Around the time Elizabeth Gilbert turned 30, she went through an early-onslaught midlife crisis. She had everything an educated, ambitious American woman was supposed to want: a husband, a house, a successful career. But instead of feeling happy and fulfilled, she was consumed with panic, grief, and confusion. She went through a divorce, a crushing depression, another failed love, and the eradication of everything she ever thought she was supposed to be.
To recover from all this, Gilbert took a radical step. In order to give herself the time and space to find out who she really was and what she really wanted, she got rid of her belongings, quit her job, and undertook a yearlong journey around the world, all alone. Eat, Pray, Love is the absorbing chronicle of that year. Her aim was to visit three places where she could examine one aspect of her own nature set against the backdrop of a culture that has traditionally done that one thing very well. In Rome, she studied the art of pleasure, learning to speak Italian and gaining the 23 happiest pounds of her life. India was for the art of devotion, and with the help of a native guru and a surprisingly wise cowboy from Texas, she embarked on four uninterrupted months of spiritual exploration. In Bali, she studied the art of balance between worldly enjoyment and divine transcendence. She became the pupil of an elderly medicine man and also fell in love the best way, unexpectedly.
An intensely articulate and moving memoir of self-discovery, Eat, Pray, Love is about what can happen when you claim responsibility for your own contentment and stop trying to live in imitation of society's ideals. It is certain to touch anyone who has ever woken up to the unrelenting need for change.
©2006 Elizabeth Gilbert; (P)2006 Penguin Audio, a division of Penguin Group (USA) Inc., and Books on Tape. All rights reserved.
"Sustaining a chatty, conspiratorial tone, Gilbert fully engages readers in the year's cultural and emotional tapestry, conveying rapture with infectious brio, recalling anguish with touching candor, as she details her exotic tableau with history, anecdote and impression." (Publishers Weekly)
"Gilbert's sensuous and audacious spiritual odyssey is as deeply pleasurable as it is enlightening." (Booklist)
I have an eclectic taste in books. I move from Jodi Picoult to Gillian Flynn. From Ken Kesey to Janet Evanovich. If it is good, I'll read it
A friend and I were talking one day about spirituality. I attempted to describe to her the two months I'd spent in India and the degrees of misfortune I witnessed while I was there. Upon hearing this, my friend recommended, with an enthusiastic smile, that I read Eat, Pray, Love. It is with great regret that I report to my friend (and everyone else) that Eat, Pray, Love is a diary about a selfish American woman who is blessed to travel on her publisher's dime. To be fair, the two months I spent in India was also on my employer's dime. But for the record, I had not gone through a divorce and I wasn't in a "bad place" in life but I was in my mid thirties, like the author.Of course, I would not try to draw parallels between her experiences and mine. But I could not help but feel that this person was utterly self absorbed in this retelling of her spiritual journey back to sanity. If you want a real, objective opinion at the expense of a few spoilers, then read on.SPOILER ALERT!!! First of all, Italy had nothing, really, to do with her spiritual growth. Yes, I understand she ate...quite a lot, in fact. Awesome for her. She sampled exotic Italian cuisine that most of us will only be able to dream about. Again, bravo for her! No, don't hate me for pointing this out. If you're going to write a book about your spiritual journey and then talk about the foods that you sampled for the first 2 hours of the book...I'm sorry but that's just pretentious. So, I'm suffering through all the foods she ate, and the hardships she endured learning Italian, and the utter consternation the beauty of Italy caused in her. Again, I'm thinking how utterly lucky she must be, to have a publisher (and readers) who "eat, pray, and love" this kinda stuff.Remember when I said started reading this book because of the conversation I had with a friend about India and my life changing experience there? I'm not going to even validate the author's India experience with more than these few words. The author admitted that one of the primary things asked of all attending students of the ashram is that they not be emotionally unstable. I think holding a knife for hours and contemplating harming yourself months before falls into that category. She dismisses that night when she almost killed herself, choosing instead to count the months since she and her husband had divorced. Seriously??? And then the author admits, unabashedly, to being a disruption to the overall harmony of the ashram to the point of making loud outburst during meditation, She never admitted to being embarrassed, however, I was embarrassed for her. In many ways, she seems almost child-like in her journey to enlightenment in India, oftentimes complaining or brooding or complaining and brooding. And just when you think she will come away with a deeper understanding and acceptance of herself, she makes out with a tree...reckless abandon redefined.Sadly, Indonesia is worse than India. She befriends a divorced woman, raises money for the woman to buy a home, and then suspects that the woman is out to hustle her when the woman doesn't run out and buy a home right away. The author, after receiving council from another Indonesian, finds that there are cultural differences which can be an obstacle when attempting to buying a home in Indonesia. Still, the author has to see this woman buy a home before she leaves the country. She lies to the woman, tells her that she has to buy a home before she (the author) leaves Indonesia or she's going to take the money back. WOW!No, I realize the author never professed to live like a nun or a Muslim. But this final story gnawed at me deeply. It defied every tenant I've come to revere as a steward of the planet and the people I live among. If you're going to give then you give and you move on. It is not my duty to hang around and make sure the guy I just gave 10 dollars to on the corner really buys food instead of liquor or drugs. That's the pitfall in giving. If you can't handle the shame of being seen as a sucker, then don't involve your friends and family in giving to your cause. End of story. Ultimately, I found the author's long string of insecurities and unresolved issues tiresome, and sometimes, utterly inane. Any nuggets of enlightenment to be found here are buried deep beneath the author's philosophical beliefs in relationship to the rediscovery of her wonderful self. This is, quite frankly, a well written account of one woman's narcissistic journey to nowhere.
