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Refreshing Honesty by author Elizabeth Gilbert in Eat, Pray, Love

Updated on July 7, 2011

Eat, Pray, Love is Elizabeth Gilbert’s a wonderfully crafted book about life changing experiences when she took extended leave from her job as a journalist and traveled to three countries.

This book was recommended to me by several friends immediately before I left New Zealand for several months travel. I hadn’t heard of it and put it on the “must read sometime” list. Only then did I discover it was (at the time) on the New York Times Bestseller List. I saw it for sale when I was in a bookshop in Bangkok and bought it. I am so glad I did.

The book is a delight. I enjoy travel narratives and this one is in my top ten of my all time “must reads”. I also relish those books where people shift countries, buy a house and renovate it, but this one is nothing like those narratives. It’s more about delving into inner insecurities and attempting a renovation of the soul!

Divorce and depression had left its impression on the author and the book of her year long journey describes her feelings as she examines herself, her life and her motives with raw honesty. It is, at times, a painful journey as she peels away the layers of hurt she has endured in 30+ years.

Each word in the title Eat, Pray, Love is expanded by her experiences in three countries: Italy where the author indulged in the fabulous food and language, India where she found new meaning in her life at an ashram, then finally finding love in Indonesia.

It’s sparsely written but that doesn’t minimize a rich story, deep meaning as she flirts with life (potential and actual love) throughout her travels in the three countries.

Encounters with other traveler’s and locals are poignant. Elizabeth Gilbert’s personality is magnetic and the way she quickly develops close friendships with those in her path are encounters to envy. They add to the story in surprising ways.

In Italy she enrolled in a class to learn the romantic language. She found a gorgeous young Italian tutor (much younger than her) to help with the Italian language and her fantasies were humorous and touching. Her portrayals of meals shared and eaten alone are touching and real.

The “pray” section is set in an unnamed ashram in India. Each person is allocated a daily job and initially Elizabeth’s task was to clean the tiled temple floors.

She became firm friends with Texan called Richard and he nicknamed her “groceries” (which I found really funny). It was a reference to her ability to consume large servings of food. Gilbert has a wonderful ability to laugh at herself and this provides much of the humor.

Several experiences of her time at the ashram in India appealed to my sense of humor. Silence is recommended at the ashram so accepting that she talked too much, she decided to take the vow of silence. A few minutes after making this vow, she was offered the only position at the ashram where talking is essential. She accepts the role and excels at it, helping newcomers to settle into the routine.

I don’t want to give away all of the magical qualities in this book. Travel is often a life changing experience and this one is no exception. One learns that her changes were profound and love features too.

I recommend this book Eat, Pray, Love to anyone interested in tales about strong women who travel and those who like stories about self development. Those who simply want a well crafted excellent travel narrative will also enjoy this.

It’s not large so it’s an ideal book to take on holiday to read on the plane or pack in your luggage to devour while at the beach or on the road.

During my travels, I usually discard my books and sometimes that is a painful process because they become friends. Elizabeth’s Gilberts gem stayed packed in my burgeoning suitcase for me to take home with me. I did read it again (something I do rarely) and like all good books I found some different and powerful meanings.

I then passed this delightful book, Eat, Pray, Love onto my friends and family. If you decide to read it, or have already read it, feel free to share your thoughts.

**This article is copyright Travelespresso.  Respect my work and if you wish to use it, please ask me.**


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    • travelespresso profile imageAUTHOR


      7 years ago from Somewhere in this exciting world.

      Let me know how you enjoy it JF. Its one of the few books I've read twice!

      Thanks for stopping by and commenting.

    • John Redfern profile image

      John Redfern 

      7 years ago from Rochdale England

      Got the book for christmas looking forward to reading it, great hubs keep up the good work.

    • travelespresso profile imageAUTHOR


      8 years ago from Somewhere in this exciting world.

      I hope you get to see the movie soon. I missed it and as I'm in Vietnam at the moment I'm not sure when I'll be able to see it. However, I highly recommend the book which I've read twice. That's unusual for me.

      Thanks for your comment.

    • Ingenira profile image


      8 years ago

      I have wanted to watch the movie, now that I am on work assignment in Thailand, I will definitely do it when I am back to my homeland end of this week, especially after reading your great review. :)

    • travelespresso profile imageAUTHOR


      8 years ago from Somewhere in this exciting world.

      Have you seen the movie? I am so looking forward to seeing it but its not on in my part of the world! Thanks for stopping by and leaving a comment.

    • Lisa at Large profile image

      Lisa at Large 

      8 years ago from New Jersey

      I too enjoyed the book and loved it.

    • travelespresso profile imageAUTHOR


      8 years ago from Somewhere in this exciting world.

      I imagine that this book has made a great movie. I can't wait to see it so I hope its here soon. Thanks for your comment.

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      It is a lovely book! I just saw the movie too and loved it as well!

    • travelespresso profile imageAUTHOR


      8 years ago from Somewhere in this exciting world.

      Hello Kelster

      Thanks for your wonderful comments. Oh how I wish I'd developed my HP business to such an extent where I could rely on it and just travel and sit in wonderful places and write!!! That is the dream.

      I do a variety of work but at present I am teaching English in Northern Vietnam. I like it here a lot. Feel free to email me if you want other questions answered.

    • kelster profile image


      8 years ago from San Diego, Ca

      You are a woman after my own heart with all the references to self development, independent women travels, and the like:) I'm linking to your hub! and I can't wait to check out those other 2 book recommendations! May I ask what you do for work when you're saving up for more traveling? Do you rely on hubpages for income or do you do something else?

    • travelespresso profile imageAUTHOR


      8 years ago from Somewhere in this exciting world.

      I think you would REALLY enjoy reading this one. It's readily available here so do look out for it. Here's an idea - treat yourself to it as a Chrissie present!

      Thanks for your lovely words. I do SO enjoy receiving comments - it's like getting a letter out of the blue!

    • coverley1 profile image


      8 years ago from Victoria, Australia

      It sounds like a book after my own heart. I like raw honesty because it is this humbling of oneself that lets the soul free so that the human being can evolve. I love reading your Hubs travelespresso...keep them coming.

    • travelespresso profile imageAUTHOR


      8 years ago from Somewhere in this exciting world.

      Hello Cotsy

      Nice to welcome you here and thank you so much for your comments. I didn't know there was a sequel - I'll have to look out for it.

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      Great Book Joy - I loved it. Read it when it first came out and now there is a sequel. great site

    • travelespresso profile imageAUTHOR


      9 years ago from Somewhere in this exciting world.

      Thanks very much for your comments MPIvy. Hope you enjoy some of my other hubs. I have several other books I'd like to share with other much to write about! I look forward to reading more of your great hubs. Cheers J

    • profile image


      9 years ago

      HI Travelespresso, I too read and adored this book! Her honesty and willingness to share with the reader was amazing. Her encounters and relationships with locals was astonishing as she really got to know people in such varied cultures. I, too, liked the Texan and the "Groceries" nickname.

      Nice hub and I'm off to read a few more of yours.


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