Eat Pray Love


I am probably the last person on this planet to read this book. I didn’t read this when it first came out because a book that is partly about someone staying at an ashram sounded extremely boring to me. Plus, I am not that into non-fiction.

I think now it’s a blessing I didn’t read it then, because I would definitely not have liked the book. I just wasn’t ready for it. I can’t in all honesty say I love this book now either, but I can and did appreciate parts of it.

How I Came to Read This Book

I ended up reading this book for the following reasons:

  • I read and loved The Signature of all Things by the same author Elizabeth Gilbert
  • I was chit-chatting books with a few friends of mine and they were discussing this book. When I said I hadn’t read it, their reaction was dumbfounded shock. But, but, you are the book blogger, one friend spluttered, how could you not have read this book? And so on and so forth. So, after that reaction, the first thing I did was check out this book from my library and read it as soon as possible.

What’s the Book About?

At the age of thirty-one, Gilbert moved with her husband to the suburbs of New York and began trying to get pregnant, only to realize that she wanted neither a child nor a husband. Three years later, after a protracted divorce, she embarked on a yearlong trip of recovery, with three main stops:

  • Rome – for gustatory pleasure,
  • An ashram outside of Mumbai – for spiritual healing, and
  • Bali – for balancing, and as it turns out eventually love.

This is the story of her journey and her learning as she grows into herself.

My Review

It’s hard to objectively review this book. On the one hand, it’s very well-written and very meaningful. On the other hand, it was a bit too deep a look into the heart and mind of Elizabeth Gilbert, and there were moments when I had enough. I couldn’t stand her frequent bouts of indulgent self-pity, which alternates with (especially during the India chapters) bits and pieces of her acquired wisdom that she shares with us.

You see where I am going with this, right? I couldn’t relate (at least not much) to the person that she was, and was trying to be. And it’s hard to be objective in a review where the main person in the book is not relatable.

Another aspect of the book that didn’t sit well with me was that she didn’t seem to face any kind of practical problem at all during her travel (coming to this point again in the next section of the review).

However, I loved the Italy sections of the book. Italian food is my favorite cuisine, and I really enjoyed reading about all her foodie adventures in Rome. The Indian section of the book was a bit of a drag. I liked how she was progressing as a character, but like I suspected earlier, it is boring to read about somebody meditating in an ashram, not much scope for entertainment there.

Once Gilbert moves to Indonesia, the book picks up again. There is a little love, a little self-discovery and more interesting characters. More characters was definitely important to me, because it was getting a little claustrophobic just reading about Gilbert and her meditating friends in an ashram. A change of scene was much desired. It was just nice after the austerity of the ashram to see some regular people having a good time.

So far, I’ve spoken about what I didn’t like about the book, but there was plenty to like and think about as well. It’s one of those books where the wisdom comes to you slowly a little at a time, and I know this book will stay in my mind for many years.

I particularly liked this one quote from the book:


I think it’s a wonderful and true thought, and it’s something we all need to keep in mind.

My Misgivings About the Book

It’s evident right from the beginning of the book, that Gilbert had a book idea in mind before embarking on this journey. She even got a hefty advance from her publisher that enabled her to travel the whole year.

So, this is where I have an issue with the book. While the book is excellent, knowing that she planned to document her year (and publish it, that’s the important part) makes the book seem less authentic than I would like.

What would have happened say, if she didn’t receive kundalini shakti during her meditation? What if the experience wasn’t noteworthy? Did she buy a house in Bali for Wayan to help her? Or because it makes a good story?

I am not saying she is not being honest, it just didn’t read that way to me when I knew that she was experiencing this life in order to write about it later. It’s like me (not that I am comparing myself to her) making sure I celebrate my birthday with a lot of joy because I know I’m going to blog about it later (something I’ve been known to do on occasion >.< ) . What about you? Did you like this book? Have you seen the movie? I saw the trailer after reading the book, and I am thinking I might actually like the movie more (definitely for the scenic beauty at least).

You can also purchase a copy of this book from Amazon

  • Destination Infinity

    I am not sure if I want to read this book. Reviews are mixed and I don’t like the gist! Maybe one day I might, not now.

    • Nishita

      @Destination Infinity: I think you have to be in a definite mind-set to enjoy this book. Some folks commented that people who are in a very negative frame of mind and/or been through bad break-ups or divorces get a lot of comfort and value from reading this book. I think they’re right.

  • AJ

    I HATED this book. I just loathed it. It is one of the WORST books published so far this century.

    This is what the book read like to me: whinge. pasta. pasta. pasta. pasta. whinge. whinge. pasta. MORE pasta. pasta. pasta. whinge. chant. whinge about chanting. whinge. whinge. whinge. woo. more woo woo. woo. whinge. whinge. fall in love. whinge. live happily ever after.

    I went to university in Indonesia and I’ve been to Bali a dozen times. I’ve spent a month in India, too. Italy, I have no experience of. Yet NONE of Gilbert’s writing reflects my experiences in Bali or in India. The book might have been more interesting had she actually travelled around India, rather than staying in an Ashram and whining about it.

    What’s more, she can apparently conjugate Italian verbs, but can’t memorize a Sanskrit chant?!? Puh-lease!