I bought this because I love Italy and Italian so much, and she expresses this so well. What bothered me about the book was that she has the money to spend a few years traveling and seeking enlightenment in India and Indonesia and, although she does try to help a poor friend in Indonesia, overall the plight of the desperately poor in those countries does not even touch her radar screen. She can afford to live in her own world and seek deep truths without noticing those starving around her. As a result, two-thirds of the book feel like a travelogue with blinders on. I felt like an ugly American tourist just listening to her self-indulgence. Skip the last 2/3 of the book and it would be a five-star experience.
The author's shallow rambling about self caused me to lose my appetite during her eating phase, not want to think about prayer or meditation during her prayer phase, and I quit before any negative impact in the love phase.
Have moved on to Faulkner
Was just herself
I wasn't sure I would like this book when I stared listening to it, but I stuck with it and was handsomely rewarded. The author has an amazing ability to take you with her on a year long journey to Italy, India, and Indonesia. She has an amazing ability to tell the story of the people, places, and wisdom learned along the way. If more people could see the world as she has, our planet would be a much better place for everyone.
This book was one I invented a whole roadtrip for just so I could enjoy it all in one go. There is so much to chew on in here: places, foods, loves, tragedies, furnishings, musings, religions... It is not only the pasta that is toothsome. Along with the writer and the narrator, I experienced the emotions of the book almost as if they were my own. I looked forward to my next reading session as one might hunger for another good meal.
Overall, I'd say that if you're a strong independent person, don't bother reading. I'm sorry, but I just couldn't finish the book. Listening to her complain about her life and her first world problems was maddening. Listening to her describe food just made me hungry. Ha!
For a book that is searching for everything, I unfortunately, found nothing. Shallow and cotton candy
sweet. Elizabeth Gilbert doesn't have a clue. Still can't believe this book has such a high star rating. This is suppose to be nonfiction! I guess like the reality shows today are nonfiction. Total waste of time and an Audible credit.
I had great expectations given all of the other reviews but found this book to be one of the most boring I have ever listened to. I was expecting more of a story rather than endless "how I feel ramblings". Pick another book.
When I started this book I was feeling a bit disappointed by the selfishness of Elizabeth but I was WRONG. There is a great lesson in this book and I am thankful I read it to the end. I think this is a wonderful book for anyone in transition but especially for the 20s crowd. I write that simply because we need to discover our true self as early as possible because when we deny it we loose out on so much of life. That doesn't mean you need to go to Italy or India to discover it but to search and be true to yourself. We need to understand our limitations. Elizabeth shows us not only the struggle to understand and forgive oneself but the courage to accept yourself for who you are, rather than WHAT YOU ARE SUPPOSE TO BE. Bravo! The author is the narrator which a real treat. Her candid journey through dysfunction to self nurturance to spiritual discovery to fulfillment is a worthwhile example for us all.
My only disappointment was there was no afterward in the audio, which I noticed the book had when I saw it at the bookstore. Many of the people in the book are described with such care, you care about them...consequently (since they are real people with fake names) you want to know how they are now.
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