Eat, Pray, Love: A Book Summary and Review

Elizabeth Gilbert has written a very entertaining and enlightening book about her travels to Italy, India, and Indonesia. Following her divorce, Elizabeth experienced a crushing depression resulting in panic, confusion, and weight loss. This is the story of her travels and explorations of three different cultures, in an effort to find balance in her life.

First, she experiences pleasure in Italy. She enrolls in Italian language classes and immerses herself in the beauty of this romantic language, and Italian culture. She has Gelati in the morning, discovers the best pizza in Italy, and shares Sardinian wine with friends. She experiences a soccer game in Italy, where the natives are the most passionate of fans, and deal with defeat by gathering at the bakery and eating cream-puffs. As she leaves Italy, she proclaims to be free from her gnawing depression, and not surprisingly, back to her normal weight.

She then travels to India where she practices hours of silent meditation at her Guru's Ashram. She does not reveal her Guru's name or the Ashram location, as to not publicize it. She especially thanks her Guru in the book's introduction.

Not claiming to be a theological scholar or the Ashram's official spokesperson, Elizabeth speaks of her experiences in India from her personal standpoint only. Her meditations start off in frustration, as her mind whirls with seemingly endless, cluttering thoughts. However, through hours of practice of silence at the Ashram, she has "seen" God in her meditations, and has learned that God is found within herself, and to find peace one must return-to-self. This is the most important account of her travels. Her time in India is described beautifully and honestly.

Elizabeth finds love in Bali, Indonesia. Elizabeth met Ketut, a ninth generation Indian medicine man, two years ago prior to this trip. She explained to him then that she wanted to learn to live in this world, and to enjoy its delights, but also to devote herself to God. He told her, "To find the balance that you want, you must keep your feet grounded so firmly on earth that it's like you have four legs, instead of two. That way, you can stay in the world. But you must stop looking at the world through your head. You must look through your heart instead. That way you will know God."

Ketut asks her to come to Indonesia to teach him English, and he, in turn, will teach her everything he knows. She fufills her destiny by living and learning with Ketut, in Bali, Indonesia, her final destination.

She meets Wayan, a Balinese healer, and Felipe, a Brazilian man who loves and adores her with "such single minded concentration." The reader can only share in Elizabeth's joy as her story comes to its conclusion with her finding a balance between worldly enjoyment and divine transcendence.

This is a wonderful book of self-discovery that will nourish your soul!

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Comments 22 comments

brad 6 years ago

This is not a book for men. If your book club suggests it... skip that session. It was agonizing getting through the 330+ pages. Liz is a clever writer but her adventures and encounters lack substance. The Sex In The City fans will eat this book up. Take a peak at amazon. It is a very popular book but for every 2 people who LOVED it. There is one that HATED it. There is a reason for that kids!


Kristi 6 years ago

Brad,

Have you considered writing a book about your adventures and encounters? Thanks for your comment


Elle 6 years ago

This woman had no one else to think about but herself. She made a choice to leave her husband, and then with a bank account big enough to support her to take a trip around the world took an extended vacation. Self discovery? It's a big yawn. I think she should have kept it as a personal diary. Superficial, self indulgent, and overall just "lacking."


Kristi Maloney profile image

Kristi Maloney 6 years ago Author

Elle I guess it's just me, but hanging out in an Ashram, meditating your day away and later kickin' it with a with a ninth generation Indian medicine man isn't my idea of an extended vacation.


suze 6 years ago

She forgot all about ketut at the end which was what started the whole exploration to begin with.she dropped him like a hot box of rocks as soon as felipe came into the picture. Self indulgent vacation I agree. She also finds a male companion everywhere she goes....she was more comcerned with whether she should have sex or not than finishing her so called journey. Should have skipped this one.


MarianG 6 years ago

I loved the book and look forward to seeing the movie!


Jay 6 years ago

As a guy who's just recently fell victim to this book's new-agey, superficial message of a woman's selfishness, self-indulgence and lack of depth and character (my ex started reading this book, then dumped me over the phone after 4 years together, to go jump on a plane to Europe to finish the book..and find some new guy to whisk her around, while I got to sit in an empty apartment and think about what I did that was so horrible to deserve being abandoned the way I was, because a book inspired her to take some "me" time) I would like to say that if you're with a woman who thought the book or movie was great, or dragged you to see the movie...start planning your exit strategy, because you're being shown the door...no matter how great a guy you are. I almost feel like going to the lineups at the theatres and handing out business cards for my therapist to guys with dates for the pain they'll have to go through when their lost, selfish partners leave them.

And, if she's also a fan of Sex and the City...put on a pair of good shoes and start running...because it's not going to end well for you.


