Eat Pray Love by Elizabeth Gilbert

Book Cover: Eat Pray LoveSo I am probably the last one in the blogosphere to read Eat Pray Love by Elizabeth Gilbert. Honestly, I just hate seeing a book that is everywhere in the stores and that is all over the bestseller lists and all over the web and being in the dark. This one did have me curious and I simply wanted to see what all the fuss was about. My mom just recently read this book and RAVED about it. She loved it so much that she wants to promptly start over and of course, my mom is a big Oprah fan and thought Elizabeth Gilbert was just “delightful” when she saw her on the program.

Let’s be honest. It took me a good three weeks to read this book which roughly translates into forever! And it probably would have taken me another three weeks if it weren’t for the fact that it was due at the library and I couldn’t renew it. So I pushed through and made it to the end. And since I’m being truthful I don’t see myself adding this to my library, but if I came across a immaculate secondhand copy for a dollar I just might buy it simply so my sister could borrow it. I’m sure she would appreciate and enjoy this book much more than I did.

In this memoir, Elizabeth Gilbert is having a major mental breakdown and panic attack. She wants out of her marriage, has no desire to have kids and basically spends every night crying on her bathroom floor, to which I thought, eeewwww, that’s really gross. Why the bathroom floor?  After her bitter divorce, heartbroken with the man she had an affair with, and deeply depressed she decides to drop everything and sets out to “find herself.” She decides that this can be done by taking a year off from life and simply traveling! Now this is where I got really jealous. What fun! To have the time, money, and resources to just travel. I haven’t been anywhere!   Time out for a pity party for me. Okay, done now, let’s move on.

So she sets out to discover pleasure in Italy, devotion in India, and balance between the two in Indonesia. And it didn’t hurt that her publishers had already offered her a book deal about her experiences before she left, which leaves me to beg the question: did the book come out of her experiences or did she create her experiences to write this book? Makes me wonder . . .Elizabeth Gilbert

We begin in Italy where I began to get really hungry. Elizabeth Gilbert basically eats for four months! What I wouldn’t give to eat out everyday on wonderful food and feel good about it! I just wanted to reach through the pages of the book, pull her plate off of the table and devour it myself.

In India, Gilbert spends time learning how to meditate and draw closer to God by living in an ashram. I understood her desire to use meditation and prayer to draw closer to God. Even in my faith, we go to the temple for this purpose, but I thought her little pep talks to herself were odd. It’s as almost as if she had two personalities. And she has a desire to make out with trees. Very odd indeed.

In Indonesia, she simply steps off the plane and begins her search for a medicine man whom she had met years earlier. I couldn’t believe how brave she was. Since I’ve never traveled, I couldn’t imagine arriving somewhere with absolutely no plans. One, she’s by herself. Two, she has no idea where she’s staying. Three, she doesn’t even know if this guy is even alive. Sounds like fun except for the fact that she’s traveling alone. I couldn’t do it. But everywhere she goes Elizabeth Gilbert makes best friends with everybody, so she’s never lonely for long. It’s also here that she meets her future husband and basically shuts herself in his bedroom where they have sex for what seems like months on end.

So probably not the best in depth review but those were some of my thoughts as I read the book. The book gets pretty deep and philosophical as Gilbert takes us on her journey to discover herself. I had to keep reminding myself that this was Gilbert’s honest experience and not a self help guide for the rest of us, although we could glean some life lessons from it.

Some of my favorite quotes in Eat Pray Love:

The Lazio fans always stop here on their way home from the stadium to stand in the street for hours, leaning up against their motorcycles, talking about the game, looking macho as anything, and eating cream puffs.
I love Italy.

This was the only part of the book that I read out loud to my husband for this reason: He LOVES cream puffs. He said, yumm, I want a cream puff!

You gotta stop wearing your wishbone where your backbone oughtta be.

Richard from Texas says this one. Now this is something that I could see my mom saying. I’m sure she liked this line when she came across it. My brothers and sisters were all raised to be assertive and independent and there’s nothing that she has little patience for is someone who’s, well, for lack of a better word, a wuss.

Groceries [Richards name for Gilbert], you need to learn how to select your thoughts just the same you select what clothes you’re gonna wear every day. This is a power you can cultivate. if you want to control things in your life so bad, work on the mind [ . . . ] Because if you can’t learn to master your thinking, you’re in deep trouble forever.

Another one from Richard and another one that makes me think of my mom who is a firm believer in the law of attraction and the power of thoughts in your life. And, Mom, I do agree.

I’ve heard it said that prayer is the act of talking to God, while meditation is the act of listening. […] When I ask my mind to rest in stillness, it is astonishing how quickly it will turn 1) bored, 2) angry, 3) depressed, 4) anxious, or 5) all of the above.

I totally can relate to this one. I have awful habit of letting my mind wander during prayer. Need to work on this one.

Well. A word about masturbation . . .

And I’m not even going to finish it. Hated this paragraph. This was the worst passage from Eat Pray Love. She mentions towards the end of the book that she’s so embarrassed to have a bladder infection from having way too much sex, but yet she puts this in there. A little to honest for me! And I really don’t need to know.

I love you, I will never leave you, I will always take care of you.

This is the end result from Gilbert’s year long soul searching adventure. It’s what she says to herself. Not a bad end result.

So did I like it? Yes and no. It was fun to read about her adventures, the writing style was personable, she certainly learned a lot of lessons that we could all try to apply in our own lives. But there was something a bit irritating about it as well. I didn’t relate to her character very well. And perhaps, I was jealous of the opportunities that she had to travel abroad for so long.

Would I recommend it? Yes and no. Depends upon who you are and what your life experiences are like. That and you’re attitudes about life in general.

Feel free to debate in the comments!

Links of interest:  Elizabeth Gilbert website, Eat PrayLove – the moviemore book blogger reviews.
Genre: Non-fiction, Memoir
Publisher: Viking Adult. February 16, 2006.
Hardcover, 352 pages. ISBN 0670034711
Eat Pray Love is available from your favorite independent bookstore, Powell’s, and Amazon.
Updated to add:  Elizabeth Gilbert has a new book published titled Committed, which you may purchase here.

125 comments


  1. I mostly liked this book, but I didn’t LOVE it like everyone else (excluding you of course). I didn’t relate to Liz either–I’m young and newly married and haven’t gone through a lot of the heartache that she has. But, I found myself really liking Liz and wanting her to overcome her demons.

    Talking about jealous–my little sister (just graduated from college) has been living in Argentina for the past several months and plans to continue until she runs out of money. A few weeks ago she was traveling around Brazil (incidentally she is home in Texas right now), and next week she will be cavorting around in Colombia. When I graduated from college it was stressed that I buckle down and get a job and so here I am. Thanks for letting me rant a little about my secret jealousy. :)

    on February 29th, 2008 at 6:36 pm
  2. Personally, I was one of those people who really loved it. Mostly because I have been where she was (sort of) emotionally and I could totally understand why she took such a journey to heal herself. At the same time, I am in awe of her that she could do such a thing because I could NEVER have that kind of courage to do what she did. So I think that’s why I loved it so much, but I can see some of your points about too much information, etc.

    on February 29th, 2008 at 7:57 pm
  3. Trish – Feel free to come over here and rant anytime! One day, you and I, will travel! Don’t give up.

    Heather – My mom loved it too and when my sister gets around to reading it, trust me, she’s gonna love it! It’s still number one on the New York Times bestseller list so obviously a lot of people loved this book! I would recommend it, but I do think some would be better able to relate to it than others.

    on February 29th, 2008 at 10:07 pm
  4. You’re not the last person who hasn’t red this book, but I may be. And, I don’t think that’s going to change any time soon. The travel parts sound great but the rest, not so much.

    on February 29th, 2008 at 11:18 pm
  5. Thanks for your honest review. I wasn’t overly a big fan of the book either, though there were aspects I enjoyed. I also asked the question you asked: did the book come out of her experiences or did she create her experiences to write this book? Which kinda took the edge of the whole thing being a true “adventure”. Great review.

    on March 1st, 2008 at 2:47 am
  6. Followed you here from Semicolon. I loved Eat Pray Love, but I know many who didn’t. Entertainment Weekly had an interesting blurb from two of the reviewers on it recently, one who loved, one who hated. I think it hinges on whether you “like” the “character” of Liz. If you think she’s too honest, or selfish, or whatever, then the book falls flat. But if you see her as someone you’d like to be friends with, then it feels like you’re having a conversation with a close friend.

    on March 1st, 2008 at 9:40 am
  7. Interesting review. Yes, if you see a copy in the thrift store I’d love to read it.

