Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Book Review: Eat, Pray, Love, by Elizabeth Gilbert

The impact of this book was so totally unexpected.  I thought Eat, Pray, Love was this girly book about some woman who got a divorce and traveled the world to “find herself.”  It was so much more than that. I’m really leery of memoirs. There aren’t many that I’ve liked, and most I haven’t been able to finish.  I just can’t read 300 pages about “this is what happened to me and you should think it’s really exciting and important.”  I’m a hard sell.  So when my daughter told me to read this, I put it off for a while. This book left me speechless. But I’m going to write this anyway.

First of all, Elizabeth Gilbert is a genius.  You can tell from the way she writes that she is very intelligent and insightful.  The descriptions, the metaphors, the turns of phrase are captivating.  This is a book to savor.  There were sentences and paragraphs that I read over and over.  And, you have to understand that I read FAST and sometimes skip the lengthy, boring descriptions, so this was an entirely new reading experience for me.

So yes, she is suffering through a divorce, and depression associated with her life. She is the definition of miserable, and even contemplates harming herself.  She decides to take a year to travel to three different places, for three different reasons.  Now, she’s traveled a lot, been a successful writer, and got a publisher to underwrite her trip so she could write this book.  But trust me—that doesn’t matter.

I usually don’t give much of a summary.  After all, you are supposed to read this book, and I don’t want to tell you the story.  So I’ll try to be brief-but I’ve got to convince you.

I’ve been to Rome and Venice, so her descriptions were wonderful – put me right back there. Italy is about her pursuit of pleasure – and she has a wonderful time, literally eating her way through that country and trying to learn the language. She begins to heal, but still has a lot to discover after four months in this country.

She wants to go to India to live in an Ashram run by a Guru that one of her friends introduced her to back in New York.  This is about her pursuit of devotion.  I couldn’t believe how spiritual, but not preachy, this book is.  I had hoped this would be a tour of the neat places in India, but it was about her journey to God, and it was warm and touching to read.  And it helps that the Ashram is full of very colorful, unique people.  I can always read about the country, India, in another book.

Bali (in Indonesia) is her quest for balance.  She had met a medicine man in Bali on a previous trip, and he asked her to return.  She meets wonderful friends and truly discovers happiness in many different aspects of her life here.

I haven’t seen this movie yet (thank goodness).  I don’t think there’s any way it can convey even a small part of what is in this book.  I’m going to give it a try, though.

You have to read this.  I can’t describe it for you, because I don’t write like Elizabeth Gilbert! After I finished this book I wanted to shout, “THIS IS WHY I LOVE BOOKS!!!”

As a note, the “Pray” on the cover is written with a japa mala, which she explains in the introduction of the book.  I counted – there are 109 beads.

Published by Penguin in 2006
Copy purchased
331 Pages
Rating: 5/5

What books have made you scream, "THIS IS WHY I LOVE BOOKS!"? 

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  1. I never read memoir and had absolutely no interest in this book despite, or maybe a little because of all the hoopla surrounding it. But your review has made me think I should probably give it a try.

  2. I usually love memoirs, but I tried reading this book when it first was published and I hated it. I read a chunk of it but it was of no interest for me, but I am glad you enjoyed it!

  3. I also thought this book sounded preachy but I may just give a try. I love that it made you remember why you love books! For me, it would be any of my A+ reviewed ones :D

  4. I actually liked this one as well! I found a lot more within the pages than I thought I would! Everyone talked about it being selfish and blah blah blah...but it's a's about her life journey whatever that might be and however she might go about it. I really enjoyed her writing style and the adventure she took me on with her. I lived vicariously through her..and I was envious because sometimes I just want to run off and explore the globe in order to fix my life problems! :)

  5. This is an excellent review. You certainly expressed your joy of reading this.

    PS Stop over at my blog, I'm having a giveaway of "The Lincoln Lawyer" in hardback.

  6. Must be an enjoyable read Eat Pray Love by Elizabeth Gilbert. loved the way you wrote it. I find your review very genuine and orignal, this book is going in by "to read" list.


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