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Eat, Pray, Love: One Woman's Search for…
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Eat, Pray, Love: One Woman's Search for Everything Across Italy, India and… (original 2006; edition 2007)

by Elizabeth Gilbert

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
15,853687111 (3.59)517
Member:AddictedToMorphemes
Title:Eat, Pray, Love: One Woman's Search for Everything Across Italy, India and Indonesia
Authors:Elizabeth Gilbert
Info:Penguin Books (2007), Paperback, 352 pages
Collections:Your library, Read but unowned
Rating:**
Tags:Read, Read in 2010

Work details

Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert (2006)

  1. 116
    Julie and Julia: 365 Days, 524 Recipes, 1 Tiny Apartment Kitchen by Julie Powell (heidialice)
  2. 51
    Committed: A Skeptic Makes Peace with Marriage by Elizabeth Gilbert (cafepithecus)
  3. 20
    Now is the Time to Open Your Heart by Alice Walker (aleahmarie)
    aleahmarie: An American woman reaching mid-life shrugs off all she has done in order to discover who she might be. Both stories resonate with spirituality, the feminine, and exotic travel.
  4. 20
    Dreaming in Hindi by Katherine Russell Rich (amyblue)
  5. 31
    How to Be Single by Liz Tuccillo (elizabeth.a.coates)
    elizabeth.a.coates: This is a way better book than Eat Pray Love. A similar premise but written well. The main character decides to go on a journey around the world and research how people are single in different countries. Humourous and endearing!
  6. 31
    A Thousand Days in Venice by Marlena de Blasi (infiniteletters)
  7. 20
    Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail by Cheryl Strayed (KatyBee)
    KatyBee: Another woman's search.
  8. 10
    Yoga Bitch: One Woman's Quest to Conquer Skepticism, Cynicism, and Cigarettes on the Path to Enlightenment by Suzanne Morrison (ainsleytewce)
  9. 32
    Mennonite in a Little Black Dress: A Memoir of Going Home by Rhoda Janzen (foggidawn)
    foggidawn: Both of these books deal with a woman looking for meaning and trying to deal with failed relationships in their past -- one travels the world, the other goes home, but both have written heartfelt and funny memoirs about the experience.
  10. 21
    Life of Pi by Yann Martel (FFortuna)
    FFortuna: Both deal with the same kind of mixed spirituality.
  11. 10
    A Woman Alone: Travel Tales from Around the Globe by Faith Conlon (PaperbackPirate)
    PaperbackPirate: I enjoyed this collection of short stories much more than Eat, Pray, Love.
  12. 10
    The View from Lazy Point: A Natural Year in an Unnatural World by Carl Safina (joririchardson)
  13. 10
    It sucked and then I cried by Heather Armstrong (spacepotatoes)
  14. 10
    Holy Cow: An Indian Adventure by Sarah Macdonald (VaterOlsen)
  15. 10
    The Sharper Your Knife, the Less You Cry: Love, Laughter, and Tears in Paris at the World's Most Famous Cooking School by Kathleen Flinn (DixonClassLibrary)
  16. 10
    Enlightenment for Idiots: A Novel by Anne Cushman (Katie_H)
  17. 10
    Extra Virgin: A Young Woman Discovers the Italian Riviera, Where Every Month Is Enchanted by Annie Hawes (Bcteagirl)
  18. 00
    The Server by Tim Parks (JuliaMaria)
  19. 00
    Broken: A Love Story by Lisa Jones (nancenwv)
  20. 11
    How Starbucks Saved My Life by Michael Gates Gill (lornay)
    lornay: both of them are about privileged people whose lives went down the tubes and were able to pull themselves up again.

(see all 25 recommendations)

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» See also 517 mentions

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Showing 1-5 of 656 (next | show all)
Eat, Pray, Love gained some notoriety a while ago – according to the other reviews, this is apparently due to, or the fault of, Oprah – but I managed to evade actually reading it. In recent weeks, however, it has been cropping up with alarming regularity, so I finally gave in and read it to see what the fuss was about.

334 pages later, and I still have no idea.