    I laughed about the crying on the bathroom floor scene. I haven’t read the book yet, but I wondered if it is because she has kids. (It doesn’t sound like she did.) If so, that explains everything. It is sometimes the only room in the house that one can escape to without interruption. Well, except for that constant knock at the door, and the constant “Mom, I need you. When are you coming out?”

    I wonder about the book contracts influence as well. It had to have influence. But then again, the results may have been the same, or even better than if she didn’t have the book contract.

    I’ll let you know what I think when I finally get around to reading it.

    on March 1st, 2008 at 4:28 pm
  8. No, you are not the last one to read it. I would be, if I do. On my TBR list for so long. Just haven’t got to it yet.

    on March 1st, 2008 at 7:42 pm
  9. So I’d be really interested in hearing from people who were inspired enough by Elizabeth’s adventures to take there own…Anyone????

    on March 3rd, 2008 at 1:27 pm
  10. Framed – There probably is more philosophy than travel overall. Especially the middle section in India where she doesn’t really go anywhere.

    Jane – I think I took everything with a grain of salt because I wasn’t quite sure where her experiences were really coming from. Thanks for your comment.

    Girl Detective – Welcome! Glad you found me! I’ve heard many people say in their reviews that they felt like she was their best friend by the time they finished reading the book. And then I’ve heard others who said they couldn’t stand how much she whined. It does all depend. I was lukewarm, the whole time. Didn’t hate her, didn’t love her either.

    Leisa – No, she has no kids. In fact that’s why she’s crying on the bathroom floor to begin with. Her husband wants kids, she absolutely does not. So they’re fighting. She has the roam of the whole house and still ends up in the bathroom. Not just the bathroom, but the floor. I look forward to your review!

    Guatami – Glad to know I wasn’t the last! I’ll make sure to read your review when you finally do.

    Anne – Welcome! I was on the Oprah site looking at some of the Elizabeth Gilbert tidbits, and she mentioned that quite a few people have taken their own journeys. Some of their own and some have duplicated exactly what she’s done. All the way to eating at the same restaurants in Italy, staying at the same ashram in India, and meeting the same medicine man in Indonesia. What I wouldn’t give to take a year off from “life” and just travel. Sounds divine! I would also be curious if anybody else has gone to such extreme measures to “find oneself.”

    on March 3rd, 2008 at 2:12 pm
  11. Natasha, thanks for your comment on my review of Gilbert! Glad to have someone to discuss this with.

    I think you encapsulated my overall response when you said above that “this was Gilbert’s honest experience and not a self help guide for the rest of us, although we could glean some life lessons from it.” People who take it as a blueprint are missing Gilbert’s (in my opinion, mistaken) assertion that everyone needs to find their own religion in their own way. But she does ask a lot of great questions about the nature and practice of spiritual commitments, and I hope readers will take the opportunity to think about those things for themselves.

    P.S. I haven’t undertaken a pilgrimage like hers, but just over a year ago I did quit my job in a spiritually-oppressive environment and set out to make it as a full-time writer, while seeking to deepen my relationship with God via some new (to me) practices, such as fixed-hour prayer and high church worship. So I think even if one can’t up and leave the country for a year, there are plenty of ways to re-examine life and be more deliberate in one’s spiritual journey. If Gilbert’s book helps people think about that, it’s been beneficial.

    on March 4th, 2008 at 11:20 am
  12. Thanks for visiting my blog and commenting on Eat, Pray, Love . It looks like we had similar reactions.

    I think it would be great to leave the country and go on a spiritual pilgrimage – its just that most of us have things holding us here – like children! LOL.

    I noticed in your PS that you’ve been on a spiritual pilgrimage of sorts too. I have as well and I wonder if that is what appealed to us in the book – even though we would disagree with Ms. Gilbert’s conclusions.

    anyway, thanks so much for commenting. I’m enjoying wandering around your blog.

    on March 26th, 2008 at 10:07 am
  13. I like Richard from Texas. He’s pretty funny.

    on April 6th, 2008 at 4:45 pm
  14. I was one of the people who loved the book, it was possibly my favorite book the year I read it- well before it was a best seller or Oprah book. I just stumbled across it at the library. I liked the first two parts best, and actually got a little tired of Richard, but overall loved the book.

    The bathroom floor- I spent a lot of time crying in the bathroom at the end of my first marriage. We had no children. The bathroom is where you can expect no interruptions and if you get too loud you can run a bath for cover noise.

    on April 26th, 2008 at 5:45 pm
  15. Mindy – Wow, didn’t realize I never responded to this. Thanks for your comments. I agree that people need to find out what works for them. I’ve heard some people say that this is their new Bible, which I think is just wrong!

    DebD – Thanks.

    LisaMM – They had Richard from Texas on Oprah. I think it would have been funnier if he had written the India section!

    Lisa – I hadn’t thought of the running water to cover up the noise. I’m just a bit of a germa-phobic, so I was a little grossed out.

    on April 26th, 2008 at 10:59 pm
  16. It seems like everyone has read this book but me. Gotta get it!

    on April 27th, 2008 at 5:15 am
  17. I have just started to read this and I love it. So, you weren’t the last.. LOL

    on May 5th, 2008 at 8:21 am
  18. I liked Eat, Pray, Love at first but it got rather boring after a while. Listening to a woman whine about her life, while getting paid to get on with her life just seemed a little frustrating.

    It just seemed like she was writing a book to get paid for living. Something we all do we just don’t have the benefit of a publisher paying us while we are doing it.

    I felt the book was a waste of time and money.

    on May 18th, 2008 at 6:28 pm
  19. I could not go beyond the misuse and misquote of R.E.M. lyrics. This book didn’t work for me at all. I’m quite frankly glad that I didn’t make it to the self-pleasuring portion of the book. Perhaps taking Losing My Religion in vain saved me from that. :)

    on May 20th, 2008 at 8:34 pm
  20. Tracee – I don’t think there is any hurry to get to it.

    Secret Agent Mama – Hi, I’m glad you stopped by. I look forward to your review.

    Lisa – I felt the same way in regards to did the book deal influence her experiences or did the experiences influence the book. I read a library copy and don’t feel a need to have this one in my own collection.

    Jennifer – I didn’t even notice nor remember REM lyrics, but it did save you for masturbation stories which frankly I could have done without!

    on May 21st, 2008 at 12:58 pm
  21. Apparently you aren’t the last because I am reading it now and like your review, it’s good but not a HUGe winner. I like some of the quotes you chose. I plan to write a review very similiar to yours when I am through with this.

    on May 23rd, 2008 at 3:18 pm
  22. Marni – Some people are claiming this is their new bible. Which if you ask me is just plain scary and stupid! If was interesting but a lot of what she said isn’t for me, while some of it was.

    on May 27th, 2008 at 10:34 pm
  23. Okay, had DID she pay for the trip?

    on July 2nd, 2008 at 4:34 pm
  24. This is the most in-depth review I’ve read of this book, and the most straightforward and clear. I have not read the book myself, and to be honest, I’m steering clear of it. I’m not an Oprah fan, and I tend to distrust most of the books she promotes on her show. Plus, while the theme of this book sounds interesting (as you put it: pleasure in Italy, devotion in India, balance of both in Indonesia), I’m wary of books that ascribe one perspective or way of life to one country. I don’t think it’s that simple.

    on August 2nd, 2008 at 10:46 pm
  25. Well I guess I am the last one to read Eat, Pray, Love. I loved the book. I felt like I was traveling with Gilbert all over and back. I could relate to her in many ways. But I have kids and love being a mother. I’m not like her in many respects, but I really appreciated her journey and found it most interesting.
    I bought a book to a friend and realized how many could view her as selfish and be turned out by the book. But like it was said in the book (not sure of the correct quote but something like) “The only way we can make a diference in this world is by working on improving ourselves”. And I totally agree!
    I loved the fact that you quoted many of my favorite quotes, they were so fascinating.
    I love your blog it’s awesome!
    Sorry I took so long to discover this book and blog. But here I am today. Better late than never.
    And finally, if you really felt this book was oversold. I am interested in finding out what books you really loved.

    on August 9th, 2008 at 6:49 pm
  26. Mgirl – Her publisher paid for the trip. She already had the book deal before she even left!

    M – Thanks! I actually like most of the books that Oprah pushes. While reading this book you have to realize that it’s her story and not a self help book. I think that’s the way a lot of people want to view it as and it just doesn’t work.

