Friday, July 10, 2015

All Lady July Book Review: "Eat, Pray Love: One Woman's Search for Everything across Italy, India and Indonesia" by Elizabeth Gilbert

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Hello, my name is Wesley and I'm a book snob. Sometimes I refuse to read certain books because the hype is so great. This was one of those books. To be honest, if I hadn't read this book I don't think I really would have missed much. But let's make a quick a dirty summary just in case you've managed to avoid hearing about this book in the last 7ish years.

Elizabeth Gilbert rolls into her 30s in crisis. She has a husband that she loves, a beautiful house, great friends and family but she is a wreck. She basically feels like her life is suffocating her. She realizes she isn't ready to settle in a big rambly house, have kids and be that woman. She wants out. Her husband is angry, shocked and hurt. (She confides that there are multiple other issues at play but she doesn't go into it). A terrible, bitter divorce ensues. She gets an advance on an upcoming book (this one actually) and flees to Italy, India and Indonesia to try to make sense of her life, her anxiety and depression that she's struggled with her whole life, and who/what God is and what that means to her life.

I loved the first section, on Italy.The descriptions of the food we're making my mouth water, and the talk of her long, ambling walks among Italy's fountains, neighborhoods and monuments we making me eye up my already depleted travel fund. She improves on her Italian, by talking with Italians. She also learns a string of swear words which was fun."Cafone" means asshole in case you ever need to know that.If you're a good eater you are "buono forchetta": a good fork. Isn't Italian fun? She goes to a futbol match which is rowdy and loud and awesome, but the team loses. Elizabeth assumes that they will go to a bar and drown their sorrows. But they don't, they go to a little hole in wall bakery, eat cream puffs and moan about the loss. I might care more about sporting events if there were cream puffs at the end. I really might. While in Italy she does a lot of eating, and self reflection about who she is and what she actually wants.

Then she goes to an ashram in India and learns about meditation and talking to God, then she goes to Indonesia and hangs out with a medicine man. And meets a Brazillian that she can't resist even though not even a year earlier she got herself gutted financially and emotionally by her now ex-husband and rebound relationship with a guy named David.

Can you tell which part of the book I enjoyed the most? (Though I do like the Texan who sets her straight in India and calls her Groceries,because that's a great nickname). I kind of wished I'd stopped after Italy. I think I only really liked that section because I want to go to Italy, whereas India and Indonesia don't hold the same allure for me. I liked that she was honest about how much of a mess she was, and I appreciated her way of writing but this book was just not for me. I give it 2 out of 5 stars. I was going to watch the movie just for a well rounded review, but I knew it would just make me want to go to Italy, and after that I'd just be kind of annoyed. Even though it didn't jive with me personally I think it was a great book for ALJ2015! I give it 2 out of 5 stars.

I do like this cover though!


  1. When this was first coming out, I caught a publishing story about how Gilbert had gotten the advance for her book before her trip (which, more power to her for pulling that off), which kind of tainted my opinion of the authenticity of the experience from the get-go. So I never read it (and based on this, not sure I missed much!). I've heard she's a greater writer, though, so do want to try her fiction.

    1. Someone told me about that just after I'd finished reading the book and it colored my opinion too. I did find her writing style enjoyable, so maybe Ill check into her fiction too!

  2. I have a love-hate thing with this book and Gilbert in general. I didn't know about her getting an advance like Kerry says, but there are parts which have a ring of artificiality about it. My little rant is here (wow, this was in 2008!):

    1. 2008, I'm way behind! ha! I totally agree with you said. I liked her style but not really this story...


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