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Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gillbert

Genre: Memoir/Non-Fiction

Copyright:  2006

Pages:  340

Rating: 5 Crowns

Synopsis:  Elizabeth Gilbert tells how she made the difficult choice to leave behind all the trappings of modern American success (marriage, house in the country, career) and find, instead, what she truly wanted from life. Setting out for a year to study three different aspects of her nature amid three different cultures, Gilbert explored the art of pleasure in Italy and the art of devotion in India, and then a balance between the two on the Indonesian island of Bali. By turns rapturous and rueful, this wise and funny author (whom Booklist calls "Anne Lamott’s hip, yoga- practicing, footloose younger sister") is poised to garner yet more adoring fans.

Review:  I wasn't expecting to love this book - I'd heard a LOT of hype and being the skeptic that I am I had prepared myself for some mediocre results.  But by God I was wrong.  To those of you who have read it, I'm interested in hearing what your thoughts are but in the review that follows, I'm really going to try hard to convey the depth of what this book has meant to me.

I've always believed that certain books will find you at times in your life when you really need them most - like we have our own little book guardian angels who whisper in our ears when we're perusing the shelves and say 'Here, read THIS one.'  Eat, Pray, Love surprisingly turned out to be one of these books and has firmly cemented itself on the dusty little bookcase of my most secret heart.  Am I making too much of a little book?  I don't know.  But I'm a passionate believer that a book has the power to impart on you the wisdom and lessons of another person's life experience and each time that truly happens to me, I am left feeling absolutely amazed.

This memoir is about divorce, yet mostly it is about the kind of grief that shakes you to the bones and leaves you questioning everything you thought you were.  I have never experienced a sorrow of the magnitude that author did but somehow, I identified with the journey.  You can't not.  Liz Gilbert is a mistress of the written word and she draws you into her story with her clever metaphors and her constant self-talk.  You really will believe you've stepped out of your own mind and right into hers, so easily will you merge with her psyche. The reason though, that she has this talent, this bewitching way with words is that she is so beautifully honest about her experience.  She hides nothing from her reader, inviting you to navigate the entire landscape of her mind with her.

Liz Gilbert  finds herself but along the way she finds pizza, frank-talking Richard from Texas (undoubtedly one of my favourite people from the book) and a Balinese medicine-man.  Her descriptions are so intense that they instantly made me want to book a flight to Italy just to eat pizza in Rome...oh how I want to go to Rome now.  I'm putting it on my Bucket List!

In terms of spirituality, this book is distinctly non-denominational and the journey the author takes with God can easily mould itself to the religious views of the reader without offense.  Rather than shove her own views down your throat, it allows you to take a step back and quietly examine your own beliefs and ways with connecting with God.  It's not at all preachy but spirituality is a very large focus of this book.

Eat, Pray, Love surpassed all my expectations and I can definitely see why so many of my friends have tried to get me to read it for years.  It touched a chord in me and I hope that if you pick it up, you'll find the same beauty within its pages.  Our journey as women are so different but this book for me illustrates the common thread that runs through the core of us all. 

A note on the Audio version - As with many memoirs, the author herself reads this version of her work and she does a fantastic job.  She's compelling and warm and I don't think a voice artist could have done a better job - a thoroughly good audiobook.

Here's the trailer for the soon to be released movie-version of this book starring Julia Roberts in the title role:


Princess of the Past

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10 comments:

PeachyTO said...

What a thoughtful and complimentary review. I have been avoiding this one because of its hype, but you have me thinking that I should give it a shot.

Thanks.

Roberta said...

ME TOO...I avoided this because it was hyped on Ophra and I've been roped into her books before and fell asleep trying to read her recommended reads...ugh! When it becomes "work" to read a book, then I give up because I read for the pure enjoyment of a book AND sometimes for the need to escape. Now I'll have to try this one after all...AND before the movie comes out so it will not take away from the book. Thanks for a splendid review :D

librarypat said...

This book has been so popular at our library, but I never took the time to find out why. (Too busy working as children's librarian and checking out all those great new children's and teen books.) Everyone who read it loved it and recommended it. Looks like i'll have to read it. The movie looks good, too. I loved Bali. It is such a special place.

Alaine - Queen of Happy Endings said...

Ok you've convinced me! I want to start reading this right now. It can be my weekend book! I also can't wait to see the movie.

Annie - Princess of the Past said...

Ladies I really hope you love it too...it quite took me by surprise!

And oops...the Youtube link didn't work! Going to have to go fix that.

Jenny Girl said...

I've heard many differnt things about thsi book without actually learning what it is about. Based on your review I know have a clearer picture and will be on the look out for it. Thanks Annie.

Wonderful review!

ibeeeg said...

Well...I think I am one of the few people who did not like this book. I loved the beginning and most especially the part in Italy. When she travled to the second country (it has been awhile, don't remember the name), she lost me. For me, the whole inner spirituality part became a bit too much. I put it down, and there it sits in a pile of books that I want to giveaway. With that said, I have had many people tell me to pick the book back up because it gets better with the third country. Would you agree with their statement? I toy with the thought of picking it back up, but am not certain.

Glad you liked the book. Your review was excellent.

Oh yeah, I remember Richard from Texas, he was a favorite of mine too.

Teddyree said...

I borrowed this book from a friend last year, only read a page or 2 and thought, this one isn't for me... now I'm kicking myself. Thanks for the excellent review!

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