Eat, Pray, Love, Elizabeth Gilbert, Viking Penguin, 2006, 334 pp
This was a big seller at the store where I work and a book club favorite. I read it for one of my book clubs, where it provoked such a violent discussion that one member quit the group.
The subtitle is One Woman's Search for Everything Across Italy, India and Indonesia. Elizabeth Gilbert is a writer who turned her quest for emotional healing and peace of mind into a bestselling memoir. Her writing is witty, spunky and full of new-age sentiments. The book is almost chick-lit meets memoir but I liked it anyway.
After a bitter divorce that dragged out for two years, brought on by Elizabeth's decision not to have a baby, she decides to take a year off and travel. Miraculously she gets an advance on the book she will write about it all, which pays for the trip. She spends four months each in Italy, India and Indonesia. In Italy she eats, each day being a quest for the perfect meal. In India she prays by practicing Yoga at an ashram and achieves her goal to see God. In Indonesia she hangs out with a holy man, an herbal healer and a new love.
Some people in my reading group felt that it was all about her (well, it is a memoir) and that she sold her soul by writing the book. Personally, I enjoyed reading about her travels, her spiritual journey and the events of the physical places where she went. The whole tale was far enough out of mainstream American life to make it engaging and exotic.