    And lastly, this trollop has been responsible for flooding Bali with wannbe middle class American women who don’t appear to have a single brain cell amongst them and certainly have no idea how to travel in Asia. UGH!!! Stay home if you need to have your hand held to step out your door, and NO, Indonesia doesn’t need to stock your 50 brands of cheerios or oreos. Just.Stay. Home.

    • Nishita

      @AJ Love your comment, it’s so heartfelt. Bali overrun by middle-class American women in search of self must be so awful. She does complain an awful lot about her life. The funny thing was she was the one who wanted a divorce, she was the one who made the decision not to have children, and then she couldn’t deal with the fallout?

  • To be honest.. I didn’t like this book. First off… I want to go and find myself too. But I won’t get paid to go on these trips like she did. So the average person won’t be able to go and “find themselves”. So I couldn’t relate there. I just had issues with this book so much!! The movie was only OK for me too. I wanted to love that too but it was only ok for me.

    • Nishita

      @angelasanxiouslife:disqus So many people who didn’t like this book. Wow, wondering who did like it, and how come it was such a bestseller

  • Elizabeth Joseph

    Don’t worry. This was also one of the much hyped books when it was released 🙂 I read it few years back and did not like it much. I did watch the movie for watching Julia Roberts

    Do watch the movie for Julia Roberts and the Bali scenes..They are beautiful 🙂 I remember writing a review for both book and movie on my blog

  • bermudaonion(Kathy)

    I’ve never really been interested in this book but I did see the movie and I found Gilbert to be unsympathetic in it.

    • Nishita

      @bermudaonion_kathy:disqus She’s not very sympathetic in the book either. Very self-pitying.

  • I haven’t read this book yet, and I also feel like the only person who hasn’t. I have it, but I’m not sure if I should read it. I enjoyed the movie and I liked The Signature of All Things, but maybe I should just leave the thought of reading it…

    • Nishita

      @melindapetersen:disqus I liked the book for what it was but it’s so not deserving of the hype. I personally liked The Signature of All Things a lot more.

  • I think most of the people I know who really loved this book were divorced (or had some equally bad break up). That gets us relating at the beginning and it holds together pretty well with that shared experience.

  • Savvy WorkingGal

    This book wasn’t for me either. I read it when it first came out and was really looking forward to it. I enjoyed Italy, but between the crying bouts and the meditating I lost interest and skipped to the end. I actually think I probably missed a couple of good insights, but oh well. I have no interest in the movie and hadn’t planned on reading anything else she writes. Interesting to see you liked The Signature of All Things. Maybe I will give her a second chance.

  • You know what’s weird, I read this book – probably right around the time it was published. Of course years have passed and since I feel like it’s probably a pretty solid three for me – imagine my shock when I found I had rated it five stars on Goodreads (of course with no note on WHY) — so apparently I related to it a great deal at the time, (maybe because I was going through a divorce?) but I’m not sure what I saw in it now.

  • Tanya M

    I was very meh about the book. I loved the India and Italy sections but by Indonesia I really lost interest. I read it because I wanted to read it before seeing the movie. But then I didn’t really care to watch it. I see how some find her journey inspiring, but not so for me.


    I thankfully did not read the book. Watched the movie and that itself was enough to make me not touch the book. 🙂

    • Nishita sounds like the movie wasn’t too good? I thought Julia Roberts might make Gilbert more likable than she seems in the book.

  • As a travel and experience book, I liked it. Knowing that it was going to become a book as she was traveling and experiencing definitely puts a damper on it. Also, it’s true that not many of us are able to take a year of our lives to find ourselves. But I tried to live vicariously through her book, because that’s what books are for, right? Good review! You seem to have covered all aspects!

    • Nishita

      @disqus_TYO2upw2ie:disqus Oh yes, in terms of vicarious living, it’s pretty good. I loved seeing Bali and Rome through her eyes.

  • Emily J.

    I didn’t like this book either. I found the self-pity you mention to be annoying. I wanted to like it, but yeah, I didn’t. I know people who did!

    • Nishita

      @Emily J: LOL. I wondered if I was lacking in empathy because I found her whiny and self-absorbed, and frankly a bit nutty.

      There was the scene in India where she believes her and her ex-husband’s souls meet and make peace with each other. My inner snark was wondering whether she was smoking weed or something.

  • I haven’t read this book and to be honest I doubt whether I ever will as I would have problems with the question of authenticity too. I’m not terribly interested in people ‘finding themselves’ because most people have to do that while living their lives.

    • Nishita

      exactly @disqus_mUBrEiIQ5D:disqus you put it so well. Not everyone can afford time off to find themselves.

      It’s a whole different story for her as she was paid an advance to write a book about her experiences finding herself. I appreciate that she was honest and upfront about it, but I can’t help wondering whether the thought that she would have to deliver a book at the end of it colored her experiences a bit.

  • dreamzandclouds

    I had read the book a a couple of years back and like you I did not quite enjoy her part in India. It kind of got boring and i even skipped a few lines here and there. And yes, the best part of this book for me is her food journey in Italy…..I almost visualized myself in the remote lanes of Italy in search of gastronomic delights 🙂

    • Nishita

      @dreamzandclouds: The India part really was boring. Just the ashram experience alone didn’t make for good reading.

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