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

By Elizabeth Gilbert
Binding:Paperback
Publisher:Penguin (Non-Classics), (1/30/2007)
Language:English



Average Rating:
Very Unleashable
4.33 out of 5 (6 Clubie's ratings)


Buy Now From
buy it now from Amazon
buy it now from Barns and Noble
buy it now from Indie Bookstore


 
This beautifully written, heartfelt memoir touched a nerve among both readers and reviewers. Elizabeth Gilbert tells how she made the difficult choice to leave behind all the trappings of modern American success (marriage, house in the country, career) and find, instead, what she truly wanted from life. Setting out for a year to study three different aspects of her nature amid three different cultures, Gilbert explored the art of pleasure in Italy and the art of devotion in India, and then a balance between the two on the Indonesian island of Bali. By turns rapturous and rueful, this wise and funny author (whom Booklist calls "Anne Lamott’s hip, yoga- practicing, footloose younger sister") is poised to garner yet more adoring fans.
Like this book? Then you might also like these...

 
 

Unscribbler's thoughts on "Eat, Pray, Love: One Woman's Search for Everything Across Italy, India and Indonesia"
updated on:12/7/2009

Great book. Lots of fun insights presented in a completely relatable way.

DEFINITELY Unleash it



Isa's thoughts on "Eat, Pray, Love: One Woman's Search for Everything Across Italy, India and Indonesia"
updated on:8/17/2009



DEFINITELY Unleash it



Dianne's thoughts on "Eat, Pray, Love: One Woman's Search for Everything Across Italy, India and Indonesia"
updated on:7/21/2009



Unleash it



LForbes500's thoughts on "Eat, Pray, Love: One Woman's Search for Everything Across Italy, India and Indonesia"
updated on:7/5/2009



DEFINITELY Unleash it



janice.b's thoughts on "Eat, Pray, Love: One Woman's Search for Everything Across Italy, India and Indonesia"
updated on:7/5/2009



DEFINITELY Unleash it



lynnette's thoughts on "Eat, Pray, Love: One Woman's Search for Everything Across Italy, India and Indonesia"
updated on:5/27/2009

Light read, self absorbed...but I guess that is the point.

Unleash it


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

Average Rating:
Very Unleashable
4.33 out of 5 (6 Clubie's ratings)


The Gentleman
The Gentleman
By Forrest Leo

 
 
 General reading guide discussion questions to be used with ANY book your book club or reading group might be discussing.
 
 

  • Gilbert writes that “the appreciation of pleasure can be the anchor of humanity,” making the argument that America is “an entertainment-seeking nation, not necessarily a pleasure-seeking one.” Is this a fair assessment? 

  • After imagining a petition to God for divorce, an exhausted Gilbert answers her phone to news that her husband has finally signed. During a moment of quietude before a Roman fountain, she opens her Louise Glück collection to a verse about a fountain, one reminiscent of the Balinese medicine man’s drawing. After struggling to master a 182-verse daily prayer, she succeeds by focusing on her nephew, who suddenly is free from nightmares. Do these incidents of fortuitous timing signal fate? Cosmic unity? Coincidence? 

  • Gilbert hashes out internal debates in a notebook, a place where she can argue with her inner demons and remind herself about the constancy of self-love. When an inner monologue becomes a literal conversation between a divided self, is this a sign of last resort or of self-reliance? 

  • When Gilbert finally returns to Bali and seeks out the medicine man who foretold her return to study with him, he doesn’t recognize her. Despite her despair, she persists in her attempts to spark his memory, eventually succeeding. How much of the success of Gilbert’s journey do you attribute to persistence? 

  • Prayer and meditation are both things that can be learned and, importantly, improved. In India, Gilbert learns a stoic, ascetic meditation technique. In Bali, she learns an approach based on smiling. Do you think the two can be synergistic? Or is Ketut Liyer right when he describes them as “same-same”? 

  • Gender roles come up repeatedly in Eat, Pray, Love, be it macho Italian men eating cream puffs after a home team’s soccer loss, or a young Indian’s disdain for the marriage she will be expected to embark upon at age eighteen, or the Balinese healer’s sly approach to male impotence in a society where women are assumed responsible for their childlessness. How relevant is Gilbert’s gender? 

  • In what ways is spiritual success similar to other forms of success? How is it different? Can they be so fundamentally different that they’re not comparable? 

  • Do you think people are more open to new experiences when they travel? And why? 

  • Abstinence in Italy seems extreme, but necessary, for a woman who has repeatedly moved from one man’s arms to another’s. After all, it’s only after Gilbert has found herself that she can share herself fully in love. What does this say about her earlier relationships? 

  • Gilbert mentions her ease at making friends, regardless of where she is. At one point at the ashram, she realizes that she is too sociable and decides to embark on a period of silence, to become the Quiet Girl in the Back of the Temple. It is just after making this decision that she is assigned the role of ashram key hostess. What does this say about honing one’s nature rather than trying to escape it? Do you think perceived faults can be transformed into strengths rather than merely repressed? 

