Eat Pray Love by Elizabeth Gilbert

It’s taken me ages to be able to sit down and write a review for this book. I just couldn’t eatpraylovedecide whether I loved it or hated it! I’ve decided to meet myself halfway and am rating Eat Pray Love 3 stars, because there were parts I enjoyed and parts that I really hated.

Elizabeth Gilbert is in her 30s and having a bit of a breakdown. She appears to be living the dream New York lifestyle with a successful career, nice house and marriage, but she finds herself depressed and searching for God on the bathroom floor. This seems to be the catalysis for her quest, but it’s difficult to relate to her here, because she refuses to discuss the issues with her marriage at all.

So, she decides to take off for 12 months to find either God or herself. I’m still not really sure which one! Her itinerary includes Italy (to eat), India (to pray), and Indonesia (to love).

In Italy she learns Italian and eats a lot. This was my favourite section!

In India she prays at her guru’s ashram. This was the most boring section for me. The concept of a ‘guru’ who she never even meets is a bit far-fetched! Plus there was far too much navel-gazing and discussion of all the totally crazy thoughts that went through her mind here. I’ve got too much going on in my own mind to worry about anybody else’s! Although I did practice a little bit more yoga and meditation while I was reading this section, so that’s a bonus.

In Indonesia she apparently learns about love from a medicine man, raises money for an Indonesian woman to buy a house, and falls in love. I enjoyed Indonesia until Gilbert met her now husband. I feel like it took away from the empowering message the novel was attempting to convey by ending it with the author seemingly happy now because she’s found a man.

What I enjoyed most about Eat Pray Love was the writing style. Gilbert is a good writer and quite funny and endearing in parts. Although some parts really did tend towards narcissism, I don’t think that was the intent. I felt as though the novel was written with good intentions.

The biggest issue for me is that Gilbert’s lifestyle is so unattainable for the majority of the millions of people who have read Eat Pray Love. I’m sure everybody suffering from depression would love to take a 12 month paid vacation to travel around the world and then make millions of dollars by writing about their trip, but that’s just not going to happen for everyone. I would also like to point out that you really don’t need to go to so much effort to do similar things for yourself. You can treat yourself right where you are. Take a class at your local community centre, read a good book, listen to your favourite music, eat good food etc. You learn more about religion, yoga, meditation etc in your own city. And love the people you’re with right now. You also do not need a partner to be able to love yourself!!

Description

In her early thirties, Elizabeth Gilbert had everything a modern American woman was supposed to want–husband, country home, successful career–but instead of feeling happy and fulfilled, she felt consumed by panic and confusion. This wise and rapturous book is the story of how she left behind all these outward marks of success, and of what she found in their place. Following a divorce and a crushing depression, Gilbert set out to examine three different aspects of her nature, set against the backdrop of three different cultures: pleasure in Italy, devotion in India, and on the Indonesian island of Bali, a balance between worldly enjoyment and divine transcendence.

Details

Title: Eat Pray Love

Author: Elizabeth Gilbert

Published: Riverhead Books, 2006

ISBN: 0143038419 (ISBN13: 9780143038412)

Genre: Non-Fiction, Memoir, Travel, Spirituality

Pages: 334

Source: Own Copy

My Rating: 3/5 stars

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17 thoughts on “Eat Pray Love by Elizabeth Gilbert

  1. Love this review – your point about not everyone being able to afford to do what she did is spot on. Have to admit I’ve not read the book, but that’s because reading about the author put me off, exactly for the reasons you’ve stated!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I have enjoyed this review. I enjoyed the book, perhaps because I loved traveling so it was interesting seeing those places through her eyes. However, i do agree with you.Not many people can afford to do what she did but perhaps doing it right here without traveling is a good start.

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  3. This is EXACTLY how I felt about the book! The writing was witty but the author was no self-absorbed I wanted to slap her at times. I loved the Italy chapters but was irritated by the Indian section – cliched and repetitive. And ultimately this book doesn’t help anyone with depression because, like you say, people will think, ‘I can’t afford to take a year off and travel the word to find myself,’ and she does end with the suggestion that a woman needs a man to complete her. Your advice at the end is spot on.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Your review is exactly the consensus and conclusion my uni book club came upon after finishing the book. The writing is good, even insightful at times. The professor who joined in the discussion remarked that her depiction of a mental breakdown and the struggle for spirituality felt very true to life.

    None of us liked Gilbert (at least, the Gilbert she herself portrayed in this book). Other commenters have remarked on the self-absorption. I think in the Italy section her sister came to visit Gilbert and most of us agreed that we’d rather spend time with the sister than Gilbert!
    .
    A good book but frustrating at times. I’d rate it 3 stars too.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you 🙂 I agree, Gilbert sounds like she would be a bit of a pain to travel with, but her sister sounded like fun. I couldn’t believe she went to India and then never went anywhere besides from the ashram!! I think I would have enjoyed this novel more if there had been a bigger focus on the places she visited, because she does write so well.

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  5. I am mixed about the book as well, so I’m indecisive about writing a review. Took me forever to finish it, because of the miscellaneous fluff in between Eating, Praying, and ‘Loving’…and I’m still not sure if she found God or herself.

    Liked by 1 person

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