Kristi Maloney profile image

Kristi Maloney 6 years ago Author

Hi Jay,

C'mon! Consider the movie a blessing! Book or no book, she was going to leave you sooner or later....and now you can get on with your life and meet someone more deserving of you!


Tom 6 years ago

If there is a message here... guys, if you want a happy long-lasting marriage, make sure the girl you love and who hopefully loves you too, has already done her Eat, Pry, Love thing - and make sure you've done yours too.


Ryan 6 years ago

pg 305 - "something she never, ever in seven billion light-years could've imagined receiving."

um...light-years is a distance, not a time.

And is anyone else finding the dialogue a bit (or a lot) fake? E.g. Yudhi and all the "dudes" that are said. Or Richard from Texas.


arlenys 6 years ago

can someone explain to me how is the conclusion of this beautiful story of Elizabeth gilbert. how does she realizes it at the last time? is she married with the men from bali?


Arabic  6 years ago

Well , this movies had reached our area finally , the Arabic world , I can tell you guys , this is the only movie it got me to google and search more about it , it did effect me soo strongly I swear , I have kept my relegion thinking aside , as well as my culture effection and tried to see it in a neutral way , Man this is not a simple movie and it had many many messages to think about , the conclusion is , with all my respec to the wuthor , she did come back to square one , to the same place where she started from (fall in love or got a boy friend at least ) I can tell you guys I have been to those countries she has been to , India , Indonesia , YOU DON'T NEED TO GO THERE TO FIND YOUR LIFE BALANCE AT ALL , inspite the fact that SHE DID NOT FIND ANY BALANCE AFTER ALL , what I find it really surprising is the fact that she got me to think about finding out more about this movie and doubt about my personal balance , but once I came home and after I googled it to know more I have realized that , SHE DID NOT FIND HER BALANCE , AND SHE DID NOT NEED FROM THE FIRST PLACE REALLY TO TRAVEL AROUND IF SHE WILL END UP WITH ANOTHER BOYFRIEND AFTER ALL , she left a man who only became her husband because some how she loved him and she thought he was the right guy to marry , and that is where she started , I bet she would not be with The Brazilian man any more by now I can swear she is no more with him , sorry this book got me to think and doubt about my balance but really really deep thinking WE ALL HAVE OUR BALANCE WHERE WE LIVE AND THE WAY WE MAKE OUR LIFE GOES ,

and Finally and from An Arabic culture side , she only needed to go back to the God Books which was sent through prophits and try and read one of them , Bible , Quran what ever, and she will find much much more than what she came back with and guess what , she would have saved the hug amount she needed to spend or she could have easily given it to a Charity and doing that would have made her feel her balance much stroger that the balance she think that she found after all .

of course this is my personal opinion no more .


Arabic Man 6 years ago

Hey ,

So sorry , I should have tried to do check spelling before I clicked ENTER , Sorry that my comments was full of spelling mistakes .


Kristi Maloney profile image

Kristi Maloney 6 years ago Author

I love reading your comments! Keep them coming!


JCM 6 years ago

Ha Ha, Jay, you hit the nail on the head chap, exactly the same thing happened to me but as Kristi said, we need to make sure it is out the system, just hope that the person I meet next wont have to EAT PRAY LOVE every 4 years!


tee 6 years ago

i had to read this book for a book report, and i almost died. not a book i'd be able to appreciate at the age of 15.


Andrei M 5 years ago

For Jay

Man, you should thank Elizabeth Gilbert. Because of her book you found out very early that the woman who you were with wasn't a good match! I'm serious.


Leah 5 years ago

eat pray love has been the best gift i have ever got! i have never read a book so interesting. this book is by far the most interesting book! thank you so much Elizabeth Gilbert for making such a wonderful book!


Alex 5 years ago

this book was so inspiring it made me travel to india and i learned how to meditate. im going to indonesia in a year to see if i can find either ketut or a new medicine man. im 17 and i already know that finding a new experience in your life is worth looking for. For those people that don't like this book its fine to share your feelings but don't be that way about Liz. she wanted to find herself through these three things and im trying to do the same thing. but this book is my favorite book of all time and i would love to meet liz.


Jordan 4 years ago

I read this book for an assignment for my College Writing class. This was the best book I could have chosen. I love how Liz found what had made her unhappy, fixed the problem and set out on a journey of her own to find herself and own pleasures in life. It takes a lot of integrity and faith to travel around Europe on your own not knowing what the outcome is going to be. She was determined to find happiness in her life and she did just that.


abbey 4 years ago

i think this is a great book and it is amazing what she did i guess people don't understand how hard that would be put yourself in her shoes! love it


rod - phillippines 4 years ago

There's nothing to give when emptiness is from inside you.... liz left to find balance to find her appetite for life, love and faith to be ready and be whole again, being independent doesn't make one selfish, just makes one in control.

she left because she needs to find her balance for purpose and thrill for taste.

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