If wisdom could be traded like currency, author Elizabeth Gilbert would be a wealthier woman by far, though it's likely her fabulous memoir, Eat Pray Love, racked up a few bucks during its stay on the New York Times bestseller list. What Gilbert imparts in her story--basically, bracing self-knowledge acquired during a year of travel following a bitter divorce and a shattered rebound romance--is at once astounding yet totally obvious. As Gilbert would attest, albeit more eloquently, the most important stuff in life is pretty much under our noses, but we occasionally have to shake ourselves senseless in order to see it (enlisting a guru and a medicine man are highly recommended).
Take this simple but devastating observation posited while Gilbert was on the final leg of a global tour. "I have a history of making decisions very quickly about men. I have always fallen in love fast and without measuring risks. I have a tendency not only to see the best in everyone, but to assume that everyone is emotionally capable of reaching his highest potential. I have fallen in love more times than I care to count with the highest potential of a man, rather than with the man himself, and then I have hung on to the relationship for a long time (sometimes far too long) waiting for the man to ascend to his own greatness. Many times in romance I have been the victim of my own optimism."
Ten million women are smiling wry smiles and nodding their heads in agreement (men too, probably, but the book has a definite female skew). Such emotional bulls-eyes are hit early and often in Eat Pray Love, each seemingly more poignant than the last. Alternately funny and heartbreaking and always deeply resonant, Eat Pray Love, takes the reader on two epic journeys – one through Italy, India and Indonesia and the other deep inside Gilbert's intense psyche. Charles Montgomery's towering The Last Heathen: Encounters with Ghosts and Ancestors in Melanesia notwithstanding, travel memoirs just don't get any better than that. --Kim Hughes
jamysteid (USA: IL) (2008/01/20): This book is an absolute favorite. I loved it and feel that it changed my life for the better!
jen loomis (USA: MN) (2008/02/27): I loved the book. It was a quick read while traveling. Exactly what I wanted to read.
Kendra (USA: NJ) (2008/09/03): I did not love this book. It is a nice story, but did not change my life.
Caitlin (USA: AZ) (2008/10/27): My bookclub made me buy it, but I couldn't finish it - she never sold me on why I should care about her woes and her unreasonable way of resolving them. Must be nice to have the money to travel like that though :-P
sharron (USA: TX) (2008/12/27): Excellent story of a womens' self-help travels after she leaves NY to forget an ugly marriage turned divorce, and a studly crush that abandon her.
Sara (USA: NY) (2009/01/03): I loved how accessible and human the author seemed--whether or not her own personal journey changed my life, it was a pleasant, fun read.
Kerry (USA: CA) (2009/02/26): As of late February 2009 this book is available over at paperbackswap.com. http://www.paperbackswap.com
I have been trying to add a few copies to Bookmooch. If you are active on both, please join me in requesting copies over there for Bookmooch members.
Timber (USA: PA) (2009/03/05): I'm not gonna lie, I hated this book. But I forced myself to finish it. I don't know what the big deal is about it. Her views on spirituality and faith are so mixed up too. I'd never recommend this.
Earnest Anyway (Australia) (2010/04/27): OK. So this wealthy dilettante swans around the world on the proceeds of her divorce and on the way decides to cash in on the gullibility of a large portion of her sisterhood. In her self serving memoir she vows never to marry again. Immediately the book hits the stands she marries again and begins writing another book, "Committed; A Skeptic Makes Peace With Marriage." Fool you twice?
Victor Johnson (USA: OR) (2010/05/25): Loved her amazing TED talk but didn't get very far in this book. Just didn't speak to me. Bailed about a quarter of the way through.
kimO (Canada) (2010/12/21): I didn't like this book at all. I found the first part interesting, but then only finished it so that I could watch the movie (which I still haven't done). Nothing spectacular