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Eat, Pray, Love: One Woman's Search for Everything Across Italy, India and Indonesia Hardcover – February 16, 2006


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Viking Adult (February 16, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0670034711
  • ISBN-13: 978-0670034710
  • Product Dimensions: 9.3 x 6.3 x 1.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3,462 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #70,661 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Starred Review. Gilbert (The Last American Man) grafts the structure of romantic fiction upon the inquiries of reporting in this sprawling yet methodical travelogue of soul-searching and self-discovery. Plagued with despair after a nasty divorce, the author, in her early 30s, divides a year equally among three dissimilar countries, exploring her competing urges for earthly delights and divine transcendence. First, pleasure: savoring Italy's buffet of delights - the world's best pizza, free-flowing wine and dashing conversation partners - Gilbert consumes la dolce vita as spiritual succor. "I came to Italy pinched and thin," she writes, but soon fills out in waist and soul. Then, prayer and ascetic rigor: seeking communion with the divine at a sacred ashram in India, Gilbert emulates the ways of yogis in grueling hours of meditation, struggling to still her churning mind. Finally, a balancing act in Bali, where Gilbert tries for equipoise "betwixt and between" realms, studies with a merry medicine man and plunges into a charged love affair. 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.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From The New Yorker

At the age of thirty-one, Gilbert moved with her husband to the suburbs of New York and began trying to get pregnant, only to realize that she wanted neither a child nor a husband. Three years later, after a protracted divorce, she embarked on a yearlong trip of recovery, with three main stops: Rome, for pleasure (mostly gustatory, with a special emphasis on gelato); an ashram outside of Mumbai, for spiritual searching; and Bali, for "balancing." These destinations are all on the beaten track, but Gilbert's exuberance and her self-deprecating humor enliven the proceedings: recalling the first time she attempted to speak directly to God, she says, "It was all I could do to stop myself from saying, 'I've always been a big fan of your work.'"
Copyright © 2006 The New Yorker

More About the Author

Elizabeth Gilbert is the #1 New York Times bestselling author of Eat, Pray, Love, as well as the short story collection, Pilgrims--a finalist for the PEN/Hemingway Award, and winner of the 1999 John C. Zacharis First Book Award from Ploughshares. A Pushcart Prize winner and National Magazine Award-nominated journalist, she works as writer-at-large for GQ. Her journalism has been published in Harper's Bazaar, Spin, and The New York Times Magazine, and her stories have appeared in Esquire, Story, and the Paris Review.

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Customer Reviews

Even if you saw the movie, read the book.
LisaLou9
While Elizabeth Gilbert has an intimate style of writing and a witty turn of phrase, it did feel like EVERY funny story and EVERY clever thought had to be crammed in.
Julia Flyte
I really enjoyed the first and third portions of the book, but the second part - in India - got so boring that I almost didn't finish reading it.
J.E. Ramont

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

1,197 of 1,365 people found the following review helpful By taniam on March 31, 2008
Format: Paperback
I find it so surprising--reading the angry, negative reviews--that the people who hated the book hated it for exactly the reasons why some steer clear away from the the spiritual-journey-memoir genre. Yes, the author is self-absorbed, yes, she seems to think of only trite stuff, yes, she seems self-indulgent with her problems. And yes, she's allowed. It is after all a book that is positioned to address these things in the author's self; who otherwise would not be searching for something more: more meaning and more appreciation in/of her life.
Here is a woman who shows all the possibly-perceived-as-lacking-substance thoughts of hers and we are throwing tomatoes at her. One thing, she obviously wasn't afraid of that. She wasn't aiming to be coming off as some deeply wise woman but a fumbling girl-woman trying to break out of what she felt was imminent disaster (had she had the baby and delayed her need to find out what she truly wants from her life she might have left not only her husband, but their child, or most probably ending up not leaving out of guilt and becoming crazy instead: exposing her family to that for years; not an uncommon reality). She is not one for anti-depressants, remember.
This memoir falls in the same category as the TV show Sex and the City (of which it was compared to in a review here). Both get trampled for being supposedly superficial, covering the silly plights of city girls who don't know what they want and yet have everything.
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56 of 61 people found the following review helpful By Amy92010 on April 1, 2008
Format: Paperback
I have a hard time reviewing this book. On the one hand, Elizabeth is a very gifted writer. Her words flow easily through your mind as you read them and her book is engaging, charming, and pleasant to read.

