Genre: Chick-lit

Notes: This whole book can be summed up with a phrase my roommate loves to use.  White people problems.

Review:This review has been hard for me to write, and I’m not sure why.  I can’t describe this book accurately because, really, the concept is good, but something about Gilbert made me want to punch her in the face.  And then I’d kind of like her again.  And then she’d say something insipid and stupid and I would want to punch her in the face again.

This book is the definition of a three-star book.  It’s ok.  It’s interesting enough to finish without a problem, but also creates a state of almost constant annoyance.  In this memoir, the author, Gilbert, takes a year off from her life in New York to get over a painful divorce.  She travels to Italy in order to experience pleasure, India to learn to learn the art of devotion, and finally to Indonesia to learn how to achieve balance in her life.

EAT: Gilbert starts her journey in Italy, eats boatloads  of pasta, pizza, and generally carbo-loading her face off.  It’s glorious, and I am insanely jealous the whole time reading it.   She learns to speak Italian and generally does whatever she pleases.  This section was my favorite part of the book.  I loved her descriptions of the food, the places, and the delight of Italy.   Although, to be honest, it seems a little strange that her definition of pleasure only includes insane amounts of carbs.  Just sayin’.   These stories did not seem as clouded with sadness, her egoism, or her me me me mentality.  One of her passages personified Loneliness and Depression, which was kind of annoying and made me roll my eyes a lot, but on the whole was a nice read.

PRAY: Preachy and a half.  This is the section the book started to get a little grating.  Maybe because I don’t have a background in meditation, yoga, or any of these other arts, I didn’t truly appreciate the experience.  From my perspective, Gilbert shut herself up in an ashram, did not experience the country at all, and spent most of her time with other Westerners.  Like, really?  You had to go all the way to India to experience the art of meditation while living in a compound with other Westerners?  Don’t they have shit like that in like California or something?  It’s hard reading about someone else’s religious experiences, and it is delicate art to explain them without beating your reader over the head.  Look at me!  I meditate for hours a day, get up a 3am, and scrub the temple floor!  I am a monument to finding myself!

LOVE: Blech.  This section, as advertised, is all about love.  Oh-em-gee!  I went through a horrible divorce with my husband but met a beautiful Brazilian man in Bali.  Ok.  Good for you.  I don’t need to read about it for 100 pages.

All in all, the book isn’t bad.  She’s preachy and annoying, but some of the lessons are valuable and hit home.  It’s definitely not the life changing book that it’s immense popularity suggests.