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Publisher's Summary

Around the time Elizabeth Gilbert turned 30, she went through an early-onslaught midlife crisis. She had everything an educated, ambitious American woman was supposed to want: a husband, a house, a successful career. But instead of feeling happy and fulfilled, she was consumed with panic, grief, and confusion. She went through a divorce, a crushing depression, another failed love, and the eradication of everything she ever thought she was supposed to be.
To recover from all this, Gilbert took a radical step. In order to give herself the time and space to find out who she really was and what she really wanted, she got rid of her belongings, quit her job, and undertook a yearlong journey around the world, all alone. Eat, Pray, Love is the absorbing chronicle of that year. Her aim was to visit three places where she could examine one aspect of her own nature set against the backdrop of a culture that has traditionally done that one thing very well. In Rome, she studied the art of pleasure, learning to speak Italian and gaining the 23 happiest pounds of her life. India was for the art of devotion, and with the help of a native guru and a surprisingly wise cowboy from Texas, she embarked on four uninterrupted months of spiritual exploration. In Bali, she studied the art of balance between worldly enjoyment and divine transcendence. She became the pupil of an elderly medicine man and also fell in love the best way, unexpectedly.
An intensely articulate and moving memoir of self-discovery, Eat, Pray, Love is about what can happen when you claim responsibility for your own contentment and stop trying to live in imitation of society's ideals. It is certain to touch anyone who has ever woken up to the unrelenting need for change.
©2006 Elizabeth Gilbert (P)2006 Penguin Audio, a division of Penguin Group (USA) Inc., and Books on Tape. All rights reserved.
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Critic Reviews

"Sustaining a chatty, conspiratorial tone, Gilbert fully engages readers in the year's cultural and emotional tapestry, conveying rapture with infectious brio, recalling anguish with touching candor, as she details her exotic tableau with history, anecdote and impression." (Publishers Weekly)
"Gilbert's sensuous and audacious spiritual odyssey is as deeply pleasurable as it is enlightening." ( Booklist)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful
5 out of 5 stars
By YoginiZora on 07-20-06

An Inner Journey within an External One

I'd already read this book in hardback before buying the audiobook (I loved it that much), and discovered that Elizabeth Gilbert's reading of her own memoir revealed new depth, humor, and poignancy.

(Please permit this technical note: If I could have, I would've deducted half a star from my rating on the grounds that Gilbert's voice is low and husky. I listened to this book mostly in my car, and at times her husky voice dropped so low that the reading becomes muffled or inaudible -- or maybe that's just how loud my car is! It is occasionally distracting, but not overly so.)

This "travel" book is actually a tale of Gilbert's stripping away of the obstacles and existential plaque that had suffocated her carefully, but not thoughtfully, constructed life as a wife in the 'burbs. She treats the subject of her awakening and healing with great honesty, self-effacing humor, and a tremendous degree of likability. (I found myself wishing that she lived around the block, just because it would be so much fun to share an evening and a bottle of wine with her.)

Gilbert's description of living (and eating) in Italy for 4 months, then spending 4 months in a Yoga ashram in India, then topping it off with 4 months in Indonesia do capture her environments, and the surrounding cultures. But this is not, strictly speaking, a "travel" book. You aren't going to hear as much about how Italians work as you are about how Liz Gilbert works (but it's hardly a loss). Be prepared to follow the thread of her self-discovery through a combination of woolgathering and self-reflection; be prepared to learn about the spiritual path of her Guru, which Gilbert follows and explains at length in the book's middle section. And get ready to laugh out loud!

In summary, this book will long remain on my list of "Five books I would take with me if I had to live on a deserted island." I hope that others find it as enlightening and inspiring as I did.

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35 of 42 people found this review helpful

5 out of 5 stars
By Kerry on 10-30-06

Witty and Wonderful

I'm writing my first review because I'm appalled that I nearly didn't order this because of some weak reviews on this site, but my friend's persistent recommendation won me over--fortunately!

Gilbert's book is an intimate look at one person's struggle not to answer life's questions but to put herself on her own journey towards answering them. This true story also bears great universal truths. She wrestles with problems that eventually plague most of us, turning for help to the profound but colorful people she meets along her way, from a teenager in India to a Bali guru (aged somewhere between 77 and 102) to Luca Spaghetti, whose name is no less amusing than his comments.

Gilbert manages to weave in striking metaphors that light up her text. Her description of being visited one night by the personifications of loneliness and sadness, harrassing her like film noir police detectives, is alone worth the price of the book.

The spiritual philosophies Gilbert learns are sprinkled throughout her story without weighing it down but adding a profound dimension that will have you mulling them over long after, and perhaps even incorporating into your own world view.

I'm buying 3 copies for friends and recommending it to everyone else. One friend even sent it to someone she knows in England who's undergoing cancer treatment because I've been so enthusiastic about it.

My big problem is that here in Jerusalem we're waiting for it to be translated--when's that going to happen?

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21 of 25 people found this review helpful

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