    Ana – I’m a mother as well, so it was hard to relate to her not wanting kids. I thought it was weird that she thought she had to be completely in love with the unborn child before it was even born to even considering actually conceiving that child. Most mothers know that this is not the case. For me, I fell in love when I first laid eyes on my little ones. Hmm . . . what books do I really love? That’s a big question. How about books that I really love that I’ve read just this year? That way I can narrow it down. I loved What is the What by Dave Eggers, Sold by Patricia McCormick, Left to Tell by Immaculee Illibagazia, Elijah of Buxton by Christopher Paul Curtis, The Book Thief by Marcus Zusak, and many, many more. You can see a list of all of my reviews by clicking on “Reading List” in the header above. It gives you an idea of what I’ve been reading. And oh, welcome to my blog!

    on August 9th, 2008 at 11:27 pm
  27. [...] EAT, PRAY, LOVE, by Elizabeth Gilbert. A writer’s yearlong journey in search of self takes her to Italy, India and Indonesia. [...]

    on August 17th, 2008 at 12:01 am
  28. This book as amazing. I have read it at least 10 times and it gives me a renewed sense of peace and hope every time I read it.

    on August 18th, 2008 at 1:42 pm
  29. I actually ended up reading this book as well – never thought I would read a book like this in a million years! It wasn’t as good as I had anticipated, but it had some redeeming moments. More than anything I think the book is decent since it tells us to take a step back from ourselves and fix whatever is wrong with us internally. I reviewed it on my blog in case anyone is interested.

    http://lovelifeandthelawofattraction.blogspot.com/

    on August 18th, 2008 at 4:37 pm
  30. well Natasha I ONLY just read this book (so you’re not the last) and my thoughts were see-sawing between…wow this is some good shit *the Italy part* to would you hurry up all ready. I kinda figured it would have had a “happy ending” so much of it for me was surreal and kinda prolonging the inevitable.

    I had to remind myself often in the last 5 days it took me to read it (this is forever for me) that this was a real person.

    I did manage to identify with somethings she said: chp 48 made me have and “ah ha” moment! I went in search of more Sufi poetry and found some others that I quite like.

    And a word on the self-pleasuring paragraph I felt the same way about that as I did about Sidney Poitier in his autobio when he used the F word: totally unnecessary!

    It was an okay read…

    on August 22nd, 2008 at 6:00 am
  31. [...] could not help comparing this book to Elizabeth Gilbert’s Eat Pray Love (which I reviewed here). What a odd comparison right? One is about a woman overcoming depression and one is about a woman [...]

    on August 29th, 2008 at 9:53 pm
  32. seems like a really good book!!!

    on August 30th, 2008 at 3:27 pm
  33. Vernette – Aw man, I have his bio on my TBR list and I HATE that word!

    Wow, Oprah just reran the show and this was my most popular post today. Where are you people? Comments, thoughts? I’m all ears!

    on September 2nd, 2008 at 1:38 am
  34. I tried the audio version and couldn’t make it past the first disc. I think the self-centered-ness of it bothered me. The concept of “finding yourself” sounds great and important, but I tend to think it’s just a dream than can never be realized, and we would do just as well “losing” ourselves in loving others.

    on September 3rd, 2008 at 9:34 am
  35. I ignored this book for a long time. It’s the pick for my book club this month, so I felt I had to read it. eeeuuuwww…

    Some American women have the liberty and license to be so self-indulgent. And to be paid to be able to do so is really a travesty.

    She could have done something more useful to the world, to all of us, on her travels and with the $$$ she was given.

    Being paid to “go find yourself” and write about it is such a contradiction. The book needs a bigger disclaimer than the off hand remark that she lost her fortune and then regained it.

    I do not find her writing style interesting or otherwise appealing. Annoying is more like it…. exhibitionism, narcissism. There are so many better things to read!

    The perspective I bring to this includes being divorced, haggling over property, raising 4 boys, all some of my very best friends, traveling alone, traveling with others, going through major depressions, pulling out of major depressions, nearly dying on a remote Pacific island, trekking over an 18,500′ pass in the Himalayas to celebrate my 60th birthday… and working to make the world a better place… working to save ancient forests, taking high school kids to Costa Rica to work on a leatherback turtle research station, reforestation projects, living lightly on the planet…

    Spending time or money on Liz will not be on my list…

    on September 4th, 2008 at 3:26 pm
  36. Richard from Texas definitely had the best lines in this one. :)

    You are not the last to read, because I just did for the New Classics Challenge. I would definitely not consider this a new classic, however.

    My even more “less in depth” review.

    on September 4th, 2008 at 4:48 pm
  37. Chain Reader – I do think that we need to take time out for ourselves every once in awhile, but I do agree that our greatest happiness comes from serving others.

    Moondog – It sounds like you have the makings of a book yourself! Ever thought of it?

    Mari – I don’t think it should be a classic either.

    on September 4th, 2008 at 7:23 pm
  38. This book was recommended to me by a friend before she read it. When we last spoke, she said that she started to read it, but just couldn’t get through it. I just picked the book up at the library today so will give it a go, but I have a sneaking suspicion that I will not be able to get through it either, but I’ll give it a shot…

    on September 4th, 2008 at 11:12 pm
  39. This book has really had an effect on me. In my dreams, i felt like i was at the Ashram and actually dreamed some of the book before i read it. Maybe this is why it is on the best sellers list

    on September 6th, 2008 at 3:54 pm
  40. Wow!!! Finally a positive comment on the book. I loved this book as well. I don’t understand those of you who couln’t read it. I think it is full of insight into humanity, how God is in each and one of us, as to other cultures. I hope someday to be able to travel to the far east. There is so much wisdom and so much we could learn from traditions that have been around for thousands of years. I think that this is the time in Americas life that we have to be open to other ideas and traditions. We need to step back and look at the wisdom of other cultures that have been around a lot longer than ours and try to learn something that can improve the quality of our lives.
    I wish all of you could find peace inside yourselves and look past the fact that she “got paid to right this book and travel”. These comments are so materialistic and superficial it bothers me that people are so jealouse and mean spirited.
    I wish all of you could get whatever will make you trully happy human beings.

    on September 6th, 2008 at 4:31 pm
  41. Howdy! Interesting comments and insights. Think I’ll try my local library.
    Would be interested in hearing more from Moondog. Her name has much history, esp. in worlds of jazz and mythology. The brief bio she wrote makes me want to read her book and celebrate the amazing things she has done, even though there appears to be a hint of jealousy in her words.

    on September 6th, 2008 at 4:45 pm
  42. I’m halfway through “Eat, Pray, Love” and am thoroughly enjoying it so far. I don’t need to directly relate to Gilbert on every level to appreciate her personal pains, pleasures, insights, and her beautifully crafted words and story. Quite frankly, I have a harder time relating to someone whose bathroom floor is so filthy that she can’t imagine sinking to her knees there in a moment of despair, and so uptight that she’s offended by discussion of masturbation. Sheesh.

    on September 11th, 2008 at 9:59 pm
  43. Louisa – I’m glad you were able to relate to it.

    Ana – I still wish I could get paid to write and travel. Sounds like a dream job to me.

    Dodie – Thanks for commenting. Moondog does sound interesting.

    Kate – It’s true, I have no desire to lay on my bathroom floor but that doesn’t mean I keep a filthy house. Scrubbed the toilet today in fact. If I’m going to sit down and have a good cry, I think I’d rather choose the couch. As far as masturbation, why would I want to read about Elizabeth Gilbert “pleasuring” herself? Do I really need that picture in my head? No thank you.

    on September 11th, 2008 at 10:13 pm
  44. This is such a unrealistic book. I don’t know how many people can just drop everything for a year to go and “find themselves”. Most people have responsibilities like bills to pay, family etc etc. I really don’t know what people like so much about this book. I am happy for her that she had the opportunity to do all that but really lets get serious. I agree with the others about the masterbation part she should have left that part out.

    on September 12th, 2008 at 1:15 pm
  45. I think most people need to lighten up. I feel it is a nice story about a woman who sets out to help heal her emotional self. I enjoyed her journey, yes it was a little slow at times but every moment leads to the end.It is inspiring to most of us and makes you laugh and cry. Try not to read so much into it.

    on September 15th, 2008 at 7:41 am
  46. Just curious… wondering about the divide on positives and negatives… how many of the positives lived through the ’60′s, the re-birth of the women’s movement, have had families, have weathered separations, are peri or post menopausal, and have had their own adventures in faraway places, on their own, financially and emotionally? and how many of the negatives are under 30.. or under 40… who long to travel and “find themselves”…wondering if liking or not likeing the book is partially a generational and experience thing..

