Books Insights Memoir Non-Fiction

Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert | Book Review


  • You feel like you’re the only person who haven’t read it and you’re curious
  • You want to read about a woman who travelled across Italy, India and Indonesia to eat, pray and love 😅
  • You want to read about a person who you may fall in love with or totally hate (or both, like me)

Already convinced? Click to buy on Amazon.

During the course of reading the book, I think I experienced equal parts of annoyance and admiration. There were a lot of comments about her being self-absorbed (and a ton other hateful adjectives) but in her defense, she didn’t travel the world to become a philanthropist (although did everyone forget about the fundraising she did?)

I think there’s nothing wrong with dedicating an entire year just for yourself if you’ve been through something that you feel is extremely painful. And whether people understand it or not (I know I didn’t), it’s none of their business.

I honestly didn’t care if she finds “the balance” she’s searching for. I just couldn’t relate. And I don’t want to say anything beyond this because I don’t want to criticize this person so much anymore. Just look at the 1 or 2-star ratings in Goodreads and you’ll know what I mean.

Some parts were dragging and I didn’t appreciate the history lessons that much. Leaving those aside, her storytelling about her travels captivated me the most. The people she met along the way were quite interesting too. And the way she deliciously described the food especially in Italy? You wish you were right there feasting with her. Those were the parts I really enjoyed.

a serving of fried zucchini blossoms with a soft dab of cheese in the middle (prepared so delicately that the blossoms probably didn’t even notice they weren’t on the vine anymore).


Then I waited until I felt him arrive. And he did arrive.

Super labooo. Labo talaga nung part na yun na bigla na lang “dumating” dun sa balcony (?) yung ex-husband nya para i-forgive sya. You just want to make yourself feel better. Kaya pinaka ayokong part yung sa India eh. Too woo-woo for me.

Sobrang awwwww dito:

How a Balinese single mother facing eviction found it in her heart to take in two extra homeless children is something that reaches far beyond any understanding I’ve ever had about the meaning of compassion.

Perooo. Ang shady ni Balinese single mother! Kaasar. Greedy moves.

RATING [3 🌟]

After reading the entire thing, I had difficulties rating this book. After almost an hour of doing this review, I’m comfortable with giving it 3 stars. Some parts I enjoyed but I just didn’t agree with her about A LOT of things. Well maybe that’s expected. Because it’s the reality we face when we learn about people. Sabi nga dun sa isang book na nabasa ko, “No one is likeable from the inside out.” And I think that’s really not the intention behind this book—people liking or admiring her. It’s obviously more than that.

Also, personal note, one of my favorite chapters is under Book 3: Indonesia, Chapter 79. Just in case I want to read it again. It’s so calming.

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On learning Italian just because:

What was I going to do with Italian? It’s not like I was going to move there. It would be more practical to learn how to play the accordion. But why must everything always have a practical application? I’d been such a diligent soldier for years—working, producing, never missing a deadline, taking care of my loved ones, my gums and my credit record, voting, etc. Is this lifetime supposed to be only about duty?

A sad-faced Russian woman tells us she’s treating herself to Italian lessons because “I think I deserve something beautiful.”

But I felt a glimmer of happiness when I started studying Italian, and when you sense a faint potentiality for happiness after such dark times you must grab onto the ankles of that happiness and not let go until it drags you face-first out of the dirt—this is not selfishness, but obligation. You were given life; it is your duty (and also your entitlement as a human being) to find something beautiful within life, no matter how slight. 

One of my favorite scenes (if not the most) is this:

I walked home to my apartment and soft-boiled a pair of fresh brown eggs for my lunch. I peeled the eggs and arranged them on a plate beside the seven stalks of the asparagus (which were so slim and snappy they didn’t need to be cooked at all). I put some olives on the plate, too, and the four knobs of goat cheese I’d picked up yesterday from the formaggeria down the street, and two slices of pink, oily salmon. For dessert—a lovely peach, which the woman at the market had given to me for free and which was still warm from the Roman sunlight. For the longest time I couldn’t even touch this food because it was such a masterpiece of lunch, a true expression of the art of making something out of nothing. Finally, when I had fully absorbed the prettiness of my meal, I went and sat in a patch of sunbeam on my clean wooden floor and ate every bite of it, with my fingers, while reading my daily newspaper article in Italian. Happiness inhabited my every molecule. Until—as often happened during those first months of travel, whenever I would feel such happiness—my guilt alarm went off. I heard my ex-husband’s voice speaking disdainfully in my ear: So this is what you gave up everything for? This is why you gutted our entire life together? For a few stalks of asparagus and an Italian newspaper? I replied aloud to him. “First of all,” I said, “I’m very sorry, but this isn’t your business anymore. And secondly, to answer your question…yes.”

