Thursday, July 1, 2010


I didn't start off wanting to be a writer. I actually started off in sociology. Then theatre. But it was while I was doing an off-campus study in college that I realized how much fun writing is. Especially about the arts. I didn't want to be directly involved (I realized just how hard being an actress is and how it's so not for me) I could write about it. And I loved that even more.

Lately I've been reading a ton. Partly because I love getting lost in stories and partly because I work at a job where I have time to read. But I have been just devouring books.

Not that long ago, I read Elizabeth Gilbert's memoirs Eat, Pray, Love and Committed. Eat, Pray, Love was read while I was going through a very painful breakup and it struck such a
cord with me that I felt Gilbert was somehow, through her own journey, helping me along mine. On almost every page I found advice or just a simple thought to mull over. I came out of this memoir feeling a little more settled and one step closer to moving on. After that I couldn't not read about her next journey and hope that she would further help me along in mine.

While on my own journey I discovered my new passion for writing book reviews. It hit me one day- I can combine the two things I love most: reading and writing. Since then I've been reviewing almost everything I've read. Here is my review of Eat, Pray, Love and Committed:

When writer Elizabeth Gilbert's world began to unravel she did what she does best to put it back in working order- she travelled and she wrote about it. Both Eat, Pray, Love and, most recently, Committed, chronicle Gilbert's search to discover what truly makes her happy and how to come to terms with and survive what she is most averse to in her life.

I know I'm a tad behind on the phenomenon that was Eat, Pray, Love when it first came out, I still believe it holds relevance and is just as worth discussing now, especially in light of her second memoir being recently published.

One thing to keep in mind when entering into these books
is that they do tend to run on the side of self-indulgent. Gilbert comments in her intro, “I did not anticipate that those readers would enjoy a rather emotional first-person chronicle about a divorced woman’s quest for psycho-spiritual healing. I hope they would be generous enough, though to understand, that I had needed to write that book for my own personal reasons, and maybe everyone would let it slide…” (Committed). I don't necessarily see this as a negative aspect, but more of just a fact worth noting. Going into it, it's obvious Gilbert wrote these books to work out personal dilemmas in her own life, and therefore uses the pages of her memoirs to delve into personal thoughts and ideas. She even admits at times in the novel
that she wrote these books for the purpose of working things out and I believe that if you begin these novels with that notion in mind it shouldn't be something to get too hung up on.

This is especially true because Gilbert is so accessible. It's simple for a reader to begin to relate to what Gilbert goes through and to sympathize and/or empathize. Gilbert's witty writing style and entertaining anecdotes are also effective at pulling the reader into her world. While spending time in Laos, she and her fiancĂ©, Felipe, visit their tour guide’s home and meet his family. They learn about the tradition of marriage in Laos while having a wonderful time making new friends. The reader can begin to feel as if they are travelling around the globe with Gilbert and can vicariously experience all she went through (both the good and the bad).

Not only does Gilbert provide plenty of entertainment but education as well. It's clear she did her homework, investigating the history and facts of everything from various types of Indian meditations to the tradition of marriage throughout the ages as she quotes from various books she’s read and research she’s done. The reader comes away from these memoirs having learned new about relatively common practices and it can be appreciated that Gilbert made herself an expert on these subjects before imparting wisdom about them to others.

Overall, I thoroughly enjoyed spending time with Gilbert in both Eat, Pray, Love and Committed. Both memoirs were a pleasure to read and I enjoyed being allowed to tag along with Gilbert as she took her literal and emotional trips around the globe.


  1. Perfect start to a wonderful, informative blog! Check out the memoir "Making Rounds with Oscar" by David Dosa, MD; read it within 24 hours. Perfect for our family and includes an amazing cat!

  2. Thanks, I will add it to the list! Anything animal related works for me.

  3. Hmmm... I think I found a new favorite author. Allegra Gallian. I like your style. I read E,P,L on the recommendation of your mom. I was one of those people who found it quite self-indulgent. But I still read the whole thing -- probably because I was learning so much about the places Gilbert visited. My own writing can be very self-indulgent, so maybe that's why I saw that so easily in Gilbert's. At any rate, I noticed that Julia Roberts is bringing E,P,L to the big screen soon. I think I'll pass. Unless it gets a good review from you -- then I will reconsider! ;) I'm just now starting "The Glass Castle", a memoir by Jeannette Walls. It was recommended to me by Genie (another one of my favorite writers!). I'm bookmarking you now. Blog on!

  4. This comment has been removed by the author.

  5. Hi Cat! Thanks so much for all the kind words. I totally get the self indulgent aspect of E,P,L but I also read it while going through a breakup and so it was really helpful to hear all Gilbert's insights. Julia Roberts is indeed making a movie of E,P,L and I will be seeing it so I'll let you know what I think!

    I read The Glass Castle a couple of years ago and I loved it. It's a really interesting story. Definitely let me know what you think!