One Woman's Search for Everything Across Italy, India and Indonesia
by Elizabeth Gilbert
Bella: "Finding oneself" is arguably the most difficult subject to write well about but this is definitely not my most favourite biography/memoir ever read.
I found it extremely hard to keep reading this book. Especially when the author burst into sobs yet again in the middle of prayer, or a conversation, or walking down the street, or (more likely) on the floor of yet another bathroom, I nearly gave up.
I really tried to enjoy this book and even like the author and I imagine she hoped to come across as a flawed but honest person. Instead her writing came across to me as self indulgent and shallow at times. And I found myself cringing at some of her embarrassingly cliché one liners: "I'm putting this happiness in a bank somewhere, not merely FDIC protected but guarded by my four spiritbrothers.” OKAY??
What was most frustrating to me was the way in which she writes about this amazing journey in an almost blasé manner. It seems that during her journey nothing she touches or does turns out wrong; not a single wish goes unfulfilled and she always landed of her feet. And maybe that was the way it happened but I felt that if she perhaps put more emphasis in the miracle of these things happening I would have found it all the more sincere but instead the story just seems glossed over?
Frankie: Well after hearing the rave reviews on Oprah and friends alike, I was very excited to be reading the much applauded book. To begin, I normally enjoy witty books, with dry humour or sarcasm, but as I started reading this book, I found Gilbert's little quips and jokes quite contrived and forced. I really did try to get engaged in this book however, I found it go from one extreme to the other. Full of her wannabe hip remarks to her then bipolar, crying on the floor mental breakdown moods.
Next, I was looking forward to reading her reflections in Italy and India, however most of what she reflected on was her love for David, not having sex and her inability to meditate. Here was a battered women, wanting to escape from her unhappy marriage, getting it, and then travel around the globe to experience unforgettable moments and people and here she was scribbling in a book about how she at the end of her tether and how she doesn't want to take anti depressants and how blah, blah, blah. Hello...lets wake up and smell the pasta???
I found it slightly frustrating to read this story, as much as I can understand a marriage break up hurts, I didn't want to read about if for the whole book. Everything in the book, Gilbert managed to whinge about, complain and take for granted?? Maybe this was her way of 'finding' herself but I found it annoying.
Overall, I gave it a 3 out of 5. :)