Jo (Bloomin'Chick)'s Reviews > Eat, Pray, Love

Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert
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Nov 16, 2009

it was amazing
bookshelves: all-time-favorites, finished-2008, finished-2009, own, nonfiction, memoir
Recommended to Jo (Bloomin'Chick) by: Barbara Abercrombie through her blog, in 2006
Recommended for: everyone!
Read in January, 2008 , read count: 2

** spoiler alert ** Though I heard of this book in 2006 (see who I say recommended it to me), by the time my interest peaked enough to actually read it, I was also very hesitant to do so because of all the "hype" about it! Then I why did I go & buy the book? Because the waiting list at both our local libraries is over a year long and once I saw Liz's first appearance on Oprah in October (2007), I couldn't resist the book any longer. (Curiosity killed the cat as they say).

Usually, this isn't my type of book, but I can honestly say that it is, so far, the most honestly written memoir I've read to date and for that it's amazing. (That's the main reason I gave it to 3 of my girlfriends for Christmas 2007). I under-lined many, many sentences in the book that I relate to or which stuck a chord with me.

I lost interest at times when I felt I couldn't relate to some of the, what I call 'frou frou' spiritualism aspects of it. Now before you get annoyed at me, please keep reading! I'm not saying people can't truly have & believe they have had experiences like that. I just can't relate because I haven't experienced anything to that degree and don't expect to. That's just not me, but, that's okay on both sides of the coin. ("I'm okay, you're okay!")

I also lost interest & got bored during what I call her 'history lessons' that she gives in the book as backgrounds on different places and religious practices because I felt it got a bit too academic (for my taste) and at times too lengthy. I did want more closure at the end given the fact that I know Liz goes on to buy a home and live in western NJ & marries Felipe ~ she ends the book before anything concrete like that happens, but I know that life is never truly finished while living it and hope she'll share more in the future.

Okay, dare I say this?! (Puts on full body armor & holds up shield). Here it goes: Because of most of the comments "Richard from Texas" made to her, I think he's a condescending *&^%$!#! (My humble opinion).

It's been an interesting and emotional read and as usual, I'm a bit sad that it's now over. I wonder, "now what?!"

PS~ I watched both of Liz's Oprah appearances and what worries me after watching the 2nd is the rush to use this book as ones ultimate life guide or "bible," as some viewers kept calling it. That's not what she intended when writing it. (I assume given her reactions to those viewers!)

I realized in my late 20's that no matter how much you look, there's no one book (or even many books) that will give you all of the answers you need. By all means, take some things to heart, challenge your views and file away things as suggestions you can try, but if you take a book like this and use it strictly as guide for your own life, I feel you're still going to end up back where you were before you read it. (Been there & done that, let me tell you!) Liz's path is not the same as mine or yours or anyone's and that is okay! It may be a long & painful road but we'll all get to where we want to be eventually & all in our own ways.

I have battled severe depression for many years now and have been in abusive relationships (I'm not saying hers were) and I think many do not like this book because they cannot relate to that kind of deep & overwhelming pain and being lost, therefore, they feel that she's being selfish, self-absorbed, hopped up on self pity, etc.. I've also come across a bit of jealousy when others say they dislike the book because they may not have the financial means Liz had to be able to do what she did and therefore, they feel she's ungrateful or self indulgent.

Around 2000, I was handed a cushy trader job with a powerful and well known financial company in Manhattan where I'd be making oodles of money and working on the 78th floor of Tower 2 at The World Trade Center. I've always dreamed of working in the city! But, it was NOT what I wanted to do, nor did I have the confidence in myself to handle everything it would've entailed, so I backed out of the job ~ much to the utter dismay of friends & co-workers.

on September 11, 2001, I was at home that morning, sitting on my living room floor with my back against the couch because I'd thrown my back out. I turned on the TV to see Tower 1 of The World Trade Center in Manhattan "on fire." They didn't actually know yet what had happened. a few moments later, I watched a plane fly into tower 2. My tower. My floor. Later I found out that only 2 people from the 78th floor of Tower 2 made it out alive. 2. I feel in my soul that if I'd been there, I would've died that day.

Just because one seems to have "everything," sometimes the price for that "everything" doesn't make it worth having after all.

(Completed 1st time, 1/24/08 after beginning in Oct 2007)
(Started again for CoL group read October 2009, finished November 2009).
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message 7: by Julie (last edited Jan 29, 2009 11:50PM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Julie Great review of the book, and your own personal story too! I think you hit the nail on the head as to why some feel Gilbert is having her own pity party in pats of the book. That deep and overwhelming emotional pain can seem like a bunch of self-indulgence to those who haven't gone through it.

Jo (Bloomin'Chick) Thank you Julie! I appreciate your thoughts!

message 5: by Maureen (last edited Jan 31, 2009 04:48AM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Maureen Jo, You are amazing. That review hits it so perfectly. Truly, there are those who read that book like it is some magical pill and then there are others, like us, who have struggled emotionally and know to take that magical pill with a great big grain of salt.
You say in your review that you have not experienced the "experiences" that Liz explains in the book. I think you are wrong;when you talk about how you saved your own life by not accepting that job in Manhattan. You had that experience with God. You just didn't have it in the way that Liz describes it in the book.

Jo (Bloomin'Chick) Maureen, I almost don't know what to say! Thank you is a start but not enough. I never looked at it that way, never and now that you've shown it to me... Thank you my dear dear friend. You are an amazing, inspirational woman!

Kaliki Jo,
I want to thank you for this review. I already loved this book, but couldn't explain the depths of why, and you just defined if for me. I too, have been through severe, debilitating depression. And now, living happily, and fully, there is no way to describe how that feels. Gilbert didn't describe my own experiences to me, but I could certainly relate to her description of her own. And at the time I read it, I was extremely grateful for the connection.

I agree with your take on it, or any other book, being taken as another bible. I think if anyone has a bible, it should be written by they, themselves. No one else can write if for you.

Thank you again, Jo. I truly appreciate your thoughts here.

And Maureen too ... beautifully said.

Jo (Bloomin'Chick) Kaliki, thank you so much! Very sweet and appreciated. I'm gad Goodreads has brought us together!

message 1: by Kfifer (new)

Kfifer Jo, I really enjoyed reading your review of the book, Eat, Pray and Love. I found myself intrigued by both the book and the movie. Now I find myself at a crossroad in my life, where I am free to live and work anywhere in the world. However, instead of what Gilbert did I am first praying, then eating and after that love...So currently I am on holiday in Costa Rica and still praying but also eating. In September I will move to southern Italy as I have I lived there before and now will return to again live and work there. The love part is destiny, which I believe in. I didn't choose Italy because of Gilbert I chose it because of my dream to spend the rest of my life in Italy. Blessings to you as an encourager to many...Sincerely, Kathleen

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