Customer Reviews for

Eat, Pray, Love: One Woman's Search for Everything Across Italy, India and Indonesia

Average Rating 3.5
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Most Helpful Favorable Review

30 out of 35 people found this review helpful.

Contrived. But Still a Good Journey

I really relate to this character, because I also went through a terrible divorce at a young age, and I really felt her pain. This is the deal---she completely planned this book before she even left on the trip, which is why she got a huge advance....and in that way, I ...
I really relate to this character, because I also went through a terrible divorce at a young age, and I really felt her pain. This is the deal---she completely planned this book before she even left on the trip, which is why she got a huge advance....and in that way, I feel duped as a reader. I want to believe it is a true journey. I bet she forgot everything she learned at the Ashram as soon as she left. I did not believe that truly transformed her. However, I did love (!) the detail about Rome, since I also lived there in college, and I think she nailed it. I could have guessed she would end up with a man in the end. It is a good book for our generation, but I would caution people not to drink the Kool-Aid.

posted by TaylorVaughn on July 10, 2010

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Most Helpful Critical Review

75 out of 102 people found this review helpful.

Waste of time

This was the most irritating book I have come across in quite some time. I honestly fail to understand what all the fuss is about. The character is rich, self-absorbed, and narcissistic. Yeah she was suffering, my heart bleeds for someone who has the money to traipse ...
This was the most irritating book I have come across in quite some time. I honestly fail to understand what all the fuss is about. The character is rich, self-absorbed, and narcissistic. Yeah she was suffering, my heart bleeds for someone who has the money to traipse all over the world to find herself finally lighting in paradise where she meets a rich handsome man. Give me a break, and take a reality check. It says much for our culture that the movie should be such a success, and that the book is a best seller. Honestly, the writing is not that great and the character .well what can I say? More New Age dribble and easy answers except that in this case she has the financial wherewithal to travel the world to find herself. Give us all a break.

posted by 1142135 on August 9, 2010

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 9, 2010

    Waste of time

    This was the most irritating book I have come across in quite some time. I honestly fail to understand what all the fuss is about. The character is rich, self-absorbed, and narcissistic. Yeah she was suffering, my heart bleeds for someone who has the money to traipse all over the world to find herself finally lighting in paradise where she meets a rich handsome man. Give me a break, and take a reality check. It says much for our culture that the movie should be such a success, and that the book is a best seller. Honestly, the writing is not that great and the character .well what can I say? More New Age dribble and easy answers except that in this case she has the financial wherewithal to travel the world to find herself. Give us all a break.

    75 out of 102 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 6, 2007

    A reviewer

    A friend recomended this book to me after I had gone through divorce and then been diagnosed with cancer thinking I would find some wisdom within these pages. However, what I found was an incredibly narcissistic writer/character. I kept waiting for her to suddenly stop in the middle of it all and just declare how self absorbed she is and then begin a real and truly honest self examination that would impart some valuable wisdom. Instead, she uses cliche riddled writing to avoid all of the hard subjects and not really be honest with the reader. I can very much relate to her feelings of anxiety and stress as the result of her divorce, but she spends only a few pages on this and avoids providing the reader with any kind of an honest and real examination as to why her relationship failed, what she learned from it or what love means to her. After reading more about her as a writer she seems like a very talented and intellectually curious person, but none of that comes through in this book. All that the reader sees is someone who is very lucky, but doesn't really seem to appreciate it. When she writes that she was not saved by her prince -- surprise, surprise she meets a good looking, intelligent man at the end -- but that she saved herself, I had to ask, 'From what?' It certainly wasn't extraordinary narcisism. In the end, all I learned is that the author is a really lucky person.

    54 out of 68 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted July 19, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    From a therapist's viewpoint - Narcissistic and Shallow --

    Dang, I was expecting so much more from this book! I wanted to give the book NO STARS in this review, but the software wouldn't allow it. I have to settle for 1 STAR, but even that's too many. It seems that people either really, really LIKE THIS BOOK or that people really, really DISLIKE THIS BOOK. Count me in the latter category. But, I really used to like Elizabeth Gilbert's work. What happened...?

    "What a totally self-centered person," I thought as I struggled through the first half of the book. I REALLY, REALLY, REALLY tried to LIKE this book because I knew in the first 20 pages I would NEVER LOVE IT. I was expecting Ms. Gilbert to write more about cultures. I was wrong... It's all about ME...ME...ME rather than about cultural acceptance.

    Wouldn't it be nice if everyone could just pick up and leave friends and family and other responsibilities to travel the world and eat, have sex, eat some more, have sex some more, and--oh yes--investigate and ponder why God (or some intelligent being, if you like) made ME so special?!

    Many of my friends liked this book and said it spoke to them. Now, I have very wonderful and intelligent friends, but I can't seem to find or relate to the concepts they describe as being life-altering or life-clarifying. Perhaps it's just ME. Oh, no--I seem to have caught the ME-SYNDROME (officially known as Narcissistic Personality Disorder)that I so clearly despised in this book!

