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Eat, Pray, Love

(article, Caroline Cummins)

By the time she was 31, Elizabeth Gilbert seemed to have it all: a successful career as a novelist and journalist, a husband, and a big house ready for raising kids. But she didn’t want kids, she realized. She didn’t want to be married anymore. She was tired of being successful. So she quit and, advance from book publisher in hand, took off around the world for a year in search of healing for her body, soul, and heart — in that order. 

First stop: Rome, where she devotes herself to learning the language and savoring the cuisine. Next it’s India, to stay in an ashram. Finally, she lands on Bali, where she chills out, makes friends, and falls in love with a dashing Brazilian. Yes, the entire memoir sounds like over-the-top fiction, and Gilbert herself admits as much: “an almost ludicrously fairy-tale ending to this story, like the page out of some housewife’s dream.” 

What saves Eat, Pray, Love is Gilbert herself: wry, funny, self-deprecating, poignant, and direct, she lays her life out without wallowing. “In my real life,” she writes in Italy, “I have been known to eat organic goat’s milk yoghurt sprinkled with wheat germ for breakfast. My real-life days are long gone. Back in America, my friend Susan is telling people I’m on a ‘No Carb Left Behind’ tour. Still, when I look at myself in the mirror of the best pizzeria in Naples, I see a bright-eyed, clear-skinned, happy and healthy face. I haven’t seen a face like that on me for a long time.”

p(bio). [ "Caroline Cummins"] is the managing editor of Culinate.

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