Wednesday, July 20, 2011

EAT PRAY LOVE by Elizabeth Gilbert


After a painful divorce and an identity crisis, a woman decides to travel around Italy, India and Indonesia to figure out what she really wants, and then she gets it.


I read this book about a month after I arrived in Hong Kong, but this week I am in Bali, so this seemed like an appropriate time to review it. I've been exploring the temples, beaches, and rice terraces with a few friends from university, and this morning we even took a Balinese cooking class in the home of a lovely woman named Madi. This travel memoir did what every travel memoir should do in that it made me want to experience the places in the book for myself. Gilbert describes her travels with a personal eye, and captures the magic of each place in a way that makes you want to know more.

I appreciate the information that is packed into Gilbert’s personal story. She seems to love research and I felt like I learned a lot about the places as I read. She infused the three sections of her trip with information about different aspects of each country, though by the final section I think the book was too long. I enjoyed the descriptions of the many people Gilbert met during her travels. She seems to love people too, and she can connect with and describe all sorts of characters with a lively attention to detail.

This book left a lasting impression on me, but not for the obvious reasons. I had a difficult time relating to Gilbert’s struggles because I am in a very different position than she was when she began her trip. I am in my twenties and quite happy with my life, so the post-divorce spiritual struggle did not speak to me in the way that I know it spoke to millions of readers. Instead, I learned a lot about writing from this book. I felt that Gilbert’s willingness to splash every crisis and emotion across the page in a way granted me permission to be more honest in my own writing. I am working on a travel memoir about my first year in Hong Kong, and I think Gilbert’s book encouraged me to write my true story and not a cleaned-up, put-together version of my story. I’ll tell you more about it in the months to come.



I think I paid $9.99 for the Kindle edition several months ago.


How much personal stuff do you want to see in books? Do you think authors should share everything they are feeling or is there a point where an author can share too much information?


  1. You should write that travel memoir!

    I have Eat Pray Love on my kindle, I'm going to read it while travelling in America this summer. I do think you're right that a bit of honesty goes a long way :)

  2. Must be an enjoyable read Eat Pray Love by Elizabeth Gilbert. loved the way you wrote it. I find your review very genuine and orignal, this book is going in by "to read" list.

  3. It's interesting to read your review since you came away with a much more positive opinion of the book than I did. Gilbert did make me want to get on a plane to Italy, but so much of her personality and the reasons for her travel were repugnant - this idea that you can "find" yourself by traveling and that these locations can (or even should) be backdrops to your personal problems. Then there's the whole issue of religious tourism. I may not believe in God, but something just seems wrong to me about dipping in and out of religions the way Gilbert does.

  4. What a courage of that woman to travel around those countries alone, well when we have the necessity to make it we have to make it, and ¡that woman is an example of courage and decision.


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...