    I didn’t like the book. I found her website to be far more interesting and engaging, less full of hubris, than the book.

    on September 15th, 2008 at 9:57 am
  47. Lauren – It’s really easy to go find yourself when that’s your job. She had a book deal for the whole thing before she left. She was getting paid to drop everything and go! And thanks for agreeing about the masturbation bit.

    Quail – I think people need to realize that it’s not a self-help book. It’s a memoir of sorts. I know a lot of people who LOVE this book and others that don’t.

    Moondog- That is a really good point! I’m going to hit the 30 mark in a few month and I do long to travel. But my mom LOVES, LOVES this book and she’s getting close to 70. So who knows.

    on September 18th, 2008 at 12:50 am
  48. I pushed through this book in a week, And i cannot relate to Gilbert in anyway and am still wondering why what seems to be a public personal diary gets so acclaimed and reaches the NYT best seller list? Am I so out of touch with literature and popular reading that I never noticed this evolution of literature?

    on September 18th, 2008 at 6:19 pm
  49. blecch! I hated it almost from the first few pages – I had to just skim through the rest because someone had bought it for me and kept asking how I liked the book. I actually think this woman’s just remarkably good at pressing everyone’s buttons after reading all these comments. It wasn’t the travelling or freedom that did my head in, it was the way she described ending her marriage! It was like she saw him as a cartoon character, not a real person. She left him too lightly and was so undamaged by it that she immediately had a new lover. I’ve been involved with her male counterpart! Never again! But I’m sure she’s probably a good writer – just an irritating person! Oh, so sorry, this is a book review, isn’t it, but that’s the problem with writing about your real life, people judge the life as much as the writing and hers just makes a lot of people crazy!

    on September 21st, 2008 at 4:24 pm
  50. Poetry – One word: Oprah.

    JoJo – I think she did an excellent job protecting her ex’s image. I think she didn’t want to drag their private issues into the public arena, and for his sake, made the correct choice. But I do agree that not knowing exactly why she left made it really hard to feel sympathetic. Especially when she was crying on the bathroom floor.

    on September 22nd, 2008 at 12:45 am
  51. Yes, you’re probably right. i guess she did protect him that way. I was being a bit tongue in cheek! But I do wonder how these self revelatory books affect others – well, actually I know because my brother had one written about him and it was pretty traumatic. So there was probably no way I was going to give hers a chance! It’s still thumbs down from me!

    on September 23rd, 2008 at 3:49 pm
  52. I hate to sound mean but I really wanted to slap the women – through the whole book she whines she crys she complains she is the most self centered person ever! of course the travel is great – travel is great – and someone else paying!! sign me up! of course she felt the way she did traveling like thatl, he didn’t have to heal her life or fix anything she left! there were a few cute lines here and there and I thank god for richard or those would have been gone, maybe she should have started there I almost didn’t make it through italy it took me 3 weeks to read this book (I read most in a day) and when I got to the self pleaser and sex I kept saying “no you did not just go there” some things I just do not need to read about but then again this book was all about her – lets face it I just did not like it and i kept trying but I wanted to say put on your big girl panites and deal with it!!

    on September 25th, 2008 at 2:52 am
  53. jojo – I could not agree more!! I felt like she had changed what she wanted in life and blamed her husband for not wanting what she now wanted so she was not happy but it was his fault so she had to leave – I hope I am clear many times I wnated to tell her to get her head out of her butt – we all have hard times we all grow we all change get a grip!!
    does anyone know if the guy from the book is who she is with now or did she dump him to?

    on September 25th, 2008 at 3:01 am
  54. gpic – You asked if she’s still with the guy from the book. They got married!

    on September 25th, 2008 at 8:44 am
  55. I am 42 and loved the book! Loved Elizabeth as well. That doesn’t mean I agree with her 100 percent , but I admire her courage for opening up so honestly. I really appreciate that fact.
    I really was more impressed with the journey within oneself. As many people believe that God is within. I liked the point that if we are quiet enough we can hear God and when we pray we are talking to God. So it brings awareness that we have to sometimes just sit still in meditation or whatever to learn and listen.
    I am married happily and have two girls.
    So I have mo desire on taking off for a year to find myself. If she had that luxury and desire that is her choice.
    , calling or whatever.
    Let’s just try to learn from one another and be happy with our lives

    on September 26th, 2008 at 7:30 am
  56. I think maybe her relationship with god was so hard because she was not raised that way we did not have god pushed on us as children but we did spend some time in church and have a basic teaching and my relationship with god has been easier then she has had it and while i worry about what i get handed often i don’t dought that he is there for me! and to be honest i really felt that she is a somewhat selfish person she totally reminds me of my sister and lol my sisters best friend loved the book!

    on September 27th, 2008 at 1:08 pm
  57. I thought the book was a waste of time. I detest reading about a super privledged whiner having a year to travel and “find herself.” I thought I’d never make it through the India section, and got bogged down in the yoga/guru/meditation bunk. Dop like the rest of us…..get a real job and then whine!

    on September 29th, 2008 at 2:45 pm
  58. [...] EAT, PRAY, LOVE, by Elizabeth Gilbert. A writer’s yearlong journey in search of self takes her to Italy, India and Indonesia. [...]

    on October 5th, 2008 at 12:36 am
  59. lol I have to agree nancy but india was not the one that got me – I almost didn’t make it through italy!

    on October 5th, 2008 at 1:02 am
  60. I absolutely HATED this book. Passionately. Like, I get upset whenever I try to even talk about it! haha! Crazy,I know….

    on October 5th, 2008 at 7:51 am
  61. I liked the book, but like many others didn't LOVE it! It was a slice of someones life and I took it for what it was.  I love the part where she talks about happiness, and that lead me on another quest.  I found an amazing book as a result – How To Choose Happiness….Most of the Time:  Chappale Linn Burton.  Read it and let me know what you guys think!

    on October 12th, 2008 at 10:35 pm
  62. Good Book…liked the paragraph on happiness, it lead me to another awesome book.  How To Choose Happiness Most of the Time – Chappale Linn Burton.  Check it out and let me know what you guys think!

    on October 12th, 2008 at 11:21 pm
  63. Thanks for the suggestion Inez.  I will have to check that book out.  Sounds like a winner.

    on October 13th, 2008 at 10:07 am
  64. I just finished reading this book for a Grade 10 Choice Supplementary Reading Project. I found it quite funny, but some parts it was just like  "Get a grip, girl!", but I guess that is just my 15 year old mind at work, never experiencing true heartbreak, or depression.

    But I did really want to try that extra cheese pizza she had in Napoles (:

    on October 13th, 2008 at 3:39 pm
  65. lol I was so tired of hearing about food in that book I didn't want to eat pizza for weeks! and your 15 year old brain is right she needs to get a grip! I can not understand why that book is for 10th grade reading I sooooooo would not suggerst it for youth!

    on October 14th, 2008 at 6:09 pm
  66. The book was wonderful.
    As they say, when the student is ready the teacher will come.
    Those of you that did not enjoy the book or take from it even the most basic of lessons, then you are clearly not ready for something like this.
    If you have not read it – form your own opion, don’t take other peoples. Read it with an open mind & who knows, maybe one day, those words that you read that did not make sense to you today, will come back to comfort you years down the track.

    on October 19th, 2008 at 10:23 pm
  67. Well Said Par2t!!!!
    Thanks!

    on October 20th, 2008 at 8:53 am
  68. I am curious, Par2t, if you could share some of the lessons that you felt made this book “wonderful”….

    on October 20th, 2008 at 11:28 am
  69. I completely agree – am only on page 193 now but went ahead and blogged about it today on http://momwithmoney.wordpress.com because it took 193 pages for her to say something I identified with.
    Thank you for your review – it convinced me to keep reading on to the “love” part…. at least it’s about sex : )

    on November 4th, 2008 at 10:37 pm
  70. Sorry I haven’t responded to comments in a while. Keep them coming. I love the discussion around this book!