  • Sitting in an outdoor café in Rome, Gilbert’s friend declares that every city—and every person—has a word. Rome’s is “sex,” the Vatican’s “power”; Gilbert declares New York’s to be “achieve,” but only later stumbles upon her own word, antevasin, Sanskrit for “one who lives at the border.” What is your word? Is it possible to choose a word that retains its truth for a lifetime?

  • Clubie Submitted Discussion Questions
    Have a good question? If your a clubie add one now.
     
     
    From Publishers Weekly
    Starred Review. Gilbert (The Last American Man) grafts the structure of romantic fiction upon the inquiries of reporting in this sprawling yet methodical travelogue of soul-searching and self-discovery. Plagued with despair after a nasty divorce, the author, in her early 30s, divides a year equally among three dissimilar countries, exploring her competing urges for earthly delights and divine transcendence. First, pleasure: savoring Italy's buffet of delights--the world's best pizza, free-flowing wine and dashing conversation partners--Gilbert consumes la dolce vitaas spiritual succor. "I came to Italy pinched and thin," she writes, but soon fills out in waist and soul. Then, prayer and ascetic rigor: seeking communion with the divine at a sacred ashram in India, Gilbert emulates the ways of yogis in grueling hours of meditation, struggling to still her churning mind. Finally, a balancing act in Bali, where Gilbert tries for equipoise "betwixt and between" realms, studies with a merry medicine man and plunges into a charged love affair. 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. 
    Copyright Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. 

    From The New Yorker
    At the age of thirty-one, Gilbert moved with her husband to the suburbs of New York and began trying to get pregnant, only to realize that she wanted neither a child nor a husband. Three years later, after a protracted divorce, she embarked on a yearlong trip of recovery, with three main stops: Rome, for pleasure (mostly gustatory, with a special emphasis on gelato); an ashram outside of Mumbai, for spiritual searching; and Bali, for "balancing." These destinations are all on the beaten track, but Gilbert's exuberance and her self-deprecating humor enliven the proceedings: recalling the first time she attempted to speak directly to God, she says, "It was all I could do to stop myself from saying, 'I've always been a big fan of your work.'" 
    Copyright © 2006 The New Yorker --This text refers to the Hardcover edition. 

    From The Washington Post
    The only thing wrong with this readable, funny memoir of a magazine writer's yearlong travels across the world in search of pleasure and balance is that it seems so much like a Jennifer Aniston movie. Like Jen, Liz is a plucky blond American woman in her thirties with no children and no major money worries. As the book opens, she is going through a really bad divorce and subsequent stormy rebound love affair. Awash in tears in the middle of the night on the floor of the bathroom, she begins to pray for guidance, "you know -- like, to God." God answers. He tells her to go back to bed. I started seeing the Star headlines: "Jen's New Faith!" "What Really Happened at the Ashram!" "Jen's Brazilian Sugar Daddy -- Exclusive Photos!" Please understand that Gilbert, whose earlier nonfiction book, The Last American Man, portrayed a contemporary frontiersman, is serious about her quest. But because she never leaves her self-deprecating humor at home, her journey out of depression and toward belief lacks a certain gravitas. The book is composed of 108 short chapters (based on the beads in a traditional Indian japa mala prayer necklace) that often come across as scenes in a movie. And however sad she feels or however deeply she experiences something, she can't seem to avoid dressing up her feelings in prose that can get too cute and too trite. On the other hand, she convinced me that she acquired more wisdom than most young American seekers -- and did it without peyote buttons or other classic hippie medicines. When Gilbert determines that she requires a year of healing, her first stop is Italy, because she feels she needs to immerse herself in a language and culture that worships pleasure and beauty. This sets the stage for a "Jen's Romp in Rome," where she studies Italian and, with newfound friends, searches for the best pizza in the world. It's a considerable achievement because she is still stalked by Depression and Loneliness, which she casts as "Pinkerton Detectives" -- Depression, the wise guy, and Loneliness, "the more sensitive cop." They frisk her, "empty my pockets of any joy I had been carrying" and relentlessly interrogate her about why she thinks she deserves a vacation, considering what a mess she's made of her life. After literally eating herself out of depression, she returns to the United States for Christmas holidays. Next stop: the ashram. It seems Gilbert has been a student of yoga and meditation for years. Her rural Indian experience features Gilbert grappling mightily with some of the meditative practices. She finds quirky co-practitioners such as Richard from Texas, a former truck driver, alcoholic and Birkenstock dealer. Richard nicknames her "Groceries" because of her appetite at meals and offers wise advice. Picture Willie Nelson in a non-singing cameo role. Gilbert acknowledges that Americans have had difficulty accepting the idea of meditation and gurus, and she does a mostly fine job in making her ashram education accessible. She deftly sketches the physical stress of sitting in one position for hours, as well as the metaphysical stress of staying on message. Still, Gilbert sounds like a giddy teenager as she describes her relationship with Swamiji, the yogi who founded the ashram where she is studying: "I'm finding that all I want is Swamiji. All I feel is Swamiji.... It's the Swamiji channel, round the clock." The concluding 36 beads find Gilbert in Bali, palling around with an ageless medicine man who looks like Yoda, a Balinese mother and nurse, Wayan, who is a refugee from domestic violence, and other colorful characters. Gilbert is healed enough by now to render a really good deed: She raises $18,000 via e-mail from American friends for Wayan to buy a house. ("Jen: Bigger Do-Gooder Than Brad?") And after 18 months of self-imposed celibacy, she finds mature, truer love thanks to a charming older Brazilian businessman. Eat, Pray, Love as a whole actually is better than its 108 beads. By the time she and her lover sailed into a Bali sunset, Gilbert had won me over. She's a gutsy gal, this Liz, flaunting her psychic wounds and her search for faith in a pop-culture world, and her openness ultimately rises above its glib moments. Memo to Jen -- option this book. -- Grace Lichtenstein is a travel writer and author of six books who lives in New York and Santa Fe, N.M.

