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on 12 January 2018
I enjoyed the adventures narrated by the author in this book. However, as a native Italian, I found that the part about her travelling to Italy is jam-packed with stereotypes and judgements about Italians, which sometimes are quite derogative. As an Italian, I would like to stress that these are the author's opinions and doesn't necessarily reflects the reality of Italy, which, thankfully, is much more complex and interesting than the one depicted in the book!
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on 26 January 2016
I saw this book as offering a taste of different cultures and (a little hopefully perhaps) a path to happiness.

Through Gilberts descriptions / thoughts I felt you did get a good insight into Italian, Indian and Balinese culture.It is a memoir though not a guide book so a lot of that insight is gained intuitively through the re telling of her experiences.

A bit of a spiritual sceptic I wasn't sold at first on the first religious aspect of the book.I then picked up on how Liz seemed to create her own religion taking aspects that worked for her and leaving behind those that didn't. from the different experiences. Showing that maybe you have to find your own way to happiness but you can still take tips from others.

Critics claim the book is self indulgent. I feel everyone needs to take time for themselves to be able to give to others.I think that's what the authors done here. Not only enriching the lives of the people she met but also touching readers too. I was particularly warmed by how it is possible for people from different cultures to embrace each other and get along.
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on 2 January 2016
I don't think this book deserves the negative comments posted on here. However, this is a very personal book which deals with very emotional issues. Anyone finding themselves in the situation the author is in will either love it as a crutch, or inspiration; others will hate it as self indulgent clap-trap. Both views are valid - it is just how you approach it. Yes she is paid to go on this journey - but who wouldn't go if they were too? At least she is sharing her experience with those who might find inspiration from it. She doesn't hide the fact she is paid for it - and I love this openness. Personally, I loved the book (hated the film). I love Liz Gilbert - I find her and her writing an inspiration, and have enjoyed many of her books (not all, though, I hasten to add). She is a positive light in my life - I enjoy her facebook updates, her TED talks and her blogs. Approach with an open mind and I think you'll end up liking her too. Don't take it at face value. Look at the actual message she is sendng.
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on 18 August 2017
I'm glad I didn't see the film before reading this book as I've been warned the film does not do the book justice. What a beautiful book. This is a blend of adventure, self development and spiritual teachings all in one, wrapped up in a cocoon of idyllic paradise. Elizabeth's colourful writing transports you from wherever you are to the stunning if not deserted locations she finds herself and you feel you are living her journey alongside her, every step of the way. There are many lessons to take from this book and I will definitely read it many times again. Just wonderful.
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on 22 February 2018
This has jumped to the top of my list of favourite books.

It is by far one of the most inspirational books that I have ever read.

I think everyone everywhere can relate to at least one if not more points in this book.

Bringing heartache, longing, faith, beliefs, love, loss, relationships, companionship, friendship, despair, travel and self discovery it truly has something for everyone.

I am ashamed to say that I have seen the film that is based on this book many many times but had never read the book until now.

If you have never read this book I urge you now to buy it, hire it, borrow it... just get your hands on it and get stuck in.
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on 28 August 2017
I've never seen the film and had a sense of cringe about the book - knowing nothing about it at all! Why? I'll say it was the universe biding her time until it was right for me to read this. You could come away depressed, thinking of the times you could have door as Liz did and change 'before life took over'. Or you can be inspired, an find positive, bold ways to keep being more you. I want my girls to read this in their teens. Happy for Liz. Thanks to her & all in her story for sharing something so personal and so wonderful.
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on 10 January 2014
This book is frustrating!! I have so many mixed emotions!!
It is so fulfilling with regards to the wealth of knowledge expressed about the various destinations documented within its pages. Some of the facts take me back to my own travels. Others make me put that place on my to visit list!!
However, the woman who wrote it. The lead character if you will. Well she is truly one of the most annoying people i have ever had the fortune not to meet!!
Blimey! You would think she was the only person to ever have a failed marriage and a divorce under her belt!!
The initial pages are particularly whiny!! Endless self pity!! In life i cannot bear people that percieve themselves hard done to, so i find it even harder with people i am reading about (The shopaholic series lasted about a page with me!).
I have gone through a failed marriage and a divorce and whilst i'll grant anyone a period of wallowing, nearly 3 years of it?? What a waste of life!!
So there are parts of this book that i adore and there are parts of this book that i deplore.
Its definately not hard to read and its definately not boring. I haven't seen the film yet in order to make a comparison but hopefully they will make this woman more likeable...maybe a bit of Hollywoodising is just what she needs!!
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on 18 August 2015
Like many others I had my reservations about this book - a pretty, blonde white girl is given a free pass to chuck her first world issues. She gets to travel for a year - all expenses paid - by her editor in exchange for a book about her said travel year. I quote Scrooge from A Christmas Carol (or Scrooge McDuck from Ducktales depending on your taste) "Bah, Humbug!"

But as It turns out, this book is pretty awesome!
Gilbert is disillusioned with life and disappointed in love, she travels to the three I's:
Italy - where she eats, India - where she prays and Indonesia (Bali) where she finds love.

It's as simple and yet as momentous as that. You'll either read it and chuck it across the room or read it and come away with something profound for yourself. Liz is a gifted writer, I have ear marked, highlighted and underlined the heck outta this book.

I suspect many would secretly love to do exactly what Liz did (I would), but cannot due to commitments, responsibilities and budget constraints.
That's perhaps why there are so many bad reviews, I get that, I understand. But maybe instead of reading it with your defences already up, try reading it like it's fiction. Be open minded and give it a go.
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on 21 September 2012
I read this book after having enjoyed the film. I am surprised that so many reviewers regard it as egotistical and self-indulgent because, if anything, it is the reverse. The purpose of the spiritual life is to lose oneself, which I assume to mean to submit one's societally constructed ego to a higher power and/or to the purifying process of stillness, meditation and contemplation: in so doing, we find our `real' selves.

This book is more likely to be read by women than men and, since I am male, I may have a different slant in my perception of it.

The author's spiritual journey reminds me of the Buddha in his search for enlightenment. He tried self-indulgence, then extreme asceticism and, finally, a middle path between the two extremes. So the author enjoy food , drink and luxury, then turns to a variety of religious and spiritual practices and then settles down, partly, to a `normal' life. It is possible to find wholeness through normality: a loving relationship requires several small submissions to the ego.

Her descriptions of the difficulty of getting into meditation ring true: the boredom and frustration, a few minutes seeming like several hours, the chattering mind which refuses to be silenced.

Like many, she had to leave home in order to return and see it again as if for the very first time. We wonder if the end will, be that she lives `happily ever after' but will have to read the sequel to find out.
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on 19 April 2018
The film was good but oh my word the book is amazing! Organised into the 3 sections of Italy, India and Indonesia and each into small chunks or 'beads' this book is so easy to read but packed full of inspirational incidents and ideas, truly life-changing for me. I'm going to keep this one for ever and I might even make notes in the margins!
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