What do you do if you have everything you “should” want and are still unhappy? In Eat, Pray, Love, Elizabeth Gilbert shares her story of leaving it all – a promising career, a comfortable home, and even her marriage – to travel the world in search of happiness. Like Cecilia Ahearn, I expected Elizabeth Gilbert to be too “girly” or emotional of an author for me and was pleasantly surprised. Of course, the book includes many emotional topics, such as the author’s agonizing divorce proceedings, but she describes everything in a relatable, humorous way. She comes across as very down-to-earth and comfortable laughing at herself and never became too angsty.
The people described in the book are just priceless. They’re so unique and so interesting that it shocked me in the middle of the book to remember they were real. They just make for such a good story that it’s hard to believe they weren’t invented expressly for the purpose of being in the book. Something others have pointed out correctly is that this isn’t really a travel memoir, because the focus is these characters not the locations. You get a little bit of a feel for the culture of each place the author stays, but the physical journey is definitely secondary to the emotional journey the author experienced.
The organization of the book was a tiny bit contrived and the division of the author’s time in each country into an equal number of stories sometimes made the pacing uneven. I’d just be getting into the plot connecting the chapters and suddenly I’d reach a section where the chapters were individual stories. Despite the occasional lack of flow, I was hooked on this one. The short chapters made it easy to indulge my desire to find out what happened next by reading just one more chapter. And then one more. And then another, late into the night.
Like the other characters, the author seemed like too good of a protagonist not to have been made up for that express purpose. She reminded me of Meg Cabot’s characters, managing to be both fun and relatable enough to make me think “I could be friends with her”. At the end of the day, that reputability and the character driven narrative were what drove my late-night reading binges. Highly recommended.This review first published on Doing Dewey.