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Eat, Pray, Love: One Woman's Search for Everything Across Italy, India and Indonesia [Paperback]

Elizabeth Gilbert
3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (102 customer reviews)
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Book Description

Oct. 1 2013
A transformational journey through Italy, India, and Bali searching for pleasure and devotion—the massive bestseller from the author of The Signature of All Things

This beautifully written, heartfelt memoir touched a nerve among both readers and reviewers. Elizabeth Gilbert tells how she made the difficult choice to leave behind all the trappings of modern American success (marriage, house in the country, career) and find, instead, what she truly wanted from life. Setting out for a year to study three different aspects of her nature amid three different cultures, Gilbert explored the art of pleasure in Italy and the art of devotion in India, and then a balance between the two on the Indonesian island of Bali. By turns rapturous and rueful, this wise and funny author (whom Booklist calls “Anne Lamott’s hip, yoga- practicing, footloose younger sister”) is poised to garner yet more adoring fans.

Frequently Bought Together

Eat, Pray, Love: One Woman's Search for Everything Across Italy, India and Indonesia + Committed: A Love Story + The Signature of All Things: A Novel
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From Amazon

If wisdom could be traded like currency, author Elizabeth Gilbert would be a wealthier woman by far, though it's likely her fabulous memoir, Eat Pray Love, racked up a few bucks during its stay on the New York Times bestseller list. What Gilbert imparts in her story--basically, bracing self-knowledge acquired during a year of travel following a bitter divorce and a shattered rebound romance--is at once astounding yet totally obvious. As Gilbert would attest, albeit more eloquently, the most important stuff in life is pretty much under our noses, but we occasionally have to shake ourselves senseless in order to see it (enlisting a guru and a medicine man are highly recommended).

Take this simple but devastating observation posited while Gilbert was on the final leg of a global tour. "I have a history of making decisions very quickly about men. I have always fallen in love fast and without measuring risks. I have a tendency not only to see the best in everyone, but to assume that everyone is emotionally capable of reaching his highest potential. I have fallen in love more times than I care to count with the highest potential of a man, rather than with the man himself, and then I have hung on to the relationship for a long time (sometimes far too long) waiting for the man to ascend to his own greatness. Many times in romance I have been the victim of my own optimism."

Ten million women are smiling wry smiles and nodding their heads in agreement (men too, probably, but the book has a definite female skew). Such emotional bulls-eyes are hit early and often in Eat Pray Love, each seemingly more poignant than the last. Alternately funny and heartbreaking and always deeply resonant, Eat Pray Love, takes the reader on two epic journeys – one through Italy, India and Indonesia and the other deep inside Gilbert's intense psyche. Charles Montgomery's towering The Last Heathen: Encounters with Ghosts and Ancestors in Melanesia notwithstanding, travel memoirs just don't get any better than that. --Kim Hughes

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.

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Customer Reviews

Most helpful customer reviews
13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars I didn't get it. Sept. 6 2009
I know millions of women got a lot out of this book, but I just couldn't find anything enlightening in it. The author was also paid in advance to have the spiritual experience she writes about, which made me doubt its sincerity. I did enjoy the food descriptions in the 'eat' part, though.

The best book of this genre is "Gift From the Sea" by Ann Morrow Lindbergh.
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27 of 29 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The popular aspiration of the future Feb. 28 2008
By Brian Griffith TOP 500 REVIEWER
Gilbert's adventures combine a challenging spiritual quest with dreamlike travel experiences. Her struggles with inner pain are real and gripping, while the exotic locales stoke the reader's appetite for more. She seems to mix it all very well -- inner growth, vocational renewal, and the best kinds of friendship. I just loved her Balinese friend Wayan.

Some people would consider this book spiritual tourism at its most escapist. But let me give one paragraph as an example of what Gilbert puts herself through:

"It took me a while to drop into real silence. Even after I'd stopped talking, I found I was still humming with language. My organs and muscles of speech -- brain, throat, chest, back of neck -- vibrated with the residual effects of talking long after I'd stopped making sounds. My head shimmered in a reverb of sound, the way an indoor swimming pool seems to echo interminably with sounds and shouts, even after the kindergarteners have gone home for the day. It took a surprizingly long time for all this pulsation of speech to fall away, for the whirling noises to settle. Maybe it took about three days."

I'm really glad to see this book topping the bestseller lists in North America, and I hope Gilbert's kind of adventure becomes the popular aspiration of the future.

--author of A Galaxy of Immortal Women: The Yin Side of Chinese Civilization
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15 of 16 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Shallow and Uninteresting June 21 2010
This is the story of a self-absorbed woman getting over a failed relationship. She escapes to Italy, India and Bali in search of discovering some meaning to her life. Unfortunately, her experiences are not only entirely glib and mundane, they are written in such a cute and syrupy style that I finished reading the book only through sheer perseverance. I could go on about how this book can be seen as a reflection of modern individualistic society, but I digress.