Ughh the way she describes food, nakakalaway kahit sobrang simple lang.

When I get lonely these days, I think: So be lonely, Liz. Learn your way around loneliness. Make a map of it. Sit with it, for once in your life. Welcome to the human experience. But never again use another person’s body or emotions as a scratching post for your own unfulfilled yearnings.

…one must always be prepared for riotous and endless waves of transformation.

It’s a reminder—when you’re making a big deal out of explaining something, when you’re searching for the right words—to keep your language as simple and direct as Roman food. Don’t make a big production out of it. Just lay it on the table.

On having kids:

I can only say how I feel now—grateful to be on my own. I also know that I won’t go forth and have children just in case I might regret missing it later in life; I don’t think this is a strong enough motivation to bring more babies onto the earth. Though I suppose people do reproduce sometimes for that reason—for insurance against later regret.

I think people have children for all manner of reasons—sometimes out of a pure desire to nurture and witness life, sometimes out of an absence of choice, sometimes in order to hold on to a partner or create an heir, sometimes without thinking about it in any particular way. Not all the reasons to have children are the same, and not all of them are necessarily unselfish. Not all the reasons not to have children are the same, either, though. Nor are all those reasons necessarily selfish.

selfishness. Every time he said it, I agreed completely, accepted the guilt, bought everything in the store. My God, I hadn’t even had the babies yet, and I was already neglecting them, already choosing myself over them. I was already a bad mother.

It’s the emotional recoil that kills you, the shock of stepping off the track of a conventional lifestyle and losing all the embracing comforts that keep so many people on that track forever.

I think I highlighted everything in this chapter.

To create a family with a spouse is one of the most fundamental ways a person can find continuity and meaning in American (or any) society. I rediscover this truth every time I go to a big reunion of my mother’s family in Minnesota and I see how everyone is held so reassuringly in their positions over the years. First you are a child, then you are a teenager, then you are a young married person, then you are a parent, then you are retired, then you are a grandparent—at every stage you know who you are, you know what your duty is and you know where to sit at the reunion. You sit with the other children, or teenagers, or young parents, or retirees. Until at last you are sitting with the ninety-year-olds in the shade, watching over your progeny with satisfaction. Who are you? No problem—you’re the person who created all this. The satisfaction of this knowledge is immediate, and moreover, it’s universally recognized. How many people have I heard claim their children as the greatest accomplishment and comfort of their lives? It’s the thing they can always lean on during a metaphysical crisis, or a moment of doubt about their relevancy—If I have done nothing else in this life, then at least I have raised my children well.

Where do you sit at the reunion? How do you mark time’s passage without the fear that you’ve just frittered away your time on earth without being relevant? You’ll need to find another purpose, another measure by which to judge whether or not you have been a successful human being. I love children, but what if I don’t have any? What kind of person does that make me?

…it is better to live your own destiny imperfectly than to live an imitation of somebody else’s life with perfection.

She’s got this ability to shut me up when I start fretting over metaphysical questions, such as, “What is the nature of the universe?” (Linda’s reply: “My only question is: Why ask?”)

“No town can live peacefully, whatever its laws,” Plato wrote, “when its citizens…do nothing but feast and drink and tire themselves out in the cares of love.” But is it such a bad thing to live like this for just a little while? Just for a few months of one’s life, is it so awful to travel through time with no greater ambition than to find the next lovely meal? Or to learn how to speak a language for no higher purpose than that it pleases your ear to hear it? Or to nap in a garden, in a patch of sunlight, in the middle of the day, right next to your favorite fountain? And then to do it again the next day?