    on November 6th, 2008 at 10:08 pm
  71. Hi Everyone! Glad to find so many women, and more importantly mothers, discussing eat pray love. I share Liz’s phobia of having kids. I can absolurely relate to her state of mind.Is it really sooo difficult to have/ bring up a kid? Should I give it a try? Please please let me know….I am almost
    about to do what Liz did….though I really love my husband…

    on November 18th, 2008 at 5:20 am
  72. I truly think I’m the last one on the planet to read this book! It was chosen for a book club read and it’s been sheer drudgery to get through it. It reads like Cosomopolitan magazine (OK, I confess to having read it a time or two). It is too glib, too arch, too full of cleverness and endless explication. Can’t we be trusted to “get it” sometimes? Sorry Elizabeth, I envy your grand tour and I know you’re rich from this book, but it’s not for me.

    on November 18th, 2008 at 10:59 pm
  73. Sanya – Welcome! I’m glad you shared your thoughts with us. I’m a mother to two small children ages three and 18 months. I couldn’t relate at all to what Elizabeth was going through with her desire to not have children. I’ve always wanted kids and after finding out that I have a very abnormal uterine condition, I was so happy to bring two healthy children into this world. While I was reading the book, the thought that struck me was that I felt Elizabeth thought she had to love her children 100% before she committed to having them. Frankly, I thought this was very strange. As most all mothers can attest, they have no idea of the love they have for their children until after they have them. It doesn’t have to be their first. It will come. On the other hand, there are many women who are very happy to be childless by choice. But when it threatens to ruin a marriage, I’m not sure what the best way to deal with that is. I don’t think any child should be born into this world with a job. Meaning that people should have children to save their marriage. It’s not the child’s responsibility to do that. It’s the two marriage partners responsibility to work out their differences.

    I won’t lie, having a child is the hardest job there is. There are days where I just wish I could install buttons to turn the kids off when I wish I could operate on my schedule and not theirs. But I wouldn’t change it for a thing. Having children is the best thing I have ever done. They are the love of my life. The rewards are beyond what I could ever imagine.

    Anybody else want to contribute their thoughts/advice to Sanya?

    on November 19th, 2008 at 1:26 am
  74. I am now reading the book, and I love it. Although I’m just seventeen and never been married, and hell no.. Never been divorced. I CAN relate to Liz. She has the same passion as I have: Traveling.
    I have been in Rome to, so I now what places she is talking about, and apart from that: What she has with speaking Italian, I had that with French. So last summer I have been four months to France and now I speak French, love it.
    Next stop is Spain, I love the language. ;)
    I have just finished ‘Italy’, today I make a start in ‘India’.

    Greetings from the Netherlands.
    x

    on November 26th, 2008 at 3:01 am
  75. i found it interesting and funny she has obviously applied the law of attraction to her life.
    she looked happy and content on the oprah show
    and at peace with herself. maybe it is not a journey which will appeal to all but i found it inspiring,
    may the author continue to find joy in her life.
    kalpana from sri lanka.

    on December 7th, 2008 at 5:45 am
  76. I am amazed at how many comments you get on this one! It really seems to hit a nerve one way or the other.

    on December 7th, 2008 at 7:19 am
  77. Mariska – I would love to travel, but the thought of learning a new language terrifies me. I just don’t have the brain to do it.

    Kalpana – My mother is a HUGE believer in the law of attraction. I understand it and try to live it but must admit that I fall very short.

    Lisa – I know! You either love it or hate it!

    I love, love the comments so don’t be shy people!

    on December 8th, 2008 at 1:42 am
  78. natasha maw- the law of attraction has been working my whole life i only realised after i read the secret i now apply it on a daily basis.

    on December 9th, 2008 at 8:09 am
  79. I liked the book in general and I see why many people don’t. The way you will see this book absolutely depends on what you are looking for in it. If one’s mind is clear and she has made through life so far with no major psychological and emotional troubles, then I’d say there is no point of reading this book.

    The only reason I enjoyed this book and found lots of aspects in which this book WAS spiritual/sel-help is that I myself had to go through lots of challenges in life.

    Every person is different. The way we see things and how we live depends on million factors (how we are brought up, what our childhoodd was like, what people we grow up/mature around, etc.). Each of us is in search of our own happiness and not everybody finds it to be a simple task.

    I absolutely understand Elizabeth’s self-centeredness as I am looking from my own perspective. I think this book is very uplifting and inspiring to those who need the positive thoughts and encouragement to move on while searching for a true self.

    Opinion is such a subjective matter that criticizing is the last thing that one should do when evaluating the writings. We can never fully put ourselves in the place of a writer. Although wouldn’t that be a goal?..

    on December 12th, 2008 at 12:39 pm
  80. Kalpana – Yeah, I just think that I need to put it into action.

    One who understands – Well said. I agree that how see perceive things has much to do with our own life experiences.

    on December 14th, 2008 at 9:41 pm
  81. I LOVE THIS BOOK!!! Avtually I got it on CD and it was AMAZING!! So much better listening to her narrate. She is an amazing writer and narrator. You can truly hear her humor, sadness etc. come thru in her voice vs. interpreting it yourself thru written words. If you were’t crazy about the “book” I strongly suggest getting the CD..it creates a whole different experience. :-) I too can relate to every single facet of her emotional pain, self discovery journey and spiritual journey. I almost felt as if she was writing a book about my life as well as her own. Her strength, courage and tenacity is one to be respected and admired. I found it uplifting, inspiring and all too familair. Kudos to Elizabeth for surviving, overcoming and finding herself in the process!!! :-)

    on January 3rd, 2009 at 10:21 am
  82. Hey,
    I just wanted to say that this book has completely and utterly changed the way I look at life.
    I realized that in order to be truly happy…one must do more than simply ‘achieve’. There is so much more to life. It is vital that we find pleasure in what we do. In the end, all we can strive for is balance.

    I loved her mantra: “I will not harbor any negative thoughts.”…. harbor is a verb. <3

    on January 4th, 2009 at 6:20 am
  83. Just a mom observation for Sanya (do I want kids?). As a woman living with bipolar disorder I am used to extreme emotions. They are really mostly what I feel, I’m not familiar with neutral. So I knew I would love my child wildly but was unprepared for the rush of hormone and protectiveness and strength of body and character I would have when she was born. I quite literally felt, and still feel 16 years later (same hormones?) that I could physically stop a freight train if it was bearing down on her. Counsel or nurse her though any trauma. So for me being her mother is my ascent to the summit, sail around the world, heal the sick. If there is a more extreme emotion (love doesn’t come close to summing it up) that a mother feels for her child God hasn’t introduced it to the world yet. Best wishes, Karen

    on January 22nd, 2009 at 1:44 pm
  84. [...] Eat Pray Love by Elizabeth Gilbert (83) [...]

    on January 31st, 2009 at 1:39 am
  85. The only thing I envied in this thing was the advance she got to write it. As one who has traveled alone, on Asian retreats, I found her observations about meditation interesting but a little superficial. This is armchair spirituality. I was bored with her needy relationship issues and emotional problems and pitied the old medicine man who didn’t recognize her at first when she arrived to heckle him. And in a month she acquires a “family” in Bali and buys them a house!? Nice gesture, but really, who is exploiting who here. And ending it “like a housewife’s dream” with an older man. I want to see them in 15 years (well not really) when she is menopausal and he is a little beyond his prime; then we’ll see what kind of spiritual progress she’s made. On the other hand, I wish them well. I fully expect to see this story on the big screen one day, a la “Darjeeling Express” or “Holy Smoke.”

    on February 2nd, 2009 at 1:33 pm
  86. Oh, I’m so out of touch…it HAS been optioned with Julia Roberts! And I didn’t know (but suspected) it was an Oprah-sanctioned read.

    on February 2nd, 2009 at 3:08 pm
  87. It must mean something that we are still talking about this book a year since Natasha first comment. I liked the book, because it wasnt compelling reading, took about 3 months actually, I got some lovely healing thought from the different characters. If I were to list my favourite bits, they match Natashas.
    Especially “Groceries” what a great name. Hesitaite to recommend it to all but a must for some. Have used some of the meditation techniques to go to sleep and have had great success. Would love to travel to the spirit land like Elizabeth but sleep will do for now.

    on February 8th, 2009 at 10:18 pm
  88. Still loving the comments!