Elizabeth Gilbert begins by explaining the circumstances spurring her journey of self-discovery. Namely, a messy divorce and subsequent heartbreak with a fellow she moved in with immediately after the divorce. Heartbroken, she decides to commit the next year (four months each) to three areas of her life: the art of pleasure, devotion, and the balance between the two. Hence the title. The first book follows her experience in Italy, the second India, and the third, Indonesia.


The Italy section was probably the best, though this is not saying much. Gilbert maintains that she makes friends wherever she goes, and indeed, a few familiar faces crop up, but we learn almost nothing about them other than the most surface of details. Instead, it focuses on Gilbert. Fair enough, it is her memoir after all, but I can’t imagine describing myself to another person without mentioning my friends and family in great detail.

However, the main problem with this book is that there is no real sense of place. She mentions it constantly of course, peppering the prose with Italian phrases and passing references to the background fountains and piazzas, but most of it is spent in introspection that begins to blend into India that blends into Indonesia. The entire book might as well be her sitting in front of a green screen delivering a monologue while flickering images of the cities pass behind her. When she does focus on the city, she shines. Her description of Naples is exciting, fresh, and sharply painted. The faux history lessons, not so much, as there’s never a sense of connection to anything. This is a great achievement. I have never read anyone who wrote about Italy and didn’t manage to convey a sense of wonder, beauty, and romance, but somehow Gilbert manages it.

Another great achievement of hers is the way she has with words. For instance, I have never known someone to call themselves a “skeptic” twice and had such a fundamental misunderstanding of that word. In one scene, for instance, her friend tells her to make a petition to the universe to have her husband sign the divorce papers and have people sign it – imaginary, of course. As she adds more and more, she grows delirious, and miraculously, her lawyer calls to say it was signed!


Coincidence? Yes, certainly, but Gilbert maintains that it is some cosmic, magical thing that happened. Her description of “reaching enlightenment” was more embarrassing than enlightening. She is so frightfully earnest about some things that I was squirming with discomfort; here is a woman who, despite the occasional wisecrack, took herself so seriously that it was like watching someone burst into tears in a public restaurant and uncomfortably trying to shush them. Maybe if I just keep flipping the pages, she’ll stop.

She didn’t.

Overall, however, the main thing is that it was dull. The India one was the worst, honestly, broken up only by the trenchant and hilarious comments of Richard from Texas (represent, Richard!). There is only so much you can say about a place where you spend six hours a day in a dark room meditating, and another five scrubbing floors, and what there is to say certainly should not take 92 pages. Someone elsewhere mentioned that this is the stuff of personal journals, not published books, and that is the most accurate description I have found. I have no delusions that my ramblings, musings, and insecurities would be interesting to anyone else, but apparently that was only because I wasn’t in an exotic locale when I wrote them. The entire premise was also based on a paradox – a memoir is naturally self-centered. Enlightenment, in my humble opinion, is not. If anything, the more traditional definition of enlightenment is the exact opposite. So the book was doomed to fail: how can you write a personal tale of finding enlightenment? Isn’t that contradictory?

I will say that Gilbert’s writing, at least, is fluid, and I can almost dredge up some grudging respect for the idea. Others have commented that she was selfish in the divorce, but I will caution that she fully noted in the beginning that she thought it was an invasion of her ex-husband’s privacy to drag the entire situation out, so I won’t judge her on that. And who hasn’t felt lost at some point at their life, unsure of where to go or who they are? That I can grant her. But, as I mentioned, this is diary fodder, not the makings of a great book. I could just never fully connect with her.