I found this book utterly nauseating. A complete waste of time.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Why is this a best-seller?? Jan. 2 2009
I am mystified as to why this book is such a best seller. I actually saved this book to read during my Christmas holiday and was extremely disappointed. Several times, I wanted to give up but decided to stay open minded and read the entire book. But, overall I found Ms. Gilbert to be an unlikeable character which ruined the book for me.
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19 of 21 people found the following review helpful
I looked forward to reading this book but couldn't get through "Eat", let alone "Pray" and "Love". I tossed it aside in disgust. I vehemently disliked the protagonist and couldn't care one whit about her self-indulgent journey. The message I got from the pages I managed to read was "when times get tough, take a year off, travel the world and focus only on your self", as though the average person has that kind of luxury or would really even want to do that. This book sums up, for me, what's wrong with modern North American society -- far too much orientation on self and "I'm worth it", and not enough focus on what's real and important. Eat, Pray, Love is, in my opinion, VASTY over-rated and definitely not on my recommended reading list.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars over-rated and blown up April 29 2010
By susan
I will not see the movie when it comes out as I do not wish to support any more of Ms Gilbert's profits. I was under the erroneous assumption that I would gain something personal from the book; something with which to identify. While the Italian component was a bit fun to read and held a bit of "wish I was there" for me, the India section dragged on painfully. Gilbert makes a point of name dropping her numerous wealthy friends who were there for her. Gilbert had a family support as well as many friends on whom she could rely. She was never left to her own defenses. As the pages turned, I began to expect yet another of Gilbert's successful friends to come up in her story. The book is far more about her connections to a very priviledged society rather than about finding herself in the real world - of being left to fend for yourself and feeling completely alone with very limited funds. And, all is well for Gilbert, because once again she has someone to rely on - her fairy tale ending with a new romance, and, yes, lots of money to do and travel as she wishes.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Scintillating (3.5 stars) Jan. 11 2013
By Urbano
Gilbert's search for life and love in Italy reminded me of Aleesa Sutton's Diary of a Single Mormon Female. Both authors share their tales of thwarted romance (in Europe and elsewhere) and their sincere efforts to make sense of God in a candid and humorous way. Gilbert's book is full of heart and spiritual insight, even if it does run a little long. Recommended.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars one big snore Jan. 27 2010
By J. Ward TOP 1000 REVIEWER
It took me a while to actually get into this book, then I found her Italian experience interesting, probably because I'm Italian, but once she landed in India, I had a hard time reading all that crap!! and it just went on and on and on...
Need I say more, I did not finish the book.
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Most recent customer reviews
1.0 out of 5 stars Not my type. I bought it to check what ...
Not my type. I bought it to check what my mentee is reading. She loves it and has been influenced by it.
I'm not so keen.
Published 1 month ago by Bettyjane Wylie
5.0 out of 5 stars ... gave it as a gift and my friend just loved the book
i gave it as a gift and my friend just loved the book.
Published 2 months ago by Diane
5.0 out of 5 stars ahah But she says she like it.
I bought this for my girlfriend.

She's been reading it for about 5 month now... ahah

But she says she like it.
Published 3 months ago by M. Jacques
5.0 out of 5 stars An excellent read.
Loved this book. The story is excellent.
Published 3 months ago by Josee P P
3.0 out of 5 stars A tad disappointed.
A book club choice in our group. I thought it was fairly overrated but many others enjoyed it. I much preferred the first third of it. Read more
Published 3 months ago by Lisbet B Soda
1.0 out of 5 stars Don't bother
And the moral of the story is - If you have problems in your life, instead of standing your ground and working them out where you are, run away for a year and seek a spiritual... Read more
Published 5 months ago by njm
1.0 out of 5 stars Don't get it the hype!
There was a lot of hype over this book and I just don't get it. A lot of women go through this sort of thing, in fact much worse than the author did and not very many can just take... Read more
Published 9 months ago by AngelinaT
5.0 out of 5 stars If At First You Don't Like It - Try Again A Few Years Later...
The first time I saw Eat, Pray, Love I didn't really understand the cover or what it was about. I was a young new mother and had no inclination or time to read anything too heavy... Read more
Published 9 months ago by unsaintly musing
5.0 out of 5 stars It is a best seller
I just want to say that it is very easy to read, very nice book... I love it...
You should buy it too
Published 10 months ago by Johanne Cote
1.0 out of 5 stars Did not like it at all.
I don't understand what all the fuss was about.
Could not even finish reading this book.
The author (main character) whines. Read more
Published 11 months ago by marzena ptaszek
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