    I thought I would post this YouTube video that was just posted a couple of days ago. Elizabeth Gilbert talks about artists and creativity. Discusses what is genius? And answers the question “Can she write a book better that tops Eat Pray Love?

    on February 12th, 2009 at 8:08 am
  89. I’m enjoying the book a lot (just started it)
    Another memoir that floored me was Nuala O Faolain’s Are You Somebody?

    on March 6th, 2009 at 4:04 pm
  90. I would be curious of the ages of the women who do not like the book. I think it is meant for the 36 and up crowd, because from 36 on we question everything about our lives. 38 was the average age which every woman I knew grew tired of her life situation, mostly blaming the marriage, rather than realizing this is the beginning of the transformational years. I love Elizabeth Gilbert’s honesty and willingness to put her character flaws on the table, then work to change them. I wasn’t jealous that she could take a year off. She made that choice with her divorce money, which she earned through an already lucrative career as a journalist. Judging by the phenomenon of her book, the publisher knew what they were doing in paying her to tell this journey. I related to much of what she shared, as I remember how the thoughts of leaving my marriage made me sick in the bathroom. I have been divorced 10 years now and her re-marriage and reinvention of her life give me hope.
    Great topic Natasha-
    Catherine

    on March 8th, 2009 at 12:14 pm
  91. [...] meeting this week (loved it); delivered Stephen King’s, On Writing to Dawnda; began dissecting Eat, Pray, Love; and met Veronica.  I fulfilled most of my challenges for the next meeting.  So, I’ve [...]

    on March 8th, 2009 at 12:17 pm
  92. “I would be curious of the ages of the women who do not like the book. I think it is meant for the 36 and up crowd,” (from post #90).

    Interesting point. Maybe meant for 36 to 48 (pre-menopause). I am 61, a different demographic, almost a different generation really, influenced by the feminism of the 1960s, but happily married for 40 years, mother of just one child, long-launched and independent. A friend of my age had asked if I read EPL; she didn’t much care for it either. But as I saw it bouncing around the office, I observed it was relished by younger women, with children at home, in tedious jobs, who look to Oprah for life guidance. I know I’m pushing some buttons here, but I’m wondering if women haven’t made as much internal emotional and spiritual progress as I might have hoped. Now, if EPL inspires and urges people to get a better handle on their own lives, I suppose that’s a good thing. But to me, EPL is an escapist romance novel disguised as self-help memoir. On the other hand, even younger women (under 36) I see are all toting around Confessions of a Shopaholic and obsessed with reality TV. To them I want to say, get thee to an ashram!

    on March 8th, 2009 at 5:02 pm
  93. I’d have to disagree about this book being “appropriate” for one age group or another. As a 24 year old, relatively new to the post- college “real world” and all of its expectations, I thoroughly enjoyed this book, and found it spiritually inspiring. I am one of those people who did not grow up with a heavy religious influence in my life. Though I believe in God, the notion of spirituality has always been slightly intimidating to me. I’d have to say that this book definitely changed that. At every point in our life we are faced with making decisions. For me, at this stage, it is about determining my passions, not always choosing the easiest or most prestigious path, but learning about what makes me happiest. Obviously, if you have children, you will not be able to pick up and ship off to India, but that doesn’t mean that you have to be unhappy in this fact. Be grateful that you can experience the joy that your children bring you and find small things in life (I think Gilbert calls them “places of solitude” or something) – it’s almost as if you have the best of both worlds, you just have to try!
    Also, some comments about the yoga and meditation are interesting… I began doing yoga about two years ago simply as a last resort to remedy some serious issues with my back. Over time, I have found yoga to be not only a wonderful way to strengthen my body and become more in tune with taking care of myself, but it has become one of the best ways for me to cope with things like stress and depression. Obviously, it’s not for everyone, but I think that many people who are unfamiliar with yoga dismiss it as a new-age, granola fad. It may sound cliche, but an idea from the book that I think everyone can at least learn from is that we all have our fears, and they typically begin with the unfamiliar. By working to resolve those fears, we can eliminate a lot of unnecessary judgement from our lives, something that cannot be anything but good for us.

    on March 27th, 2009 at 5:42 pm
  94. I finished the book a couple weeks ago…. I feel like I have lost a friend Elizabeth. I miss you. Thank you for your thoughts especially the ones you don’t share with anyone but yourself… I am not alone anymore.

    on April 2nd, 2009 at 8:42 am
  95. Mark – I haven’t heard of that memoir. I’ll go look it up.

    Catherine, Sandie and Carrie – Thank you so much for stopping by and commenting. Interesting discussion on the age level. I have seen so many different ages say they either loved it or hated it. It’s hard to pinpoint. Like I mentioned in my earlier review, I think that the life experience that you bring when sitting down to read the book will definitely impact how you feel about it.

    Debra – It sounds as though this book connected with you on a personal level.

    on April 12th, 2009 at 11:02 am
  96. I loved the book! Read my review below.
    I found this book to be an altering and personally impacting book. It seems amazing the things that God puts in your life to help you through a specific trial. It may have been coincidental, but I needed to read this book at this point in my life. I urge staff working at CAPS at Purdue to read this book and suggest their clients to do so as well. I have decided, for the purpose of convincing you, to do my analysis of the book in order of the book’s three sections, but to also add in my own personal thoughts on each section of the book.
    Before Elizabeth tells of her year long journey, she tells the reader what led up to the need for such a journey. After going through a nasty divorce and ended love affair, she felt like “overworked soil.” In this beginning part of the book I feel that many readers can relate to the feelings and emotions that she possessed. I found myself at times with tears in my eyes only because I was relieved that someone else had too felt the same way I had. This offered hope to me knowing through an interview how happy she is now after this journey. I found it particularly interesting that she referred to “Loneliness and Depression” as people. She uses the feelings as proper nouns, capitalizing them and giving them a habitat saying, “Depression on my left, Loneliness on my right. They don’t need to show their badges. I know these guys very well. We have been playing a cat-and-mouse game for years now.” I identified with this paragraph feeling that these two “feelings” to some, but huge “monsters” to others, have often haunted me, turning me into someone I am not. One self actualizing analysis that Elizabeth gives in her book is, “I warn myself not to get attached to any obsolete ideas about who I am, what I represent, whom I belong to, or what function I may once have intended to serve.” These sentences spoke to me because I am stubborn in my thinking. I know who I am. I know what I want to be. I know where I come from. But then, suddenly, when you can’t become what you have worked for, or you find yourself wondering, you panic, thinking “but THAT is who I am, NOT THIS.” In her book, she describes herself on her bathroom floor, three inches from her white tile. I can just imagine this with detail even more so as the book cover’s background includes the white tiles. This is a detail I wonder if many readers noticed. Maybe only the desperate ones who are familiar with their own bathroom tiles noticed.
    In Elizabeth Gilbert’s journey to find happiness and herself she took one year to travel to three countries, coincidentally all starting with the letter “I”, even more to support her self-discovery. She first traveled to Italy to find pleasure. To her, pleasure was learning the beautiful language of Italian and indulging herself in as much Italian cuisine as she could. In her book, she shares her stories of meeting new friends and discovering pleasure. Even here in Italy, Loneliness and Depression track her down now and again. Eventually through her journey Loneliness and Depression lose their war. The amazing thing about this book is that Elizabeth includes enough details that to some may be extemporaneous, but to me, they were crucial. They offered hope. For example, “One night in a hotel room by the ocean, the sound of my own laughter actually wakes me up in the middle of my deep sleep. I am startled. Who is that laughing in my bed?” This has happened to me before as well, signifying that I am on my way back to myself. If Elizabeth and I both could graph ourselves it would be a nice curve, starting with a hyperbolic curve steadily rising through childhood and high school. Then there is a drastic decline after high school then slowly but steadily rising again.
    She finds herself in her next destination in India going to visit an Ashram and find God. Here she meditates daily spending most of the day in silence alone. She at first fights with herself as she cannot remain still; she cannot find enough peace to be still while meditating. With great practice she eventually can sit through the entire day without even thinking and simply being in existence with God. Many readers can probably relate to the internal conflict that Elizabeth dealt with, wanting to move on quickly but knowing she needs to take the time and have patience to heal. Here in India she meets a friend, Richard from Texas. The two become very close friends but never develop a romantic relationship. Richard is often seen in interviews to promote Eat, Pray, Love. She realizes she is at peace with herself and then travels to Indonesia.
    Her objective in Indonesia is to find a balance between pleasure and God. She has before been to Indonesia and was told by a medicine man that she one day would return and they would teach each other many great things. She goes to Indonesia not knowing the man’s name or address. She has good luck finding him but he does not remember her. She feels foolish but soon he remembers her and he invites her to come to his house daily to teach other. The reason he does not remember her is because she is a different person now. He remembers a sad and broken old woman and now there is a young happy woman coming to his house. She would teach him English while he would teach her the ways of a medicine man. Some readers can identify with the “unrecognizable.” I can often remember thinking, “I don’t even recognize myself, this is not who I am. I used to be so happy and carefree. What happened?” Elizabeth Gilbert says, “I wouldn’t have been able to pick myself out of a police line up.” The simple statement that the medicine man makes as he acknowledges her outward appearance changing because the inward has changed brings hope to Elizabeth and the reader. In Indonesia she falls in love, she is towards the end of her journey and her heart is healed and ready for new love. This final chapter of the book ends well with a “happy ever after” feeling.
    While discussing the book with Sarah K., we found many differences in our interpretations. Because Elizabeth Gilbert was paid to do the book before leaving on her journey, Sarah feels that Elizabeth may have been making up some of the stories just to sell the book. I completely disagree. To me this book is a serious matter. It deals with happiness. I believe that the spiritual Elizabeth Gilbert would think it would be “bad karma” to do such things. Overall, I give this book a 5 star rating. I recommend it to anyone looking for peace within themselves. At Purdue many students are in a turning point in their lives. This book will help remind them of who they are and what makes them happy. It promises hope to those to who are blinded and distraught from their circumstances.