    Reviewed by Grace Lichtenstein 
    Copyright 2006, The Washington Post. All Rights Reserved. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition. 

    From Bookmarks Magazine
    It's easy to envy Elizabeth Gilbert: she has had a run of successful, critically lauded books (National Book Award finalist for The Last American Man; Pushcart Prize winner for Pilgrims) and has sustained a successful career as a journalist for Spin and GQ. Her "trademark conversational" prose (Atlanta Journal-Constitution) is on display in her first memoir-cum-travelogue, yet not all reviewers are pleasantly engaged. They agree that the 108 chapters of the book (the same number of Buddhist prayer beads on a japa mala) are filled with interesting characters and vivid descriptions. But some critics feel Gilbert's likability and humor obscure the deeper themes of her search for enlightenment.

    Copyright © 2004 Phillips & Nelson Media, Inc. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition. 

    From Booklist
    *Starred Review* Gilbert, author of The Last American Man (2002) and a well-traveled I'll-try-anything-once journalist, chronicles her intrepid quest for spiritual healing. Driven to despair by a punishing divorce and an anguished love affair, Gilbert flees New York for sojourns in the three Is. She goes to Italy to learn the language and revel in the cuisine, India to meditate in an ashram, and Indonesia to reconnect with a healer in Bali. This itinerary may sound self-indulgent or fey, but there is never a whiny or pious or dull moment because Gilbert is irreverent, hilarious, zestful, courageous, intelligent, and in masterful command of her sparkling prose. A captivating storyteller with a gift for enlivening metaphors, Gilbert is Anne Lamott's hip, yoga-practicing, footloose younger sister, and readers will laugh and cry as she recounts her nervy and outlandish experiences and profiles the extraordinary people she meets. As Gilbert switches from gelato to kundalini Shakti to herbal cures Balinese-style, she ponders the many paths to divinity, the true nature of happiness, and the boon of good-hearted, sexy love. Gilbert's sensuous and audacious spiritual odyssey is as deeply pleasurable as it is enlightening. Donna Seaman
    Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved --This text refers to the Hardcover edition. 

    Review
    A meditation on love in its many forms—love of food, language, humanity, God, and most meaningful for Gilbert, love of self. -- Los Angeles Times

    An engaging, intelligent, and highly entertaining memoir. -- Time

    Gilbert’s prose is fueled by a mix of intelligence, wit and colloquial exuberance that is close to irresistible. -- The New York Times Book Review

    This insightful, funny account of her travels reads like a mix of Susan Orlean and Frances Mayes. -- Entertainment Weekly

    This is a wonderful book, brilliant and personal, rich in spiritual insight. -- Anne Lamott 

    Review
    This is a wonderful book, brilliant and personal, rich in spiritual insight. (Anne Lamott)

    Gilbert’s prose is fueled by a mix of intelligence, wit and colloquial exuberance that is close to irresistible. (The New York Times Book Review)

    An engaging, intelligent, and highly entertaining memoir. (Time)

    A meditation on love in its many forms—love of food, language, humanity, God, and most meaningful for Gilbert, love of self. (Los Angeles Times)

    This insightful, funny account of her travels reads like a mix of Susan Orlean and Frances Mayes. (Entertainment Weekly

    How can we make BookBundlz even better? Tell us what you think would make this website teh best for book clubs, reading groups and book lovers alike!
     
     
     
     Apple iTunes

     
     
    Elizabeth Gilbert is an award-winning writer of both fiction and non-fiction. Her short story collection Pilgrims was a finalist for the PEN/Hemingway award, and her novel Stern Menwas a New York Times notable book. In 2002, she published The Last American Man, which was a finalist for both the National Book Award and the National Book Critic’s Circle Award. She is best known for her 2006 memoir Eat, Pray, Love, which was published in more than thirty languages.


    Also, Don't Miss BB's
    Author News Page!
    Look for advice on everything from how to get your book published to promoted. We are looking to help you get the word out about your book!

     
     
    Check out our...

    of the Month


    Gifts