Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Review: Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert

# pages: 331
Date published: 2006
Genre: memoir


 Very Good

First sentence: 
"I wish Giovannni would kiss me."
What is it all about? This book is about the year in Elizabeth Gilbert's life following her divorce from her husband. In that year, she traveled to Italy searching for pleasure (or, in other words, eating every Italian delicacy in sight), to India searching for God, and to Indonesia (Bali, specifically) searching for a balance between the two. In what amounts to 108 essays, Gilbert shares her journey, thoughts, and observations.

Random thoughts: After I finished the book, I cruised the reviews on Amazon and -- Holy Cow! This seems to be one of those books that people either love or love to hate. So let me start out by saying that this book did not "change my life," but neither did I find hate-worthy. It was just an interesting, and sometimes funny, account of one woman's journey through her life and her pain. Was it self-centered? Well, yes, it was about her life and her pain! Come on, people...what exactly did you expect?

For whatever reason, many of the reviewers seemed to be upset that Gilbert financed the the trip with her book advance. Um...she's a writer...that's how they make a living. How else was she supposed to finance it? Would it have made them happier if she were independently wealthy? I think not. 

Another reviewer, while criticizing Gilbert for being selfish, made the remark that there are a lot of people who would like to chuck all of life's responsibilities, travel around the world, and make money from it. But, here's the point: all those people? They didn't do that. And. She. Did. So what? Cheese with that whine, anyone? 

Okay, this has turned into more of a rant than a review of the book, but I will never understand the venomous reviews on Amazon. Okay, you didn't like the book. I get it. But there are civil ways to express that and they do not involve calling readers who loved the same book naive idiots. Step away from the book. Read another or go do something else. Sheesh... (climbing down from the soapbox now)

Favorite quote(s):
"...I don't blend. Tall and blond and pink-complexioned, I am less a chameleon than a flamingo. Everywhere I go but Dusseldorf, I stand out garishly." (p. 40)

"The Bhagavad Gita--that ancient Indian Yogic text--says that it is better to live your own destiny imperfectly than to live an imitation of somebody else's life with perfection. So now I have started living my own life. Imperfect and clumsy as it may look, it is resembling me now, throughly." (p. 95)

"You're wishin' too much, baby. You gotta stop wearing your wishbone where your backbone oughtta be." (p. 150)

"Religious ceremonies are of paramount importance here in Bali (an island, don't forget, with seven unpredictable volcanoes on it--you would pray, too)." (p. 226) 
I picked this book to help me complete the following reading challenges: 100+ Reading Challenge, Pages Read Challenge, Fall Into Reading 2009 Challenge, Read Your Own Books (RYOB), 999 Challenge, Countdown 2010 Challenge, Raved-About Reads Challenge, and the Around the World in 80 Books Challenge.


Katie said...

I have heard the same thing - people either love or hate this book. It's on my shelf, and for some reason I just haven't picked it up to read yet. Maybe I will now. I love your section about your favorite quotes - I do that in blog posts sometimes too! :)

Care said...

I agree! I enjoyed reading this.