    on April 27th, 2009 at 9:01 pm
  97. I think theres a lot of haters in these comments, the whole point of the book, is that an much of an impossibility it is to travel and take a year off of life to do what seems like the impossible, can be done. Crying on the bathroom floor gross? THATS the reality of life, we dont chosse a time and place to break down, we just do. I think that you have to be at the place she was, to have experienced depression, lonliness, deaths, compelte changes in life that you did not expect relate to what she has beenthrough to truly apreciate this book. I have been to Rome, and India, and feel that Gilbert write the core of my fears, hapiness and soul in this book. I LOVED IT, if your stuck and have never been outside this stuffy world to travel, dont hate the player, hate the game.

    on May 6th, 2009 at 7:31 pm
  98. If you cant identify with this book, simply put, you just haven’t been there. yet.

    on May 6th, 2009 at 7:34 pm
  99. Check out this great song inspired by the book “Eat, Pray, Love” by Mark Weinstock

    on May 19th, 2009 at 8:07 am
  100. oops, here’s the link to the song…

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bH2ow3yI7iw

    on May 19th, 2009 at 8:07 am
  101. I’ve been thinking about this a lot and was wondering what word you all would use to describe the cities you live in. The book uses the word “sex” to describe Rome, “achieve” to describe New York City and “fight” to sum up Naples. So, what would your city’s word be?

    on May 20th, 2009 at 4:57 am
  102. I almost always step off the plane not knowing where I’m going to stay, it’s really no big deal. Especially in Bali which has been a major tourist hotspot and mecca for Autralian surfer dudes for decades.

    To be honest, I’d never heard of the book until I went to Ubud a couple of weeks ago. There most people cringe if you mention it … except all the spa and foot massage places who have benefited from the publicity.

    >Carole, I live in two cities. You could call them stew and pan-fry

    on May 29th, 2009 at 9:35 pm
  103. I personally hated this book. I know, I know it’s a great work of literature and I don’t understand, but I thought it should of been called “Eat, Pray, Love: Let’s talk about me!”, written about an unbelievably self-centered character. But then again, I hate most everything. Ask my book club.

    on July 17th, 2009 at 2:04 pm
  104. I’m about midway through the book, and basically loving it-though I also find her a bit irritating at times, she’s really a wonderful writer, very funny and true.

    I’m in the process of leaving a long marriage (with children), and also in the middle of a search for balance between my spiritual and earthy selves

    recommend it heartily !

    on November 30th, 2009 at 12:57 am
  105. i had to read this book for an English class that im taking and i think its a load of bunk. The whole book she talks about divorce and how shes so sad all the time.Her conversations that she has in her head are so stupid i have to skip a few chapters to get back on track. She writes all about herself and nothing else. i vote that this book was a waste of my time and everyone elses… who agrees??

    on December 27th, 2009 at 3:11 pm
  106. When EPL became a phenomenal best seller, I was irritated that such narcissistic drivel, posing as a “novel/memoir” would be taken seriously especially at a point in our nation’s history when so much is at stake.

    Then, when I heard that Ms. Gilbert spoke at the TED conference, I thought, humm I wonder if TED is becoming a bit too mainstream and loosing its cutting edge. Now I understand that the book is going to be turned into a movie, with Julia Roberts in the leading role and I thought, I should finally let the world in cyberspace really know what I think about this “novel/memoir.”

    I have never read EPL. I don’t want to. It’s not because I think it’s a bad book. I am sure that Ms. Gilbert is an interesting and engaging writer. I’m sure she is a nice person and a good cook – given that she spent so much time eating in Italy, I would be surprised to see her eating at the local McDonald’s.

    It’s just that I feel about EPL the way that some women feel about how “feminism” just doesn’t eh, speak for them. EPL just doesn’t speak for me and yet I have a lot in common with Ms. Gilbert. At least, so it seems on the surface.

    I, too, am white and middle class, and when I was young I, too, was pretty. I’ve been married and divorced. I like to write. Due to circumstances mostly beyond my control I don’t have children (but I always wanted them, and think that people who deliberately choose not to have children to be more than a little odd). Furthermore, thanks to the fact that I live in the U.S. and not in some “developing” nation, I also make enough money so that if I made some different choices with how I spent it, I, too, could find enough discretionary income to travel to India, although I’d have to win the “little lotto” here to swing the funds to take an entire year off.

    What bugs me about EPL is that it is sold as a woman’s unique and authentic spiritual experience. Well, I’m here to tell you that it is not. And it’s not because Elizabeth Gilbert, or anyone who takes a similar journey is bad, or wrong, or even over-privileged. Nor is it because I know all the answers about spiritual journeys.

    Hardly.

    But I have read enough great books about the “hero’s” journey to know that Ms. Gilbert’s journey is no more interesting, spiritual, or romantic than any female character in any piece of chick lit that does include the mentioning of Jimmy Choo shoes.

    Not to be mean, but painful divorces are common place in this day and age. To feel bored enough with your spouse to embark on an affair is pretty tawdry but ordinary stuff. Not that an illicit affair can’t be interesting, of course. But really how does that make the journey that Ms. Gilbert takes in any way better or more worthy of attention than similar experiences of anyone else? Is it because she eats pizza in Italy after-wards?

    The book is not worthy of attention because it is not a great book. It may be well-written and entertaining. But it should not have received so much acclaim and admiration. The fact that it did is because it garnered the attention of media mavens like Oprah, whose edicts dictate the actions of millions of women (mostly). That is the main reason why this book hit the charts and made an icon out of an extremely ordinary, if competent, writer.

    Further, it is not a great book because while the suffering that Ms. Gilbert experiences at the beginning of her journey may have been real, to her specifically, it was hardly anything new to share with a sophisticated reading audience. I don’t think that Ms. Gilbert really breaks any new ground here.

    It seems to me that EPL is more like a new agey version of Erica Jong’s “Fear of Flying.” At least Fear of Flying was funny, though, and Erica Jong had the sense not to take herself or her journey so seriously as to think that what she was writing was a great book, (a good book maybe, but not great). In fact what made Ms. Jong’s character endearing was her own self-doubt, and her desire, that in spite of all her flaws and obvious incapacity, she still wanted to make a difference, knowing that until she did she could never be happy.

    In EPL, it is clear that Ms. Gilbert is the center of her own universe, and given that perspective and point of view, how can anyone possibly truly relate to her story, really, without taking a leap into fantasy land, or making some odd psychological adjustments of projection onto her. It is, from what I can tell a book for spiritual amateurs, the kind that spend $9995 to die in a “sweat lodge” at a retreat conducted by James Arthur Ray.

    So, really, has this book made a real difference in anyone’s life, except that of Ms. Gilbert’s? Did millions of women in the developed world demand a year off with pay from their employers to find themselves, or run to Planned Parenthood to get their tubes tied? How many hapless women took off to India to sit in an ashram and got dysentery instead? Or how about an EPL cooking show on the Food Network? Did this book inspire anything more than proof that the so called Law of Attraction works? Perhaps, but IMHO did it more to inspire the ire and irritation of the rest of us who are more grounded with real adult responsibilities living real lives and making a difference in the lives of OTHERS.

    Perhaps as Ms. Gilbert ages and has to deal with real suffering and loss will she be able to write anything that endures or has meaning to me enough to bother to read it. Until then are much more interesting books to read instead.

