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Eat, Pray, Love: One Woman's Search for Everything Across Italy, India and Indonesia Paperback – January 30, 2007
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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.
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"If a more wonderful writer than Gilbert is currently in print, I haven't found him or her... Gilbert's prose is fueled by a mix of intelligence, wit, and colloquial exuberance that is close to irresistible, and makes the reader only too glad to join the posse of friends and devotees who have the pleasure of listening in." —Jennifer Egan, The New York Times Book Review
"An engaging, intelligent, and highly entertaining memoir... [Her] account of her time in India is beautiful and honest and free of patchouli-scented obscurities." —Lev Grossman, Time
"A meditation on love in many forms... Gilbert's wry, unfettered account of her extraordinary journey makes even the most cynical reader dare to dream of someday finding God deep within a meditation cave in India, or perhaps over a transcendent slice of pizza." —Los Angeles Times
"Gilbert's memoir reads like the journal of your most insightful, funny friend as she describes encounters with healers, ex-junkies, and (yes!) kind, handsome men." —Glamour
"Readable [and] funny... By the time she and her lover sailed into a Bali sunset, Gilbert had won me over. She's a gutsy gal, this Liz, flaunting her psychic wounds and her search for faith in a pop-culture world." —The Washington Post
"This insightful, funny account of her travels reads like a mix of Susan Orlean and Frances Mayes... Gilbert's journey is well worth taking." —Entertainment Weekly ("A" rating)
"Be advised that the supremely entertaining Eat Pray Love—a mid-thirties memoir by the endlessly talented Elizabeth Gilbert—is not just for the ladies, fellas." —GQ
"Compulsively readable... Think Carrie Bradshaw cut loose from her weekly column, her beloved New York City, and her trio of friends, riffing her way across the globe on an assortment of subjects ranging from the 'hands-down most amazing' Sicilian pasta she's ever tasted to her reason for buying sexy lingerie to our collective, species-driven instinct for being on the planet." —Elle
"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." ' " —The New Yorker
"An intriguing and substantive journey recounted with verve, humor, and insight. Others have preceded Gilbert in writing this sort of memoir, but few indeed have done it better." —Seattle Post-Intelligencer
"In this engrossing and captivating travel memoir, journalist Liz Gilbert globe-trots for a year to Italy, India, and Indonesia... Lucky for us, the lessons she learns are entirely importable." —Marie Claire
"Gilbert's writing is chatty and deep, confident and self-deprecating... that makes her work engaging and accessible." —San Francisco Chronicle
"As a friend--and as a writer--Gilbert is innocently trusting, generous, loving, and expressive." —The Boston Globe
"Gilbert is an irresistible narrator—funny, self-deprecating, fiercely intelligent... [She's] such a sincere seeker... [It's] impossible not to applaud her breakthrough." —Salon.com
"An intimate account of a spiritual journey. But it's also a zippy travelogue with rich, likeable characters...You will laugh, cry, and love with a more open heart." —Rocky Mountain News
"Gilbert is a witty, funny, and likeable pilgrim on a hero's journey." —The Oregonian
"Run-of-the-mill envy doesn't begin to describe what many readers must feel when devouring Elizabeth Gilbert's Eat Pray Love." —St. Louis Post-Dispatch
"A captivating storyteller with a gift for enlivening metaphors, Gilbert is Anne Lamott's hip, yoga-practicing, footloose younger sister, and readers will laugh and cry as she recounts her nervy and outlandish experiences and profiles the extraordinary people she meets... [Her] sensuous and audacious spiritual journey is as deeply pleasurable as it is enlightening." -Booklist (starred review)
"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 (starred review)
"Gilbert takes us on a pilgrimage, with the humor, insight, and charm that only come with honest self-revelation and good writing." —Jack Kornfield, The Omega Institute
"Spilling out of this funny (and profound) circus car of a book are dozens of mesmerizing characters; people you'll envy Liz Gilbert for finding, valuing, loving, and, I couldn't help noticing, joining for irresistible meals. I've never read an adventure quite like this one, where a writer packs up her entire life and takes it on the road." —Alan Richman
"This is a wonderful book, brilliant and personal, rich in spiritual insight... Gilbert is everything you would love in a tour guide of magical places she has traveled to both deep inside and across the oceans: she's wise, jaunty, human, ethereal, hilarious, heartbreaking, and, God, does she pay great attention to the things that really matter." —Anne Lamott
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That’s exactly what she needed - rest. She needed to be strong. She planned a one-year vacation in which she hoped to mend her broken heart and to find peace. She would spent four months in Italy; four months in India and four months in Indonesia. She points out that each country begins with “I’ and this journey was about self discovery.
It’s a must read for people like me who’ve had our hearts broken, and then those hearts never seems to mind. I’m still aching over the loss of my dad and my birth family. I’ve studied meditation with differing results. This book proved a how-to book on how to heal.
Chapters were not intended to be how-to chapters, but that’s what many of them were for me.
Most of us can’t drop everything and rush to an apartment in Rome and then to a retreat in India and then to Bali. But we can learn yoga and meditation anywhere. We can order pizza and make new friends.
If you aren’t hurting and you don’t need the guide to meditation and self discovery, it’s still a great book. The collection of 108 personal essays are fascinating with lots of fresh insights into the human psych and the types of characters that one usually finds only in a novel. There’s Richard the Texan who nicknames Gilbert, “Groceries; there’s the plumber who takes her to the highest spot at the Indian retreat, there’s Ketut the medicine man who is somewhere between 65 and 112 years old and Wayan the medicine woman searching for a home. It’s hard not to fall in love with these characters. Gilbert gains weight in Italy, self awareness in India and self confidence in Bali, Indonesia. And she finds love.
Some chapters are too pat. She discovers the four brothers who are sort of guardian angels we all have. On her way home that day, a monkey threatens her, but she is feisty, and she stand up to the creature. After all she’s got four tough brothers protecting her. Too pat. The chapter was contrived.
The reader is so busy rooting for her that he forgets his own troubles - except to put the book down for awhile to eat, pray, meditate and fall in love.
That’s a lot to get from one book.
Rereading this book allowed me to more slowly savor the beautiful prose, to ponder the truths of an insight, to laugh out loud along with the author. I especially appreciated reading the introduction added to this ten year anniversary version because it offered me some reflection questions to muse on as I was reading. I did not need to get swept along in the pace of the story because I already knew what happened. So instead I read, with consideration of my own journey, inspired to dream a little bigger and to face my fears with a little more courage.
I will likely read the book again at some point in the future, perhaps for a milestone birthday. I would highly recommend this book to anyone who dares to dream about what it might look like to take their desires to be the best version of themselves and then to consider how to structure a journey of transformation that will help them to arrive at that place. I like that this is the author’s message to her readers: to allow her story to inspire them to creat their own path based on what is most feasible to them, which begins by asking, “what if?” And then walking towards the answer with courage.