Book Review: Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert

July 14, 2010

I got this book as from the local library.

Book Review: Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert

Will traveling around the world help Elizabeth Gilbert deal with depression?
Maybe, it certainly couldn’t hurt and it’s sure worth finding out.

Eat, Pray, Love is a 2006 memoir of Ms. Gilbert which chronicles her trip around the world after her divorce and takes the reader with on her journey of self discovery.

Ms. Gilbert paid for the trip with an advance she received on a book she planned to write.

After the difficult act of divorce the author spends four month in Italy (Eat), four months in India (Pray) and four months in Bali (Love). While telling the reader about each location, Ms. Gilbert also delves into self analysis finding spirituality and emotional balance.

The book simply didn’t speak to me. I couldn’t feel sorry for the author, maybe because the story of her divorce isn’t complete and the missing pieces seem essential to understanding the tragedy (not to mention all the guilt she felt without really explaining why).

If the writer wanted to sound candid and likeable she missed that goal right in the first five chapters.

All the self analyzing and pontifications drove me crazy – it was OK in the beginning as we were just getting to know the character but the continuation of it, page after page with nothing happening, no story and no plot.
The writer, who is excellent at her job, seems to be begging to be the center attention with everyone’s empathy shining on her.
How can you go to India, witness heart breaking poverty and still think that your comparatively luxurious life – not to mention getting paid for one year what most of those people will not earn in a lifetime – is dark and unforgiving?
I fear that if that doesn’t put one’s “misery” in perspective they are beyond help.

The book was boring, full of not-so-enlightening, shallow observations and self pity – it bordered on whiny even though I wouldn’t go that far. I did not find anything remotely profound or helpful in it – and that’s OK but usually when I read artificially feel-good books I know what I’m in for and this one took me by surprise.

If you are one of those that found this book life changing – that’s great and more power to you. But refusing to grow up and elevating trivial matters to Olympic altitudes, to me, is neither wise nor enlightening.

Just so all the fans of this book understand – this is my personal observation and I am by no means saying this is bad literature- Eat, Pray, Love is a stylized piece, the writing is very good, the deprecating humor shines through and the format is inspiring – but it just not did not speak to me.

My rating for Eat, Pray, Love- 1

I know a lot of people loved the book. Do you agree or disagree with my review?

Zohar – Man of La Book
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Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert


  • BrennaJuly 14, 2010 at 3:46 pm

    I never had any interest in reading this book because so many middle-aged women who only read mass market best sellers told me how fantastic it was. I'm glad you didn't like it – reaffirms my decision to not read it 🙂

  • jenclairJuly 15, 2010 at 1:34 pm

    This book has been sitting on the shelf for two years. My daughter gave me her copy, but warned me that she wasn't impressed. I continue to read both positive and negative reviews, but it just doesn't call to me. In a way that is kind of odd, I have a great interest in Eastern thought…

  • AmandaJuly 16, 2010 at 8:30 am

    I HATED this book. In fact, if I end up in hell in the afterlife, this book would be part of it!Here is my synopsis:whine, whine, whine, pasta, pasta, whine, whine, pasta, pasta, pasta, whine, whine, whine, whine, chant, whine, whine, whine, whine, chant, whine, whine, whine, woo woo, whine, whine, woo woo, fall in love with millionaire (as you do).Having lived in Indonesia, being able to speak Indonesian and visiting Bali every year, I was appalled at the shallowness of this book. Also, having been to India and loving it, I was equally appalled. And in case you're wondering: reading about someone stuffing their face with pasta is not my idea of a great book.Thanks for the review -as you can see, you have a soul mate!

  • LynneJuly 17, 2010 at 9:49 am

    I agree with your review and Amanda's rant, uh, I mean synopsis!

  • booksploringJuly 18, 2010 at 7:16 am

    I saw a movie poster for this the other day and was thinking that maybe I'd missed something by not yet reading it…glad to hear I'm not missing much.

  • AnonymousJuly 23, 2010 at 10:12 am

    Eat, Pray, Love is a study in narcissism. don't trust anybody who loves it.