    Thanks.

    A.

    on January 10th, 2010 at 3:14 am
  107. Aud L. : Love the comparison to Fear of Flying. Does anyone read that anymore? Re: EPL, a blog really, (like Julie and Julia, now a movie) I always felt that it would have been better if she had realized there was a third person case in the language. As a novel, it could have become literature. But novels are art; this is just diary…and far from Proust!

    I have read reviews of the follow-on, “Commitment,” about marriage. Something she’s really expert in, after what, three or four years of it?

    on January 10th, 2010 at 2:55 pm
  108. @Aud L Does it really matter whether the book changed anybody’s life? Maybe it was entertaining.

    For the most part, whether a book is about a real person or a fictional one, if the book is fun and enjoyable, I think it has done its job.

    I held out from reading Eat, Pray, Love for a long time, because I feel like MANY books that end up with lots of attention are NEITHER fun NOR enjoyable. But, then I picked it up, and liked it. And, that was enough.

    Fiction or nonfiction, for a book to be successful, lots of people need to find at least ONE thing that they identify with. In a three hundred page book, that one thing could be any one of a thousand components of the story.

    on January 10th, 2010 at 3:25 pm
  109. Katie, I liked “Fear of Flying,” too, and loved “Confessions of a Shopaholic” and “Psychic Junkie.”

    I don’t demand that books always have to be great for me to read them, really, why else would I read People magazine? And listen to re-runs of the Oprah show on Sirrius?

    What I would like is some corrections to all of the hype. Why? Its because I expect books about spiritual journeys to be more well, “spiritual.” And honestly, I don’t think having sex by yourself is exactly what Virginia Woolf had in mind when she wrote her essay “A Room of One’s Own” eighty years ago. In that essay she posits that if women had all of the advantages that men had they, too would write great books. The fact that Ms. Gilbert has had all of these advantages that women like Virginia Woolf could only dream of and yet wrote a book of such little historical and literary consequence on a serious subject is for me a bit of a disappointment.

    I personally would have preferred that Ms. Gilbert take the subject matter of her quest, and not herself so seriously.

    Many thanks for your comments. Happy reading.

    A.

    on January 10th, 2010 at 5:01 pm
  110. Hey everybody! As always, loving the comments on this post. I’m embedding the movie trailer into the comments here as I thought you might find it interesting. What do you think? Anybody going to see it?

    on March 18th, 2010 at 9:51 am
  111. Aiya…this is a book I love to hate, but I’ll probably get the movie when it comes out on DVD.

    And @Aud L, #109, I agree with you…makes me think of Bob Dylan’s lyric, something like “You’re gonna need me…you can’t MAKE LOVE all by yourself.”

    I just hope that I can get Liv Ullman to play me in the movie of my yet unfinished book about “spiritual” travel in China, to which I am returning in a few weeks.

    Live your life, ladies, don’t live it through other people.

    on March 18th, 2010 at 11:45 am
  112. Sandie O. I think you are so right about they Dylan Song. Also, I think I am entitled to better work from people of such privilege.

    The movie looks like it’s fun. It might start a new line of clothing at Target.

    Whatever. I don’t know about you Sandi, but I have to clean my bathroom now, that I’ve put my last load of whites in the dryer.

    Best,

    Aud L.

    on March 20th, 2010 at 4:16 pm
  113. [...] EAT, PRAY, LOVE, by Elizabeth Gilbert. A writer’s yearlong journey in search of self takes her to Italy, India and Indonesia. [...]

    on April 18th, 2010 at 11:13 pm
  114. I apologise, but, in my opinion, you are not right. Let’s discuss. Write to me in PM, we will communicate.

    on June 18th, 2010 at 1:26 am
  115. Moral of the story is:
    “Pray” to yourself
    “Eat” in your indulgence,
    Have “Sex” without the boundary of “the Anglo – Saxon Protestant upbringing” she talks about in the book and the moral commandments of the God of the Bible of that upbringing.
    I am from India, and whoever sings that mantra “Om…” says she/he is bowing down to Shiva, who is the god of sexual indulgence without any boundaries.

    on July 15th, 2010 at 10:41 am
  116. Elizabeth Gilbert makes money selling the story for “Coyote Ugly.” She cheats on her husband with a younger guy, and gets depressed when he dumps her. Then she leaves her husband, who is understandably upset. She goes on a world tour paid for by an advance on her book deal for EPL. It’s hard to identify with her because nobody is offering to pay me to cheat on my spouse and take a year-long tour of the world.

    on July 28th, 2010 at 5:23 pm
  117. Yep, definitely not something that can be added to the Canon of Great books!

    Amen!

    on July 28th, 2010 at 8:04 pm
  118. Oh but too weird, today I actually bought the soundtrack for the film at Starbuck’s, had some interesting music. I must finish MY novel. Why not ME???? I have a soundtrack! I was just in China–Julia Roberts’s grin is everywhere in Lancome (or is it L’Oreal?) ads, more prevalent than Mao’s kitchy visage.

    on July 28th, 2010 at 11:13 pm
  119. You may get a kick out of this:

    Here you can shop for eat, pray, love themed items while fundraising for Children’s Miracle Network:

    http://shoppingformiracles.org/eat-pray-love-shop

    Enjoy :)

    on August 11th, 2010 at 1:21 pm
  120. Oi vey! EPL Marketing. Thanks for sharing. I saw this too, and laughed outloud. It doesn’t look like Ms. Gilbert’s book will stand the test of time, of that I am certain.

    Best everyone!

    Aud L.

    on August 11th, 2010 at 10:33 pm
  121. I chanced upon this blog while searching for reviews about the book Eat Pray and Love for obvious reasons. A really candid and objective review by a reader I must say.

    The sales of the book in India has gone up, now that the promotion is on for the movie. Conveniently before the release of the movie Julia claims she has become a Hindu ( don’t know if visiting a Hindu temple and taking part in a pooja qualifies one to be that..that’s a matter of debate at a later time with friends.) Ofcourse it makes me happy to know she respects and likes this ancient religion.

    Well time to go to the bookstore and pick up a copy. As a woman in her early forties having eaten, prayed and loved and with spiritual yearnings that typically visit you around this time. the book would make a lot of sense and will be read with empathy. :)

    on August 15th, 2010 at 10:12 pm
  122. I haven’t read the book. I haven’t seen the movie. I read the reviews of the movie (usually, I see the movie and forget the reviews), but this time warning signals went off.

    Why are we celebrating this woman’s journey?

    I’ve gone through a lot of heartache most my life. I have a happy marriage of seven years. I think if someone came up to me and said “I need to find myself,” I would hand her a mirror and a business card to some psychatrist.

    on August 16th, 2010 at 9:59 am
  123. Ok, so I read a few and skimmed (many) of the comments and see both sides of the discussion “for” or “against the book”. To keep it short, sometimes I think I am experiencing the opening of Liz’s book. I have been with my husband 6 yrs and married for 2 and lately I have been asking myself the question, “Do I really want to be married?”. So I guess that is why I identify with her and her scattered thoughts, anxiety and questioning her TRUTH. I agree with some of you that said the book was hard to read or took along time because I felt the same way. But when I stepped back and rethought my own EXPECTATIONS of the book, took judgment off the table and looked at it for what it was “One Woman’s Search for Everything Across Italy, India and Indonesia”, well then I found the lessons that I could in HER journey and the rest was entertainment. As woman we judge too much and reading some of the comments here really make me think that some folks are simply jealous that her life afforded her a sabbatical :) Sad but true! And I can say that because I felt a twinge of envy too….but my time will come to travel and to explore my deepest most inner thoughts on some beach while trying to figure out this thing called LIFE. In the meantime I will continue to pray for direction and love the husband that truly does love me dearly. BTY, I am an African-American woman, and I only share this to let it you know that some things resonate across cultural…and two of those are Love and Uncertainty.

    P.S. I just saw the movie yesterday and although I thought it was ok, I mainly went to see how closely it was going to represent the book. Job well done! Yet had I not read the book I would have felt like I was watching yet another “Julia Roberts- I’m so sweet” movie. lol

    on August 20th, 2010 at 7:02 pm
  124. I guess you’re not the last one to read this. I haven’t! I know I will buy it someday hahahaaa

    on November 28th, 2010 at 1:43 am
  125. Just finished reading her second book, “committed”, and felt it was the better of the two personally- though I loved E.P.L.

    on July 13th, 2011 at 10:51 pm

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