“I am largely disappointed with this book, especially given all the hype surrounding it. The self talk that is detailed ad noseum throughout the first half of the book is truly painful. And her redefinition of religion to be simply whatever makes one happy is flippantly dismissive of 5000+ years of contemplative religious scholarship and reflection, which seems shallow and a bit arrogant. Not to mention her having no problem meditating on herself despite being in a country where some of the most oppressed women in the world live a life of abject suffering every day. I cant help but feel like her spiritual choices were nothing more than a response to years under the microcope of over-achievement and self un-awareness in America. Once she got to Bali, and met the Balinese divorcee, I was waiting for that jail-cell moment in Bridget Jones II, where after hearing her new friend’s truly horrendous story of spousal beatings and degridation she would realize that perhaps her relationships had'nt been that bad after all. But it never happened. I did love her descriptions of the places she visited, though. The soccer match in Italy, the garden at dusk in India, and her hilarious road trip in Bali. I love poor Yudhi. And the description of the cottage she rented in Bali made me salivate with envy. And of course, so did the trysts with the Latin Lover. Not until the end of the book did I begin to appreciate what she may or may not have been trying to say. In her grief and desperation she befriended people all over the world, even taking seriously the medicine man in Bali whose contradictory ideas of reality exposed his lonliness and senility. She took the time. And that human interaction, reaching out to all those random people, caring about their story and their lives, was healing to her and to them. And thats what I love. But it was a whole lot of drama and eye rolling getting there.”
You made it further than I was willing to subject myself. Her somewhat clever asides wore quickly and I felt like I was trapped in an endless lunch date with a friend who only interacts so she can talk about herself and where every question she asks is a really a thinly veiled opportunity to talk yet more about herself. I will put it on my shelf and see if I can pick it back up in the near future to see if I can gain the insight that so many seemed to gleam from the book.
Benji - you got it right! I'm still with her in Italy and it sure seems an endless lunch date! Saw her on Oprah and boy! was Oprah gushing about her and the words in the book. Seems to me like a depressed person just going thru more experiences to come back to square one but doesn't want to admit it!
You said it in a nutshell.
talking about ourselves is one of the harder things we can do and so helpfull for the others if the others can see what we mean
I agree. Her writing style moves in slow motion or in a circle around herself. I only made it to Italy and considered picking it up again...but I've decided not to. I know where to find good travel writing. I think the book is a case of good marketing.
I think Italy was the best part. Get through that country, and you can pretty much be done with the book.
I read this book during a time of move, a time when there is always plenty of drama, like it or not. For one who can do without drama in my own life and have a difficult time with created drama in others' lives, I found hers rather refreshing. The pace of the book was right for me, easy going, no rushing. She definitely was focused on herself, but then wasn't that the reason for the travelling, her need to find herself and heal? and that is what she wrote. Having had difficulty with failure in the past and having learned to get over myself and enjoy something new, knowing I will not be as good as someone who has spent years at it (book arts, for example), I found it refreshing to read about Gilbert's failures and her ability to come out on the bright side of life. She put her failures out there but in no way do they diminish her as a human being.
personally not only enjoyed this book but found myself inspired by it. I have to say that I don't think it's fair to judge the book based on the authors personal spiritual practices. It says right in the title that this is about one woman's search, it's not meant to be a religious studies manual or even a how-to find you own spiritual enlightenment guide. I was not bothered at all that she had "no problem meditating on herself despite being in a country where some of the most oppressed women in the world live a life of abject suffering every day." She was in said countries not as a good will ambassador but because she was on an internal journey which is by its very nature a self focused time in a persons life. I am a person who has that 'I must save the world' mentality and one of the hardest lessons for me is one that my mother has been repeating to me for many years now and that's that you have to take care of yourself and your immediate family before you can take care of the entire world. I feel that during the writing of this book, the author was in a place of nurturing her own spirit and in essence saving herself. If that seams selfish, well then I pity those who can't see through their own glass house to see how very necessary this type of journey is to every person.
you made it a lot further than i did. but it was the only book that i didn't finish in 13 weeks. i read 100. i couldn't make it out of italy. who the heck is depressed in italy of all places. she mentioned medication. she should bite the bullet and just take it. my mother-in-law recommended the book to me. one of my best gf said no---don't read it. i should of listened to the gf.
I'm glad to see I'm not alone in detesting the ego-centric blather that largely makes up this book.
the ego centric persons are the best because they are honest with themselves and with the others too.They dont pretend, they are just showing their needs and weaknesses and this is the value of their parsonality.
jealousy is bad...
LoneB's review was right on. A Sex in the City guide to enlightenment - like OMG!
sex in the city is perfect and if you could enjoy it too you would be less severe with this book lol
so many words so bad comments and so obvious that you envy so much this woman and the way she dared to llive her life!
It might seem like a self involved book, but after all she is trying to figure out her spiritual self, especially after going through a hard phase in her life. I enjoyed it mostly because my friend who recommended the book to me is exactly like the author, very friendly and always worried about others. It was fun to point out to her the comparison and she took it well. I loved the italian tour the most; bali tour was woderful, but the indian tour was a little sad and deep. All in all a good read.
Envy?? Are you kidding? You've got it so wrong.
LOL. I found the stuff about her failed marriage a little embarrassing too, but I thought it was just a guy thing. I'm glad you stuck with it, though. You have to admit she's pretty brave to put so much of herself out there. I take your point about religion, but at the end of the day I think that maybe 99% of authentic believers and followers ARE in it for personal happiness and contentment. I think most non-religious Western people have a tendency to over-intellectualize the religious experience. I also think that that's maybe why the book was so successful - she was actually giving voice to an honest experience. I agree, it's extremely patchy, and even silly in parts - but the overall experience is quite interesting, and since I read it over a year ago I have found myself engaged in discussions with all sorts of people about it, so I think it's one of those "must-reads." Anyway, just wanted to say I loved your review.
I really agree with most of your review. I liked parts of this book and at first I really loved the way the she would say things, and her funny thoughts and rantings... BUT then, it just was never ending. I really enjoyed Italy almost in its entirety. I HATED INDIA~ I was bored out of my mind. Pissed off at her bitching and moaning...It was starting to give me a headache. I skipped 65% of India cuz I couldn't deal with it anymore. I ended up skimming the rest of that chapter. Finally, I got to Bali, and that one I did like as much as Italy. I thought it was nice that she sort of found the peace she was looking for. I get what you are saying about her religious views/ignorance...I agree with what you said mostly, but at the same time, it made me really relate to her, because I myself was raised a certain way in terms as religion, and now as an adult living in this day and age, and a person who wants to fully function in society in this day in age without prejudice or other judgmental boundaries, I have come to question my whole standpoint on religion and what I do and don't believe, so I can relate to how lost she feels in many ways... Though, I don't just try a whole new religion on for size like her. Also, I thought it was a nice thing to read about a person who jumps in with not much more but FAITH into something crazy, and make it out alive, happy, and complete. I can really relate to that!