    I wouldn't recommend this book to my clients as a therapeutic approach or aid to their mid-life crisis angst. Instead, I'd encourage each of them to not waste money on this book; save up for a real cruise/trip with real people...

    ...and I can't remember the last time I used the word "really" as often as I did in this review or as many upper-case letters or exclamation points to show how I felt about a book!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Cherie Renfrow Starry
    Private Practice Counselor/Therapist

    36 out of 46 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted July 2, 2009

    Tough times for a vapid, self-absorbed, socialite

    As a English professor at a university in San Diego, many of my students complain that I don't teach many "happy" books. A few of them recommended this book to me. And I'm glad they did...this is a troubling book.

    The most troubling thing about this vapid text isn't the fact that Gilbert is an annoying person; no, most troubling is the fact that so many people here are identifying with the narrator's "search." Really? You identify with an upitty, wealthy, New England divorcee who got paid to travel and "find" herself? From the faux-philosophical ruminations on "God," to the juvenile talk of Italian men ("I like kissing"--no joke--she really got paid to write that), Gilbert attempts to convince you that she's intellectual, spiritual, and--somehow--had a tough life.

    Gilbert tells us in the first chapter that she's not going to go into why her marriage broke apart (though she admits that much of it was her fault), but then details numerous faults with her husband (his biggest fault? He wanted her to have--gasp!--children!). The disingenuousness of Gilbert knows no limits! She tells us early on that she "got rid of all her possessions." How noble, right? Well, not really, she just put them into storage. How serendipitous!

    At all times, Gilbert's vapid self-centered "wanderer" takes center stage. Gilbert takes an entire sentence(!) to walk through a Roman neighborhood used as a Jewish Ghetto in WWII, and promptly discards that invitation to measure her own struggles against true adversity in favor of saying how she likes to visit the Pantheon.

    If you'd like to read a sincere look at personal struggle, please read Jhumpa Lahiri's "Unaccustomed Earth" or Louise Errich's "Plague of Doves."

    34 out of 40 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted July 10, 2010

    Contrived. But Still a Good Journey

    I really relate to this character, because I also went through a terrible divorce at a young age, and I really felt her pain. This is the deal---she completely planned this book before she even left on the trip, which is why she got a huge advance....and in that way, I feel duped as a reader. I want to believe it is a true journey. I bet she forgot everything she learned at the Ashram as soon as she left. I did not believe that truly transformed her. However, I did love (!) the detail about Rome, since I also lived there in college, and I think she nailed it. I could have guessed she would end up with a man in the end. It is a good book for our generation, but I would caution people not to drink the Kool-Aid.

    30 out of 35 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted July 29, 2010

    Consider Another Way to Spend Your Reading Time

    This self-indulgent whine-fest is not worthy of your valuable reading time. The author wisely chooses to first take the reader to Italy, where no one is boring and nothing seems bad! The next two sections of this travelogue are just - pretentious meanderings. The writer has given us no reasons to care about her troubles or her actions or anything else about her. Being a confused, divorced female does not make one a good writer!

    26 out of 32 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted June 28, 2010

    Absorbing and Inspiring

    I never wanted Liz's story to end! It made me want to experience each step of her journey and find myself. She writes with such honesty that the reader finds herself laughing out loud and at other times crying. A must-read for all women and a beautiful gift for all best friends.

    19 out of 24 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted December 21, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    Eat, Pray, and Love is a must read

    Has anyone ever asked themselves, "What am I doing with my life"? Of course you have. Everyone has. Elizabeth Gilbert took the time to make a book about literally getting out. Getting away from her friends, her family, her comfort zone in her hometown. She travels to three different countries to learn about the culture and eventually finds self fulfillment. This book is encouraging to those of us who refuse to settle for the norm. It helps motivate us to take life and live it to the fullest. She does just that in this book about love and finding ones self. I highly recommend it to anyone.

    18 out of 23 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted July 15, 2010

    a movie? really?

    She ate a lot and did some yoga. How on earth are they making a movie out of all that? I think this book MIGHT be good for someone going through a divorce, but personally, I wanted to pull eyelashes out one by one while reading this. I eat a lot, too. Maybe I should write about that. Who knows, maybe that will be turned into a movie too!

    17 out of 25 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 9, 2007

    Don't waste your money!

    I was so disappointed after the first few chapters that I actually returned the book the next day. I found the author sadly and annoyingly self absorbed. But maybe I'm just one of those lucky women. Lets see I'm .......divorced(ex is an alcoholic), broke(putting two kids through college), overweight(even though I walk two miles every morning), sexless(seven years and counting), tired(work two jobs to pay the bills) oh and guess what......I'M HAPPY!!!!

    17 out of 26 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 11, 2007

    Too political

    Although I found this book to be beautifully written, the author's political inferences were just too tiresome for me. I stopped reading just before the end of the Italian segment. If she thinks republicans are so pathetic and is still harping on the fact that republicans 'stole' the presidential election, perhaps this republican would find her time better spent reading someone else's book. On to Whitethorn Woods for me.

    15 out of 27 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 8, 2007

    Soooo lame!

