90.9 WBUR - Boston's NPR news station
Top Stories:
Elizabeth Gilbert on "Eat, Pray, Love"

This show has been reposted and uploaded to On Point Books on ITunes, following the release of the film “Eat, Pray, Love” in 2010.

Across every woman’s life falls the shadow of a sword, wrote Virgina Woolf. On one side lie tradition and order, where “all is correct.” On the other, a life that does not follow convention. And there, wrote Woolf, “all is confusion.”

That’s where writer Elizabeth Gilbert set her compass. She was a professional woman, in her mid-30s, limping out of a failed marriage, a brutal divorce and a flamed-out love affair.

Elizabeth Gilbert hit the big road in a desperate search for redemption and herself. She went to Italy and the pleasures, to India and devotion, to Bali and rebirth. Not a bad trip, if you can swing it, and she has, in a big, big way.

Soul seeker Elizabeth Gilbert talks about her new book “Eat, Pray, Love.”


Elizabeth Gilbert, author of “Eat, Pray, Love: One Woman’s Search for Everything Across Italy, India and Indonesia.”

Please follow our community rules when engaging in comment discussion on this site.
  • http://OnPoint Teresa

    The write-up on this caught my eye and i thought, “I’ll listen to that, maybe it will help me with the state i’m in now.”

    Then I read further that her ‘rebirth’ came after traveling the world. Oh. Okay.

    Decided not to listen afterall, as I have no hope of traveling the world, or even drinking iced lattes over a Travel magazine. Another born-again story from someone with enough wealth to drop everything and go out among the planeet to re-discover self. I should be so fortunate.

    So much for rebirh.

  • Jennifer

    Hi Teresa. It’s too bad you didn’t give it a chance. Elizabeth Gilbert’s story is utterly relatable, even if you can’t or don’t want to travel the world. The underlying message is that we can each find ways to be reborn or renewed, even in our everyday lives. Many people travel the world and DO NOT find renewal; others find renewal in gardening or walking in their own neighborhoods. Just because traveling happened to be her way, it doesn’t have to be yours. Don’t sell yourself short — you can still relate to someone even if their life circumstances are different from yours.

  • http://Huffpost Teresa


    Thank you, that’s a very kind post, and I appreciate the thought.

    Seems like every year there’s another story of rebirth, re-discovery, whether it’s The Secret, Conversations with God, and on and on. I’ve found, however, that I can’t relate to people who tell me to look for rebirth in my daily life of work, then work AFTER work, and the life-long struggle of just keeping head above water, when in fact they have options to living that I don’t and probably never will have. Good for her! I’m glad she found meaning in her life & do not begrudge her the renaissance she’s found. It’s simply hard to find such renewal when your life consists of all work out of necessity, and no golden years or light at the end of ANY tunnel.

    Best to you, Jennifer! :)

  • b.g.

    Sorry, Jennifer, I can’t really relate to yet another yuppie who has the money to fly around the world and “find herself,” and who appropriates the cultures of other people. Oh, and who is obsessed with getting married.

  • Steve

    …and further yet another misandrist obsessed by food and pop religion.

  • http://ncpr.org stillin

    I think the 5 posts says it all. I liked it when I read it but I agree with Teresa, it is another if you have the access to funding, sure! Go travel, go open your heart, and do all thing things you have always wanted to do! It’s a little Dorothyish for me. I also agree with b.g. on the marriage thing. You don’t need a partner is something that is nice to know as you get older, that myth can go down anytime.

  • anne

    I didn’t hear the interview but I couldn’t even make it through the book, despite all the wonderful recommendations from my friends. Not to belittle anyone’s growth/process but I wanted to slap her and tell her to get over herself. We should all have such problems. Half the population gets divorced, feels self doubt, blows to self esteem etc. If only we all had the proceeds from the sale of our country homes to fund our travels to self discovery. Are you kidding me?

  • chris

    I agree with some of the above skeptical comments, but would like to add to them a rather dull, but relevant, economic perspective. There was a time when American’s powerhouse economy produced most of the world’s manufactured goods. This productivity made possible an extravagant lifestyle that could include, among other luxuries, world traveling for average Americans. But this was always an economic aberration. For the vast majority of the world’s people, the kind of adventure enjoyed by Ms. Gilbert has always been an economic impossibility. (I’m sure some of the poor people being ravaged by floods in Pakistan right now would love to get away from their troubles with some world travels.) Today, as America’s economic might declines, we must learn to live within economic limitations more like those experienced by the rest of the world. The luxurious lifestyle enjoyed by Ms. Gilbert is already very nearly a thing of the past. Indeed, you could make the economic arguement that Ms. Gilbert’s travels were paid for in part by this county’s exploding and unsustainable debt.

    My point is that Ms. Gilbert’s tale is already inappropriate for the time we live in. I urge readers who are looking for a story of enlightenment or personal growth to look to an author who is more in alignment with economic reality.

  • g

    The book is FICTION! Yes, its based on “real” events, but again, its FICTION!

    And when you read fiction, you imagine, you dream, you travel with the book’s character, you get away from your daily routine and imagine yourself in Italy, France, Brazil, etc. What would you do, IF you could travel. If you did have the means, what would you do?

