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Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert (A Memoir): A Book Review

Updated on October 1, 2012

Eat, Pray, Love By Elizabeth Gilbert

Eat, Pray, Love is a very fascinating travelogue memoir of Elizabeth Gilbert as she recounts all the things she went through her heartbreaking divorce, failed relationships as well as her gastronomic journeys as she travels across Italy, India and Indonesia. It is first published by Viking, February 2006 and became #1 on the New York Times Paperback Nonfiction List for over a year! As of March 2009, the book had remained on the New York Times Best Seller list for 110 weeks.

One Woman's Search for Everything Across Italy, India and Indonesia

Book Description

From the Publisher's Weekly...

Gilbert 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.

Listen to Eat, Pray, Love Audio Book

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

Reader's Reviews:

The author spins an incredible tale with vivid descriptive language and a comfortable style. The messages about faith, belief systems and the universality of religion are life changing. I found the book authentic, humorous and worth sharing with everyone I know. I am a 60 year old woman who has been in a marriage for 40 years and yet I could identify with the author as she tries to recover from her divorce and search for God, inner peace and love. There are lovely messages about tolerance for differences and embracing bits and pieces of every culture we encounter. That has always been my feeling about life and so this author hit a home run with me.

-P. Nathan


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What inspires you after reading Elizabeth Gilbert's Memoir?

Elizabeth M. Gilbert (born July 18, 1969) is an American novelist, essayist, short story writer, biographer and memoirist.

Born in Waterbury, Connecticut. Her father was a chemical engineer, her mother a nurse. Along with her only sister, novelist and historian Catherine Gilbert Murdock, Gilbert grew up on a small family Christmas tree farm in Litchfield, Connecticut. The family lived in the country with no neighbors, and they didn't own a TV or even a record player. Consequently, they all read a great deal, and Gilbert and her sister entertained themselves by writing little books and plays.[1] She attended New York University and graduated in 1991 with a BA in Political Science, after which she lived the life of a literary vagabond - experiencing life as a cook, a waitress, and a magazine lackey - in order to write about it. Her experiences as a cook on a dude ranch found their way into both short stories and her book The Last American Man (Viking 2002). (read more Wikipedia)

Book Reviews for Eat, Pray, Love - by Elizabeth Gilbert

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Excerpt from Elizabeth Gilbert Memoirs "Eat, Pray, Love"

A fascinating journey of a woman that is destined to find love and healing as she travels halfway around the world..

ITALY (page 4 of 7)

And since I am already down there in supplication on the floor, let me hold that position as I reach back in time three years earlier to the moment when this entire story began - a moment which also found me in this exact same posture: on my knees, on a floor, praying.

Everything else about the three-years-ago scene was different, though. That time, I was not in Rome but in the upstairs bathroom of the big house in the suburbs of New York which I'd recently purchased with my husband. It was a cold November, around three o'clock in the morning. My husband was sleeping in our bed. I was hiding in the bathroom for something like the forty-seventh consecutive night, and - just as during all those nights before - I was sobbing. Sobbing so hard, in fact, that a great lake of tears and snot was spreading before me on the bathroom tiles, a veritable Lake Inferior (if you will) of all my shame and fear and confusion and grief.

I don't want to be married anymore.

I was trying so hard not to know this, but the truth kept insisting itself

to me.

I don't want to be married anymore. I don't want to live in this big house. I don't want to have a baby.

This part of my story is not a happy one, I know. But I share it here because something was about to occur on that bathroom floor that would change forever the progression of my life -almost like one of those crazy astronomical super-events when a planet flips over in outer space for no reason whatsoever, and its molten core shifts, relocating its poles and altering its shape radically, such that the whole mass of the planet suddenly becomes oblong instead of spherical. Something like that.

What happened was that I started to pray.

You know - like, to God.

Now, this was a first for me. And since this is the first time I have introduced that loaded word - GOD - into my book, and since this is a word which will appear many times again throughout these pages, it seems only fair that I pause here for a moment to explain exactly what I mean when I say that word, just so people can decide right away how offended they need to get.

Saving for later the argument about whether God exists at all (no-here's a better idea: let's skip that argument completely), let me first explain why I use the word God, when I could just as easily use the words Jehovah, Allah, Shiva, Brahma, Vishnu or Zeus. Alternatively, I could call God "That," which is how the ancient Sanskrit scriptures say it, and which I think comes close to the all-inclusive and unspeakable entity I have sometimes experienced. But that "That" feels impersonal to me-a thing, not a being-and I myself cannot pray to a That. I need a proper name, in order to fully sense a personal attendance. For this same reason, when I pray, I do not address my prayers to The Universe, The Great Void, The Force, The Supreme Self, The Whole, The Creator, The Light, The Higher Power, or even the most poetic manifestation of God's name, taken, I believe, from the Gnostic gospels: "The Shadow of the Turning."


There’s a crack (or cracks) in everyone... that’s how the light of God gets in.

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Julia Roberts as Liz Gilbert and James Franco as David (in the upcoming movie adaptation of the book Eat, Pray, Love)

Julia Roberts as Liz Gilbert and James Franco as David (in the upcoming movie adaptation of the book Eat, Pray, Love)
Julia Roberts as Liz Gilbert and James Franco as David (in the upcoming movie adaptation of the book Eat, Pray, Love)

Reader's Feedback! - It's your turn tell us what you think..

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    • profile image

      DebMartin 6 years ago

      Makes me want to go grab the book off the shelf again. Thanks, d

    • LewesDE profile image

      LewesDE 6 years ago

      Love this lens!

    • profile image

      Tamara14 6 years ago

      I just couldn't wait for the bed time so I could read on. I enjoyed every single page of it and now I hope the movie doesn't disappoint me (I didn't go to movies when it was playing so I'm going to see it on DVD now).

    • natashaely profile image

      natashaely 7 years ago

      A lovely review. i have added a link through to this page as it is up for a vote for April's book. A wonderfully laid out page! :)

    • mariaamoroso profile image

      irenemaria 7 years ago from Sweden

      Romantic and touching my heart.