    I work in a bookstore & I am a huge fan of Oprah. So, I was very excited to read this book after hearing so many customer's recommned it & after seeing the author on Oprah. Sadly, it was the biggest disappointment! I agree with the other reviewers...all she did was complain and feel bad for herself over everything!! She had no life experiences that were that bad...she needed this 'journey' because she didn't want to be married anymore? Please...give me a break! Who wouldn't want to take a year off from work & your problems and travel? Unless you are filthy stinking rich you will not relate to this book. Do not waste your time.

    13 out of 16 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 9, 2010

    I considered this book inspiration-less.

    I've never been so disappointed and angered by a book. I thought it would have been about a women's journey into finding herself. Instead I'm reading about a neurotic women who commits adultry, uses people and then feels its necessary to promote her political views. I couldn't get past "Italy", which should have been all about pain, suffering and starting to gain control of her life. Instead, she demonstrates how selfish and uncaring she is about her friends and past relationships.

    11 out of 14 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted May 20, 2010

    Simply Inspiring

    When I began reading this book I was living abroad in Amman, Jordan. So I could very much identify with the traveling aspects of the book as well as the spiritual journey. I was not planning to go on a spiritual journay while in Jordan but while living there with inescapable sounds of call to prayer from the five mosques within a one mile radius four times a day it seems almost inevitable that you would think about your spirituality. I had just begun meditating again and wasn't quite sure what I was going to do with my life after I returned to the US. I was a nanny for my brother's new baby boy and I had a lot of time on my hands to contemplate my life. When I found this book it was almost as if the planets had aligned at the perfect moment to send me the perfect gift for exactly what I was going through. Elizabeth Gilbert's journey not only helped to get my own journey in motion but helped along the way. It reawakened in me the need to tap into my own spirituality, something I too had been lacking for quite a few years. I think Gilbert's personal, ethnographic style of writing is very compelling and hard to put down once you start reading. Even if you are not exactly going through the same types of things, her ability to talk openly and humorously about her life helps to open those rooms inside all of our souls/minds that may have been closed or forgotten about. And if nothing else her writing is inspirational to get out there and make positive changes in your life or simply to get out and live. As I have entered a somewhat stagnant stage of life, I've decided to go back and reread this book for another healthy dose of inspiration and hopeful dose of personal enlightenment.

    Here is to you finding inspiration in her words....

    9 out of 13 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted October 21, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    Thoughtful and Inspiring

    As I started reading this book I was sure that Eat would be my favorite part of the book; then as I continued reading, Pray was equally satisfying. By the time I read Love and finished the book, I realized that the author wove a wonderful story with each section building on the others, just as in life. I found the book inspirational and took from it the fact that we each know what is best for us and we must all be our own guides through life.

    9 out of 13 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted November 4, 2008

    A delicious, life changing book!

    This book, from the first couple of pages, is so compelling . . pulls you right in! Liz Gilbert has a rare gift, in my opinion, to reach the reader in a very personal way. It's one of those books that seems to have "something for everyone" - men and women alike.<BR/><BR/>I'm grateful for the brief chapters, because this is a books that I didn't want to be done with- I carry it with me everywhere and savor each chapter as a gift. It's funny because every time someone sees me reading it, it's always "Oh, don't you LOVE that book? It really spoke to me . . "<BR/><BR/>Thank you, Elizabeth Gilbert- this book has made reading fun again, and offered me a spiritual guide without ever preaching to me. The humor and travel insights make it a well rounded read.

    9 out of 13 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted August 5, 2010

    Terrible Horrible...and other various synonyms

    I could not get past the first couple pages...this book was that bad for me. I felt like she was trying too hard to be mystical, spiritual...I couldn't stop rolling my eyes and I was afraid it was going to become permanent.

    8 out of 13 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 9, 2007

    Painful

    Although I loved the first few chapters regarding her trip to Italy, and the descriptions of the food, etc., when she proceeded to India and Indonesia and got engulfed in meditation, she completely lost me. I found myself skipping those parts and hoping to find the good, to no avail. It was painfully boring and probably because I am not able to get all the hype about meditation. We actually took it off our book club list for fear we would lose the rest of the group.

    8 out of 10 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted August 28, 2010

    Disappointing

    I first heard about this book through the relentless promotion circulating the media. I must admit that i was curious but decided to fight the urge to read it for a while. After watching the commercials with Julia Roberts for the upcoming movie over and over again I bought the book. Yes, I admit I am one of those people who become mesmerized by commercials and believe anything they tell me. It was downhill from the moment i read the first five pages. I can't even finish the book. The main character goes on a journey to find herself and from my perspective all she has found is a big pile of complaints about her life, I didnt feel she was learning anything from her experiences. The fact that i have not finished the book says alot.

    7 out of 11 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted August 24, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    I say "nay"

    Honestly, I read about 30 pages and I couldn't go on. It started off boring and just didn't pick up for me. All the talk about eating and eating only made me hungry! It was missing excitement....at least that's what I'd be working on if I was in the main character's shoes. I'm hoping the movie will bring that for me.

    7 out of 9 people found this review helpful.

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