Sunday, September 7, 2008

Eat Pray Love by Elizabeth Gilbert

The third book for my IRL book club was Eat Pray Love: One Woman's Search for Everything Across Italy, India and Indonesia by Elizabeth Gilbert. This is a non-fiction account Gilbert wrote about her year-long adventures travelling the world. Her year was broken into three pieces, each four months long: Italy, where she ate, ate, ate and learned to speak Italian; India, where she spent her time in her Guru's ashram and learned to meditate; and Indonesia, where she learned to balance "...worldly enjoyment with divine transcendence."

The reason Gilbert decided to take such a trip is because she had just gone through a painful divorce. Many nights, she found herself crying, lonely and depressed. Even though she had a great job and good friends, she just wasn't happy with herself and her life. So she thought that instead of wallowing in despair, she would go in search of happiness.

Reading the first section of the book made me REALLY want to go to Italy! I already am a huge fan of Italian food, but I know it would be a million times yummier in Italy itself! Besides the delicious food, there is the architecture, the warm people, the much to see! This part of the book was very enjoyable to read. Elizabeth simply enjoys everything that Italy has to offer.

Unfortunately, the rest of the book was not as entertaining as the first section. In India, Elizabeth spends her time in an Ashram. She is trying to discover "God," but I could never really understand who or what she thought God was. There is discussion of the divinity and perfection within oneself (which made me roll my eyes), some sort of blue light that you can feel if you are doing the right meditation and are in the right state of mind, and ..."be[ing] a scientist of your own spiritual experience"-which I'm not exactly sure what that means either (164). I tried to separate my own beliefs from what I was reading, and try to understand what exactly Elizabeth was searching for, but I never figured it out. Richard from Texas was a very fun character though!

The last section, in Bali, Indonesia, was less bizarre than the prior section, but I still couldn't understand exactly what Elizabeth was searching for. She said she was looking for balance, but what she ended up finding in Bali seemed to be the total opposite of balance, if you ask me!

Elizabeth Gilbert is warm, funny, and a great writer. There were parts of her book that I really enjoyed, and other parts that I had to force myself to actually read. I would be very curious to see if her year-long journey of self-discovery and her search for happiness and peace have stayed with her through the following years--when she was back to her "real" life. There are so many who just love the book, and though I definitely did not hate it, I am far from an adoring fan.

Read other reviews of Eat Pray Love at: Bending Bookshelf, Age 30 - A Year of Books, Trish's Reading Nook (if I've missed your review, please let me know and I'll add your link!)

Date Completed: September 5, 2008
# of Pages: 331


Charley said...

Thank you for your comment on my review of this book. I also wondered how this book would have turned out had she not fallen in love at the end of her journey. Love seemed to have a huge impact on her sense of well-being, and I wondered if she would have looked back on her travels as fondly if she had ended them alone.

Nymeth said...

I wonder how I'd feel about this one. I've read some raving reviews but also some lukewarm ones, and I suspect I'd find myself joining the latter group. Someday I will find out. This isn't a high priority for me but I think I'm curious enough to eventually read it.

Heather J. said...

Thanks for linking to me - like I said in my review, this book is good (not great) but not deserving of ALL the hype it's gotten.

Dar said...

I have this book on my tbr shelf but haven't gotten to it yet. All of the reviews I've seen have been the same as yours-that it's good but not great so I'm not in a big rush to read it.

Trish said...

I think a lot of the wave for this one has kind of ended--although I did find a crazy fanatical blog last night when I was searching for movie info. For some reason I wasn't really chatty last night, and I feel bad about that. I guess I don't really have strong feelings one way or another. I don't believe the things that she does but more power to her.

Tiffany Norris said...

I was curious about this one, so thanks for the review. Maybe I'll just read the "Eat" part and skip the other two. :)

Karen said...

I have this book down for one of my reading challenges too but I must admit I'm not in a rush to get to it. I've actually just started a similar type of book called "The Wishing Year" so I will see how that one goes.
Thanks for your insightful review.

Trish said...

I'm incredibly depressed. INCREDIBLY. Check out Dewey's site to see why. :(

Bookfool said...

I agree -- that first third of the book was awesome and then it kind of went downhill. I enjoyed the book because I was in the mood for some major armchair traveling, but . . . well, that ending. I so didn't care about her sex life and was disappointed that she gave up on the purity aspect. After she talked about her affair, I was relieved to find out she was planning to stay celibate for her year of traveling.

I don't think I wrote a specific review, just answered questions about the book for a Weekly Geek post.

Laura said...

Charley--I was a bit surprised about the ending. I believe she and Felipe are still a couple today!

Nymeth--I would describe my feelings as lukewarm, but I was expecting to really dislike the book, and I didn't! There are definitely things that many different people could take away from reading about Liz's travels and experiences.

Heather--It doesn't surprise me at all that Oprah had Liz on her show. This book SCREAMS Oprah to me! Of course, if she likes it, then so will millions of women!

Dar--I think there are many out there who LOVED it, but I haven't met any in person :)

Trish--you did seem unusually quiet at our meeting (not that you are normally a loud, overly talkative person :)). I think I was the opposite and probably said too much. I don't really have strong feelings towards the book either. Neither love nor hate.

Tiffany--maybe that's a good idea! No, really there are other interesting parts to the book besides the first section. There are lots of funny things that happen later on, and you have to meet Richard from Texas!

Karen--I don't usually read these types of books, but this one was a fast read, and Liz is pretty funny!There is more to the book than I expected.

BF--Yes, I could have done without some of the details in the 3rd section. It was nice to "travel" to the three countries from the convenience of my own grey recliner!

Di said...

I detested this book! For a counterpoint, see my review on my blog...