Eat, Pray, Love — New Classics Challenge Book 1

Okay, I finished Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert on July 31 and the New Classics Challenge doesn’t officially begin until August 1, but I’m counting it! 

One Woman's Search for Everything Across Italy, India and Indonesia

As I’ve mentioned before, I saw Elizabeth Gilbert on Oprah and after hearing her on there, I decided I wanted to read her book.  It took me awhile to finally get it and read it.  Since the Oprah show, I’ve heard mixed reviews about the book.  One woman I know said she didn’t see what all the hype was about.  Another woman, who tried to listen to it on CD, just gave up on it.  Nevertheless, I went with my first reaction to hearing about the book and read it (especially after I saw it on the New Classics list).

Now, for my reaction.  I would say it’s mixed.  The book is Elizabeth’s year-long search for happiness after her messy divorce.  The book is split into three parts:  1. Italy; 2. India; 3. Indonesia.  Each of these sections are divided into 36 sections (which has some significance to the author). 

The first part of the book, Italy, I truly enjoyed.  I liked the author’s writing style.  She writes like I’m assuming she talks. Reading it was like listening to her talk.   There are some witty lines and I love her descriptions of the Italian language.   I loved her description of the crowd at a soccer match in Italy.  I also think she does a wonderful job describing depression.  I’ve never read such a good description of depression (from my perspective of having suffered through depression myself).  I also related to her mixed feelings concerning mood medications, which I share.  It was this section of the book where I could really relate to Elizabeth and I was truly rooting for her. 

Then, Elizabeth heads to India to “find” God through mediation and living at an ashram studying under her guru.  During this period, Elizabeth continues to struggle with her feelings and also struggles with the mediations and yoga.  She meets lots of interesting characters (this saved this section for me).  This is the section in which I could no longer relate to Elizabeth.  And, her writing style actually started to grate on me here.  She tended to find a metaphor for everything (and I mean everything).  And, she would take these metaphors a lot further than was useful.  Does beating a dead horse mean anything?  It became annoying and seemed to take away from her story. 

Finally, Elizabeth heads to Indonesia where she wants to learn balance between passion/enjoyment and prayer.  I started to relate a little better again.  It seemed liked Elizabeth came back to reality, sort of.  I enjoyed “meeting” the people she met there and reading about how she did find some balance.  Nevertheless, the metaphors did continue.

Overall, I’m not sure I would recommend this book.  I would definitley recommend the first section for any depression sufferers, especially those who seem to, on the outside, “have it all” and still suffer.  After that, I would skip the second section and maybe finish up with the third for the happy ending.

So, book 1 down for the challenge!  Next up, The Glass Castle  by Jeannette Walls.

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10 responses to “Eat, Pray, Love — New Classics Challenge Book 1

  1. My reaction to this book was mixed too, and I agree that the Italy section was by far the best. But overall it was only okay–I really don’t get what all the fuss is about.

  2. I’ve been wanting to read this for awhile, but just haven’t gotten around to it. I keep finding something that suits me better. Who knows if I’ll ever pick it up now?

  3. Interesting recommendation, skipping the middle. I think I like it.

    I’m excited to hear what you think of The Glass Castle!

  4. I just finished my first book for the challenge too. When I went to post my link, I saw that you’d beaten me as the first to post for the challenge! 🙂 I haven’t read Eat Pray Love but received mixed reviews from friends on it as well. I hesitate to put it on my list for the challenge, but one friend is still recommending I try it. I think you’ll like The Glass Castle, I devoured that book! I look forward to reading your review.

  5. It’s funny, seeing her on Oprah made me not want to read the book. Oprah has that affect on me, I guess. I am not usually into trying to find “my spiritual self” and it kept coming up during the interview.:) However, I kept seeing friends reading the book and recommending it to me before my trip to Italy. I have it on my list to read for this challenge as well.

  6. Hmmm… I’ve also heard mixed things about this and am put off by the middle section… I’m not sure I’ll get to it, there are so many other books out there!

  7. I agree with Mari – I thought the author seemed nice while on Oprah but all the talk of connecting with God and inner peace kind of turned me off. It’s just not something I feel like I can connect with. I’ll be skipping this one.

  8. I had really wanted to read this book when it first came out but I waited too long and then everyone was talking about how it was incredible, on and on, and I lost interest. I was afraid of the hype! 🙂

    Since then I have read some mixed reviews. I’ll probably get to it one of these days. I am looking forward to your review of the glass Castle.

  9. I love reading reviews of books I’ve already read = it saves me from adding anymore books to the pile, too. I agreed with most of everything you said. I think now, I’ve read almost too many reviews of it. oh well.

    I will be waiting for your review of The Glass Castle, and, your other post about all the Twilight love… makes me think I just might have to jump on that bus, too. goodness me.

  10. This book is on my New Classics Challenge list as well. I appreciate your comments and will keep them in mind while I read it. I just finished The Glass Castle and loved it. Hopefully you will too!

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