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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 (96 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.

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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.
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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
By J. Macgillivray TOP 1000 REVIEWER
Format:Paperback
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
Format:Paperback
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
Format:Paperback
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
4.0 out of 5 stars Scintillating (3.5 stars) Jan. 11 2013
By Urbano
Format:Paperback
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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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Why is this a best-seller?? Jan. 2 2009
By JBB
Format:Paperback
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
Format:Paperback
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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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
Format:Paperback
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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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Book of Whining Aug. 5 2010
By Yammy
Format:Paperback
I'll keep this review short. I couldn't even finish the book. Go whine somewhere else Elizabeth because I don't want to hear it.
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Most recent customer reviews
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 2 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 2 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 4 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 5 months ago by marzena ptaszek
5.0 out of 5 stars good
good I really enjoyed this book I also saw the moving and I think it was quite accurate. I like it when a book and movie are the same.
Published 11 months ago by Wendy Michaels
3.0 out of 5 stars Zzzzzzzzzz
Aftermath years of seeing all my girlfriends read this book, I thought it was high time I get on board and give it a go. Read more
Published 11 months ago by Directorofstyles
1.0 out of 5 stars Selfish and self-obsessed protagonsir
Previous critical reviewers have aptly described this book. The Eat third of this book was a delight to read, principally because of the descriptive details of the food, but large... Read more
Published 12 months ago by Christine Kwong
4.0 out of 5 stars four stars for troubles at relating to you elizabeth
The book is great, well writen, not too heavy and pleasant to scroll through whenever you need to get away! Read more
Published 14 months ago by Marie-Claude Chenier
5.0 out of 5 stars A book for thoughts within
Excellent book that makes you reevaluate your life. In this day and age working and careers are so important. But are they? Read more
Published 15 months ago by Guy Tessier
4.0 out of 5 stars An overall enjoyable read
This book is about one woman's journey to find God and a peaceful place in this world and the universe on the whole. Read more
Published on March 26 2012 by Tom Turvey
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