Maybe I lack the life experience to appreciate or sympathize, but I think this book simply filled a niche for bored housewives who always dreamed of going to exotic places and having no responsibilities beyond finding a hunky Brazilian lover. Even then, however, I have to question why they would want to wade through 334 pages of someone navel-gazing and only occasionally looking out at the scenery.
( )
  kittyjay | Apr 23, 2015 |
This woman will believe anything and everything! It's ironic that she calls herself a skeptic in her next book. I knew what I was getting into on this one; having watched the movie but I was hoping after enjoying the author's other book that this would be a better read. It wasn't. For all the world traveling, it came out dull and uninteresting. She uncritical about woo woo but hyper-critical about herself and her personal interactions. That's not a very wise way to live and it doesn't make for a very inspiring story. ( )
  jimocracy | Apr 18, 2015 |
This book was interesting, but at times it annoyed me because (1) the language was too poetic for me and (2) I found the woman annoying because she was not happy with how things are and was not comfortable in her own skin. ( )
  KamGeb | Apr 5, 2015 |
My attention flagged as soon as the Eating part was over. ( )
  JMlibrarian | Mar 3, 2015 |
I REALLY liked listening to this being read by Elizabeth Gilbert herself. I felt that since SHE wrote this, she knew exactly the tone of voice she meant and it made more emotional (humorous, serious, curious, suspenseful, frustrating) in the passages she meant as such. ( )
  olongbourn | Mar 1, 2015 |
Showing 1-5 of 656 (next | show all)
Gilbert is suffering from shattered confidence. Who hasn't been there? Who hasn't cried on a bathroom floor, sure that our life is over at 32? Gilbert's beauty is that she isn't exceptional; she's just an ordinary gal with a broken heart and gift for writing.
 
Lacking a ballast of gravitas or grit, the book lists into the realm of magical thinking: nothing Gilbert touches seems to turn out wrong; not a single wish goes unfulfilled. What's missing are the textures and confusion and unfinished business of real life, as if Gilbert were pushing these out of sight so as not to come off as dull or equivocal or downbeat.
 
This book started out as the movie did, interesting, exciting, and drew me in but the
story kind of fell flat at the end for me. I was
disappointed even though I did understand that
this woman was going through a life changing
process.
added by Writer300 | editNew Westminister Library, Writer300
 
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Epigraph
Tell the truth, tell the truth, tell the truth.
----Sheryl Louise Moller
Dedication
For Susan Brown--
who provided refuge
even from 12,000 miles away
First words
When you're traveling in India -- especially through holy sites and Ashrams -- you see a lot of people wearing beads around their necks.
Quotations
When I get lonely these days, I think: So be lonely, Liz. Learn your way around loneliness. Make a map of it. Sit with it, for once in your life. Welcome to the human experience. But never again use another person's body or emotions as a scratching post for your own unfulfilled yearnings.
...I don't care how diligently scholars of every religion will try to sit you down with their stacks of books and prove to you through scripture that their faith is indeed rational; it isn't. If faith were rational, it wouldn't be—by definition—faith. Faith is belief in what you cannot see or prove or touch. Faith is walking face-first and full-speed into the dark.
Man is neither entirely a puppet of the gods, nor is he entirely the captain of his own destiny; he's a little of both.
Culturally, though not theologically, I'm a Christian.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Book description
Op haar dertigste heeft Elizabeth alles wat een moderne vrouw zich maar kan wensen: een echtgenoot, een huis en een succesvolle carrière. Maar in plaats van gelukkig te zijn wordt ze overspoeld door paniek, verdriet en verwarring. 
Twee jaar later, na een bittere echtscheiding en een hevige depressie, besluit Elizabeth een radicale stap te nemen: ze gaat een jaar lang alleen op reis. Op haar zoektocht naar evenwicht en geluk doet ze drie landen aan. In Italië leert ze la dolce vita kennen, in India verdiept ze zich in meditatie en schrobt ze tempelvloeren, en in Indonesië ontdekt ze de balans tussen ernst en lichtvoetigheid – en ontmoet ze haar grote liefde.
Haiku summary

Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0143038419, Paperback)

This beautifully written, heartfelt memoir touched a nerve among both readers and reviewers. Elizabeth Gilbert tells how she made the difficult choice to leave behind all the trappings of modern American success (marriage, house in the country, career) and find, instead, what she truly wanted from life. Setting out for a year to study three different aspects of her nature amid three different cultures, Gilbert explored the art of pleasure in Italy and the art of devotion in India, and then a balance between the two on the Indonesian island of Bali. By turns rapturous and rueful, this wise and funny author (whom Booklist calls “Anne Lamott’s hip, yoga- practicing, footloose younger sister”) is poised to garner yet more adoring fans.

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:33:20 -0400)

(see all 8 descriptions)

Traces the author's decision to quit her job and travel the world for a year after suffering a midlife crisis and divorce, a journey that took her to three places in her quest to explore her own nature and learn the art of spiritual balance.

(summary from another edition)

» see all 19 descriptions

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