On Wednesday night I finally finished Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert. It took me a good month or so to get through it, as I'm also reading the final Harry Potter with my husband (I won't even tell you how long we've been working on THAT title - but we're almost done with it, too!).
As I read the last few pages of Eat, Pray, Love, I was struck with a mixture of a sense of accomplishment and a profound sadness. Sure, it was great to finish the year's excursion with Gilbert. For 109 chapters and an epilogue of sorts, I followed her through a remarkable year of self-discovery and healing, living vicariously through her as she ate her way through Italy (reminiscing about my own summer there), struggled with silence and inner calm in India (she's so much stronger than she initially gave herself credit for!), and then allowed herself to find a new life balance in Bali (I'm ready to sign myself up for a trip there!). Through her candid and familiar voice I felt like her confidant and, as Anne of Green Gables would say, a bosom friend. And then, as quickly as the friendship began (ie., the introduction of the book), it ended (ie, the last page). Hence my sadness.
And so, while the journey was a fantastic one (I can't tell you how many times I laughed out loud), finishing it was a bit like returning home after a short vacation - you have great memories, but you wish it could last just a bit longer OR maybe just start planning the next one. That's what great writing does.