Elizabeth Gilbert: Eat, Pray, Love

Eat, Pray, Love - Elizabeth Gilbert

I can see both sides of the debate on this book, those who loved it and those who hated it. I found it very readable and well-written, and I don't need to love the author's personality to like the book, even if the book is really just about her personality. ;-)


I agree with one critic's (Stephen Metcalf on Slate) complaint that the non-Elizabeth people in the book seemed like they were just props who were placed on her path (apparently by God) to help her realize her potential or whatever it is she was after. Like Elizabeth herself, they only seemed to talk about Elizabeth, and they were always telling her exactly what she needed to hear. But it's her memoir, so it's her prerogative to edit out everything that is off-topic, I guess.


The part that really bothered me (even more than considering the expense of her journey of self-discovery) was her belief that the universe really is designed to help her be what she wants to be, and that it's designed by a personal God who is looking out for her and just wants her to be happy. So if you run into Elizabeth on the street, I guess you know God just put you there to help make her a better person. And her description of why yoga doesn't make sense without God is just wonky. Cleverly, she defines God so vaguely that you can personally believe pretty much anything at all about God and she will conclude that you agree with her. I bet she and Oprah would get along perfectly. They can both place their orders with the universe and talk about themselves while they wait for their dreams to come true.


So, even though I disagreed with Gilbert in many ways, I enjoyed reading the book and would recommend it. I think most people could find something to sympathetic in her story: a lot of women connect with her difficulty journey back to her equilibrium after a divorce. For me, it was her description of the difficulty of beginning meditation and how frustrating learning the process can be, which is exactly how I started out, too.