  • AnonymousJuly 26, 2010 at 12:15 am

    I completely agree with the comment above. I have just ended a friendship with a 53-year-old woman whose self-absorption became too much. Not only does she love this book, but also she has 300 "close friends" on Facebook. I couldn't take it anymore.

  • Shanti JohnsonAugust 16, 2010 at 3:37 pm

    It doesn't surprise me that this book is popular. But ya know she couldhave went to one of the awesome eastern religious centers in NY, learn to meditate & ate awesome Italian in Little Italy in NY & learned that being married & self searching can go hand in hand, then donated some of the money she spent to sponsor some poor children in India! Just IMHO!

  • Juju at Tales of WhimsyFebruary 16, 2011 at 4:46 pm

    I agree! I secretly kept wanting to say: “Tisk tisk. Get off the bathroom floor, put on your big girl panties, and stop crying.” 😉

    Great review! Thanks for stopping by my blog and linking me to your review 🙂

  • EllenFebruary 25, 2011 at 4:32 am

    i read this book recently and it was all i could do to drag myself to the finish. great review, it’s nice to find someone whose feelings on the books are similar to my own. i found her writing at times over-stylized and something about the whole endeavor (the idea of travel solely as a means to “finding yourself,” the picking bits and pieces of various religions, the fact that this journey of self-discovery was financed by a publishing house) offends me. i’m glad i read it simply because i’m FINALLY able to join the discussion on the book, but it’s not one i ever plan to return to.

    • zoharFebruary 25, 2011 at 8:17 am

      Thanks for the kind words Ellen. I didn’t like the whole “traveling with paid expenses to find myself” theme either.

  • JackieApril 1, 2011 at 2:54 am

    Hi, I don’t want to change anyone opinion, But I liked this book, I finished it in two day, reading when ever I could, I normally like to let the storm of new thing blow over then I’ll try something, And I wanted to read the book before I saw the money.

    I agree I was disappointed with the part about her being paid to write the book.

    But I know exactly how it feels to put your whole life in to a relationship and to realize that it’s not all its cracked up to be. I’ve had a long struggle with severe depression, Which I believe is what She was suffering in the relationship with David (the rebound after her husband) She stuffed her marriage up and thats where the guilt comes from, so she throws everything into this relationship and the stink of desperation scares David away and brakes her heart.

    I did the same thing when I ended a 6-7 year relationship, but not as crazy I only traveled interstate, I needed to get away, and find me again, sometime you get so entangled in someone else that it’s hard to untangle yourself.

    I can also understand why she didn’t want to discuss her failed marriage, Some time it’s better not air dirty laundry, I would imagine it was because a multitude of small things and the baby /no baby thing would have been the straw that broke the camels back so to speak.

    Spoilers for people who have not read it.

    And I agree the romance at the end was like fluff, seemed to be tacked on(Like Liz found a guy and forgot about the book, and rushed the last few chapters for the publisher) The book should have ended when She meet the guy and then she should have continued the romance in the next book.

    Ihe Bali house buying thing was a little weird? why not just get the Bali Lady enough for the extra rent? or Liz was leaving in a few months why not give the lease to the Bali Lady to live in Liz’s House

    I still loved it, I want to travel and I’m stuck for the moment, India and Asia are the two places, I loved the descriptions.

    Sorry this is so long,

    • zoharApril 1, 2011 at 8:11 am

      Thanks for your great comment Jackie.
      I think that Eat,Pray, Love is one of those books that either speaks to you or it doesn’t. When you find a book like that, which seems like it was written just for you, it’s wonderful.

      I’m glad you liked, it was very interesting to read your opinion and thoughts on the book.

  • GinaAugust 23, 2015 at 5:06 am

    I see I’m commenting on an older post but it came up new for me. Anywho, I’ve yet to read the book but enjoyed the movie. Purchased said book afterwards and there it sits. Fellow readers I’ve heard from have given similar reviews to yours, actually going as far as to say she was whiny. Perhaps it’s one of those pieces that only translates well in one media or the other? Thanks for your share just the same.

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