On the other hand, I objectively find Elizabeth's lifestyle to be childish and irresponsible. I want to dislike her for this (as many other reviewers have). But I am somewhat sympathetic because I think there is a good chance she is bipolar.

She seems to have a difficulty commiting to anything in her life, and is constantly plagued by a turbulent mind. She vacillates between nights of sobbing depression (when reflecting upon her current 'commitments' in life) and giddy exuberance (when envisioning a potential abandon of those present obligations). She is constantly seeking "balance", which is something coveted by most bipolar individuals. If you read about her history in the biography on her website, you'll see that she lived as a vagabond traveler for much of her adult life, bouncing from odd job to odd job in search of the next great thing. A lot of bipolars are gregarious and charming (making lots of friends) at certain times, but during others they fall apart and are needy and annoying. Hence they have problems maintaining a stable relationship.

Elizabeth is someone who would be fun to meet and enjoy dinner with. Almost intoxicatingly funny and charming. But she would probably be a disaster to have as a roommate or long-term friend, because she is too self-absorbed by her unquiet mind.

I think this book is EXACTLY like the author. Some people love it for it's charming and vivacious parts. But other people see past that and really think about the character of the author and find the whole thing to be shallow, self-centered and annoying.
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383 of 453 people found the following review helpful By MLynn on May 14, 2007
Format: Paperback
I picked up this book on the strength of good reviews and found myself wanting to throw it at the wall. The author is a fine writer with a good sense of humor who seemed to want to write about her journey to self fullfilment, spiritual awakening and happiness. Instead she came off as a priviledged, slightly spoiled writer who needed an excuse for a writers advance so she could travel for free. She reveals herself to be a spiritual narcissist who obsessively navel gazes. While many passages are light hearted and funny and she is oh, so very clever and witty!! there was no real depth, no real meaningful questions asked or answered except for how she could get more breaks and be FULFILLED. It seemed like an extended article for SELF magazine. Instead order books by Kathleen Norris or even Anne LaMott for God's sake!
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1,560 of 1,859 people found the following review helpful By Lynne701 on February 16, 2008
Format: Hardcover
Here is a book that either changed people's lives or irritated the bejesus out of them. Count me among the latter.

Eat Pray Love - One Woman's Search for Everything Across Italy, India and Indonesia by Elizabeth Gilbert was supposed to enlighten me. It didn't.

OK -- First the positive: Overall, it is a well-written book. The author takes many complicated metaphysical concepts and makes them readable. The book is divided into sections: Eat, which is the author's journey to Italy; Pray, her pilgrimage to India and Love, where she takes a lover in Bali.

This is about a thirty-something woman looking for spirituality and happiness. She is married, but desperately unhappy for no single reason that she cannot or will not divulge. So, she leaves her husband (and, by the way, gives him all marital property out of supposed "guilt" for leaving him, making me wonder what exactly she did to warrant this)and falls right into another relationship (a-ha! adultery, perhaps?). When the rebound relationship that broke up her marriage falls apart, she now wants to find God. Of course. She claims God spoke to her on the bathroom floor, thus beginning her journey.

But not before she goes to her publisher and secures a $200,000 advance for this book. Makes you wonder, as one reviewer on Amazon pointed out, was the journey retrofitted to the book proposal?

What better way to go find God than in Italy. For four months she eats gelato, practices her Italian with a young man named Luca Spaghetti (If you are going to make up names of allegedly real people, could you find a more sterotypical name? Why not Carmine OrganGrinder?) and gains 23 pounds -- quick to point out to the readers that she was way underweight to beign with.
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