© 2007 by Mary Daniels Brown

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