Eat Pray Love by Elizabeth Gilbert

It's 3 AM and Elizabeth Gilbert is sobbing on the bathroom floor. She's in her thirties, she has a husband, a house, they're trying for a baby - and she doesn't want any of it. A divorce and a turbulent love affair later, she emerges battered and bewildered and realises it is time to pursue her own journey in search of three things she has been missing: pleasure, devotion and balance. So she travels to Rome, where she learns Italian from handsome, brown-eyed identical twins and gains twenty-five pounds; an ashram in India, where she finds that enlightenment entails getting up in the middle of the night to scrub the temple floor; and Bali where a toothless medicine man of indeterminate age offers her a new path to peace: simply sit still and smile. And slowly happiness begins to creep up on her

I'll start out by saying that I saw the film, back when flying to Iceland to spend a week with my then boyfriend, and I really enjoyed it. Julia Roberts was great and though a bit long, I overall remember it as a very good film - a feel-good.

With my expectations high, I got started on the book - and it let me down, I'm afraid to say.

First of all, the writing is chaotic. Gilbert has 4 tenses. Past and present as well as past-past and present-present. She's in the past and present whilst travelling and in the past-past and present-present whilst writing - and she changes between all 4 every other paragraph. It frustrated me a lot of times, as I had no idea where she was when she said something - was she looking back at what happened or was she living it? It made it hard to sometimes relate to what she said and put it into context.

Another thing; I'm probably too young to read this book. This is the story of a 30-something year old woman who's gone through a nasty divorce and is now trying to find herself. I'm turning 25 this fall. I've never had ring on my finger or even a relationship I knew/thought would last forever. She's also a very different person from me with a completely different personality (extrovert vs introvert). While I could relate to some of what she goes through a lot of it probably went straight over my head - I hadn't experienced the strong feelings related to her experiences and as such couldn't put myself in her place.

Lastly - she believes in God. She won't limit herself to the strict definitions of any one religion, but she believes. I don't - I would love to, but haven't got a drop of spirituality in me. Thusly when she spends a third of the book in India and what felt like forever going on about how meditation works and how it brought her closer to God, I had to force myself to keep my eyes on the pages. Where the film manages to keep it light and watchable, the book has so many details on stuff I basically don't care about. I can't put myself in her place and even say good for you, because I don't understand it at all.

I did enjoy her travels and experiences in Italy and Bali as well as the description of who she is and how she even got started on the travels - just the chaotic writing that threw me in those chapters.

I'm certain this book can be a great read - particular if you're in the right age group and/or spiritual. Personally I'll stick to the film for now, and might reread the book in 10 years time and see how I feel about it then.

Eat Pray Love by Elizabeth Gilbert
Eat, pray, love
ISBN13: 9780747585664
349 pages / published in 2006
Review by Iben Jakobsen, BoB, 2013


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  2. I remember being so aggravated reading this book. It was quick and easy but I really didn't believe she experienced anything outside of the sphere of her already comfortable life. I mean, her publishers just threw money at her and told her to go travel and write a book. How spiritual can that be??


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