Because the world is so corrupted, misspoken, unstable, exaggerated and unfair, one should trust only what one can experience with one’s own senses, and this makes the senses stronger in Italy than anywhere in Europe. This is why, Barzini says, Italians will tolerate hideously incompetent generals, presidents, tyrants, professors, bureaucrats, journalists and captains of industry, but will never tolerate incompetent “opera singers, conductors, ballerinas, courtesans, actors, film directors, cooks, tailors…” In a world of disorder and disaster and fraud, sometimes only beauty can be trusted. Only artistic excellence is incorruptible. Pleasure cannot be bargained down. And sometimes the meal is the only currency that is real.

Yoga and living in the present:

Yoga is the effort to experience one’s divinity personally and then to hold on to that experience forever. Yoga is about self-mastery and the dedicated effort to haul your attention away from your endless brooding over the past and your nonstop worrying about the future so that you can seek, instead, a place of eternal presence from which you may regard yourself and your surroundings with poise.

The other problem with all this swinging through the vines of thought is that you are never where you are. You are always digging in the past or poking at the future, but rarely do you rest in this moment. It’s something like the habit of my dear friend Susan, who—whenever she sees a beautiful place—exclaims in near panic, “It’s so beautiful here! I want to come back here someday!” and it takes all of my persuasive powers to try to convince her that she is already here.

Time—when pursued like a bandit—will behave like one; always remaining one county or one room ahead of you, changing its name and hair color to elude you, slipping out the back door of the motel just as you’re banging through the lobby with your newest search warrant, leaving only a burning cigarette in the ashtray to taunt you. At some point you have to stop because it won’t. You have to admit that you can’t catch it. That you’re not supposed to catch it.

The hub of calmness—that’s your heart. That’s where God lives within you. So stop looking for answers in the world. Just keep coming back to that center and you’ll always find peace.

…remembering something my Guru once said—that you should never give yourself a chance to fall apart because, when you do, it becomes a tendency and it happens over and over again. You must practice staying strong, instead.

“See, now that’s your problem. You’re wishin’ too much, baby. You gotta stop wearing your wishbone where your backbone oughtta be.”

I’m not interested in the insurance industry. I’m tired of being a skeptic, I’m irritated by spiritual prudence and I feel bored and parched by empirical debate. I don’t want to hear it anymore. I couldn’t care less about evidence and proof and assurances. I just want God. I want God inside me. I want God to play in my bloodstream the way sunlight amuses itself on water.

Well I think that’s because you want the easy way out and in the process, mas lalo ka lang nahihirapan. Eto ang mahirap pag nire-repel ang discomfort.

admitting to the existence of negative thoughts, understanding where they came from and why they arrived, and then—with great forgiveness and fortitude—dismissing them.


“Guilt’s just your ego’s way of tricking you into thinking that you’re making moral progress. Don’t fall for it, my dear.”

On talking too much (relate me):

I decide that I’ve been talking too much. To be honest, I’ve been talking too much my whole life…

Learning how to discipline your speech is a way of preventing your energies from spilling out of you through the rupture of your mouth, exhausting you and filling the world with words, words, words instead of serenity, peace and bliss.

Yes, I like talking, but perhaps I don’t have to curse so much, and perhaps I don’t always have to go for the cheap laugh, and maybe I don’t need to talk about myself quite so constantly. Or here’s a radical concept—maybe I can stop interrupting others when they are speaking. Because no matter how creatively I try to look at my habit of interrupting, I can’t find another way to see it than this: “I believe that what I am saying is more important than what you are saying.” And I can’t find another way to see that than: “I believe that I am more important than you.” And that must end.

A person born on Thursday is always talking first, interrupting everyone else, can be a little aggressive, tends to be handsome (“a playboy or playgirl,” in Ketut’s words) but has a decent overall character, with an excellent memory and a desire to help other people.

I looked it up and I was born on a Thursday. Lol.

Or, as Sextus, the ancient Pythagorian philosopher, said, “The wise man is always similar to himself.”

On happiness and contentment:

I keep remembering one of my Guru’s teachings about happiness. She says that people universally tend to think that happiness is a stroke of luck, something that will maybe descend upon you like fine weather if you’re fortunate enough. But that’s not how happiness works. Happiness is the consequence of personal effort. You fight for it, strive for it, insist upon it…

The search for contentment is, therefore, not merely a self-preserving and self-benefiting act, but also a generous gift to the world.

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