    Its supposed to inspire and create. Not make you feel like you have little to enjoy in your life.
    And if that’s how you feel, don’t blame the book or the writer. Blame yourself. And maybe its good that you picked up the book and felt that way, because maybe it will force you to take a reflective look at yourself, your life, and your means. Which you may find, are not that unfortunate. :) Again, I thank god, every day, that we are not women, living in Congo, or Rwanda, or Afghanistan.

    No, I cannot travel like the writer. Yes, I wish I could. But I am not going to be grumpy and grouchy because I am reading the book about someone who can do the things that I dream about.

    And I also like the first caller who called in on the show. She spoke about going out there and volunteering. And finding many women whom she can relate to and bond with and change her life and find meaning in it.
    And if you’re one of those people who begrudgingly say “Why should I work for free?!” Well, the only thing I can say to that is that, you haven’t grown up yet. And I pray for you to grow up faster.

    If you have the time and energy, and believe me, it takes just 1 hour/day/week to do something for someone else, you will feel better about yourself and your life. You just have to find an organization which cause you feel passionate about.

    I volunteered for 5 different organizations before I could compare and say, this one I like more and wish to volunteer more with, than this one.

    I just have no pity for people who grump and complain about their lives. (And yes, the writer of this book did that, but she also got up, and did something about it, and went out, and changed her life. And if you rather not read about it, don’t. You don’t HAVE TO! But for you to criticize the book and the writer because you are less fortunate than her, is just plain miserable.) We live in a country of endless opportunity. You don’t like your life and your circumstances, change it. Do something about it. Stop whining and complaining and looking at economy, wall street, the “big fat cats”, the privileged. There are so many people in other countries who have so much less than we.
    So, for those on here, who are saying “i cannot do that”, change that into “i can do this, and I am grateful and blessed and happy”.

    Thank you.

  • CeciliaW

    As much as I love to travel and find joy and rejuvenation from my experiences, I have no great ove for this story. A MUCH better book in my humble opinion is Tales of a Female Nomad. Anyone can do a year, Rita Golden Gelman’s going on her 27th. We should all Eat, Pray & Love so long.

  • Angela

    Everyone just STOP! Are you kidding me? I can’t believe the comments on here. The book was fabulous and if you put your selfish, envious, jealous self aside you’d love it too! The book was entertaining and whaaaa for you if you chose a path in which does not inspire you. Nobody should have reservations about getting a book published because it doesn’t align with the current American economy. That’s just stupid! Stop being negative and stop believing the whole word owes you. I loved it Liz!

  • Marci

    “Eat, Pray, Love” reads like a case study of the ugly American. Elizabeth Gilbert moves through Italy, India, and Bali immune to their cultural complexities. Inevitably, her shy, young, Italian language-partner wants to sleep with her. Outside the Indian ashram, “all (is) dust and poverty.” In Bali, she seeks to avoid situations that “get all Balinese.” When she runs into an issue with a Balinese native whom she considers a friend, she devotes a short paragraph to exposing her feelings of discomfort with the “colonial, White Man’s Burden stuff.” Of course, since onsidering such “stuff” would disrupt her white-washed paradise.

    The rest of the world is supposed to provide epicureanism, spirituality, and romance, which then will magically combine to grant self-insight. The complicated cultural histories of the countries Gilbert visits and her relationship with them as a privileged American are brushed off. Addressing the complex realities of our global reality would have interrupted Gilbert’s confident strut across the globe towards her spiritual awakening.

Jul 24, 2014
Youths seen playing basketball through bars on a window at the Wisconsin Department of Corrections Ethan Allen School in Wales, Wis. (AP file)

The cold hard facts about juvenile prisons. And the case for shutting them all down. Plus: former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton is with us.

Jul 24, 2014
Orchid (Galileo55/Flickr)

We’ll look at the new science of what plants feel, smell, see – and remember.

Jul 23, 2014
Actor Wallace Shawn attends special screening of "Turks and Caicos" hosted by Vogue and The Cinema Society at the Crosby Street Hotel on Monday, April 7, 2014 in New York.  (AP)

From “The Princess Bride” to “My Dinner with Andre “and “A Master Builder,” actor and writer Wallace Shawn joins us.

Jul 23, 2014
In this Saturday, July 12, 2014, photo, migrants walk along train tracks and boxcars after getting off a train during their journey toward the US-Mexico border, in Ixtepec, southern Mexico. (AP)

Crisis at the US border. What do Latinos on this side of the border have to say? We’ll ask our special roundtable.

On Point Blog
On Point Blog
Hillary Clinton: ‘The [Russian] Reset Worked’
Thursday, Jul 24, 2014

Former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton took time out of her global book tour to talk to us about Russia, the press and the global crises shaking the administration she left two years ago.

More »
Where Did Nickel Creek Go?
Thursday, Jul 24, 2014

The Nickel Creek interview originally scheduled for Thursday, July 24 is rescheduled for an as-of-yet undetermined later date. We explain why.

More »
Our Week In The Web: July 11, 2014
Friday, Jul 11, 2014

As we prepare for a week of rebroadcasts, we reflect on Facebook posts, misplaced comments and the magic of @ mentions. Internet, ASSEMBLE!

More »