All I heard was the buzz about this movie. A couple of friends had seen it, hated it but said they had heard the book was better but I still wasn't interested. Lo and behold I received the book as a gift at Christmas and after I was going crazy late at night when I didn't have anything else to read, I started it.
My goodness, I've never read anything like it (really) and that's NOT in a good way. My friends and I thought we would identify with Liz Gilbert as she was depicted as a woman trying to "find" herself, loves to travel and is independent. How wrong we were - this woman is a self-absorbed narcissist - I actually disliked her, so much so that I was skipping paragraphs. FINALLY gave up. I also think she insults the intelligence of the reader, explaining over and over ad nauseum what she means.
No wonder the movie was a flop! I'm glad I didn't spend the money buying the book.
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.
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.
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.
Having read over 200 books this past year this by far disappointed me the most. It was (yawn) ho hum and was a definite waste of my time. There was very little I liked about it. The writing style is almost ok but that is about it. I kept hoping it would get better so kept reading to give it a chance but it never did. This is one of the only books I've read in a few years that I could not wait to get over with.
We used this book to launch our first bookclub and I have to say that it was the most annoying book I have read in a long time. First of all this woman needs to see a therapist to sort out her narcissism. Her self-obsession in places such as India and Indonesia bordered on some kind of pathological sickness. When I first began reading the book I really did believe that some sort of real hurt would explain her 'pain' but came to realise that her 'pain' was human heartache. Most of us have suffered loss, heartbreak, grief and have felt the desire to run away from it all but we have real lives and so we grow up and accept our pain and carry on with our responsibilities. Not Elizabeth Gilbert - she lies on the floor and cries. She then goes off for a year to heal herself from walking out on her relationship. She pays money to go and clean floors in an Ashram in India - which must be the height of self indulgence. She learns nothing about the reality of heartbreak in India that might arise from having to send your young children to beg for food on the streets or making them go to work at the age of 10 in sweatshops or worse. She talks about learning to love herself as though that had been an issue for her. She did not learn anything about humility, grace or altruism. In her section where she raises money for the healer she becomes obsessed with how her 'gift' is used and implies that all Indonesians are really cheats and are trying to rob generous westerners. No old colonial hangovers there then. 4 out of 5 in the book club hated this book. One found it impossible to read, one agreed that she is a total narcissist and the other found her extremely annoying. We did wonder who likes this book and we wondered why. We had expected real growth and awareness. The book ends with her finding a man who treats her like a pet. The way she writes about him and their affair makes him sound quite creepy. Do not buy this book if you are looking for something with more depth than a sheet of copy paper. And the writing is not that great either.
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 experience in Italy, India and Bali that you have already been paid to write about. And while you are at it, make every excuse you can for justifying your own selfishness, self indulgence and self centeredness. I stuck with the book thinking "this has to get better," It didn't. What a waste of time.
After all the hype, what a total let down. This storyline (and the character) simply had no backbone. From the first pages, with no real reasons given, she's fed up and set on divorcing. And its downhill from there. I made it to Italy with her - but when I realised she would meet no one of interest, eat nothing of interest and overall do nothing of interest in fabulous Italy, I figured there was no way I was travelling on, and cut my journey short.