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)
This is a fabulous audibook - you won't want it to end! I commend the author for sharing her struggle with depression, and how she reclaimed her life through meditation and the interesting people she met during her travels. This book has history, humor, and hope. It's a wonderful journey that is not to be missed.
I put off buying this book. I thought, "Oh, no! Not another memoir of personal enlightenment!" But then Audible offered it at $10, and I listened to the sample.
A sense of humor was apparent from the first. No whininess and no proselytizing. Elizabeth searches for the things that matter in Italy, India & Indonesia. That she finds all that she needs and wants is a tribute to her heart, strength and openness. Studying at an ashram in India and with a Balinese medicine man, is not possible for most of us. Elizabeth brings them to life and inspired me to think about spirituality. (I'm an atheist.)
She also brings to life the people she meets on her way. Memorable people, and as with Elizabeth, people you'd like to share dinner with & a bottle of wine.
I had to turn up the volume sometimes in the car to hear her, but she has a lovely voice and did a good job of reading her own book. No one else could have read, "go to bed Liz" with the same amount of surprise, delight, absurdity and relief.
Read this book, you won't be disappointed.
This has been an unique experience for me.
I am seduced by this book. The revealing first chapters portraying the depths of the authors despair slip beguilingly into the ecstasy obtained from Ms Gilbert's quest for a life lived well. Her search for inner "peace with passion" shows in her scandalous conversations within herself to a God she is only just getting to know. A God with simple direct answers to her burning questions. "I am here, I will always be here .....Go to bed Liz" I listen to many books and repeat few of them. This is one work however that I will have to listen to again in the hope that once again, like a voyeur, I can be drawn into the intimacy of a human heart searching for and finding it's maker.
I have mixed feelings about this book. While I enjoyed and have benefited from the various right-on-target one-liners that emerged periodically from the mouths of the many colorful characters, I found the "journey" of this politically correct, entitled woman of privilege to be a histrionic exercise in self-absorption. Her choice of countries based on the letter "I" is most telling. All about "me". It's one of those deceptive narratives that gives the illusion of intimacy yet comes off as shallow and self-serving.
In spite of all her enterprises into enlightenment, the end of the book brings her no closer to resolving her issues with the men in her life - relationships that are many years in the past. And how does she end up? What has she learned? She ends up paired with another flawed human being from whom she will have to discover all over again how to detach. Perhaps at another five-star ashram? Raising another pile of money to throw at one, just one, needy subject?
She needs to discover that spritual solvency is not somewhere "out there" but inside.
This is a wonderful story, and she has a lovely voice. I can't recall enjoying a book more.
Her physical and spiritual journeys are fascinating and inspiring. I don’t want to mimic her journey but she has inspired me to more carefully consider the journey my soul is craving.
Liz, I would love to meet you and thank you personally for your beautiful work.
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.
Once I accepted that the author is somewhat self-absorbed ( a hazzard in the world of personal memoirs) I really enjoyed her adventures around the globe. A great listen, read by the author to boot.
The most positive thing I can write about this book is that Elizabeth Gilbert is a fabulous narrator.
Now for the bad news. I obsessively finish all the books I begin, no matter how difficult, and this book was truly difficult. She is so totally self-absorbed, spoiled in the selfish sense, and narcissistic, that I could barely struggle through the chapters. I read this to discuss with my book group, but to be selfish myself, it was a total waste of time and money.
What really stands out abot this book is how accelerated the main character is. Unfortunately, that drives her into a very early mid-life or existential crisis which she handles by upending her life which is exactly what she needs to do. So we travel with through this confusing, depressing, empowering, and joyful time.
Very intelligent book with important insights particularly for women. A lot of reviewers are very critical of this book due to the fact that she is so successful and decides to give up on a brand of success not many people get, Finding meaning in your life, though, is not a superfluous need but a very important one.
Married, not quite 40 mom from the mid-west. I sit behind a computer all day translating large amounts of data into business solutions.
Elizabeth Gilbert inspires boldness and honesty with oneself. I appreciate the ability to not only share her memoirs of trials and success, but in the process she also calls the reader to look at the humor and comedic relief in ones own survival. Her book should not be judged on religious theology or treated as a road map to be repeated. It is the story of one women brazen enough to not only make change but to share the story of her transformation with the world. Bravo Elizabeth Gilbert, Bravo!
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