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Posted: Friday, October 6, 2006 10:00 pm

Title: "Eat, Pray, Love."

Author: Elizabeth Gilbert

Publisher: Viking Press, 2006, $24.95

Synopsis: Approaching the age of thirty, Elizabeth Gilbert finds herself in a life she despises. Although she is a successful magazine writer, has lots of loving family and friends, just bought a beautiful house in the suburbs, and about to start a family of her own, Liz finds herself in a panic. The next three years she goes through a bitter divorce, a depression, a doomed love affair, and finally another profound depression that motivates her to embark on a year of travel and self-discovery.

This book is the author's chronicle of that year. Her plan is to travel to Italy, to enjoy food and the pleasure of learning the most beautiful language in the world, to India, to visit a Hindu Ashram to get in touch with God, and to Indonesia (the island of Bali), to find balance through study with an elderly medicine man. Her aim to find "balance" between worldly delights and devotion to God takes her on a great adventure.

Author's strengths: Gilbert's exposes intimate feelings and events in easy to read form, as she "talks" to herself in print. She is masterful at characterizations through description and conversations. The author includes historical facts and contemporary thought, (although biased), to bring events and places into context. This chronicle is sensitive, engaging and humorous.

Memorable Line (I chose two; one is a single word):

#1 "I love you, I will never leave you, I will always take care of you." This the author writes to herself early in the book after a long and troublesome night of fear and loneliness, before her decision to embark on her journey. She makes this promise to herself and revisits the statement at the end of the book.

#2 "Attraversiamo" (Italian for "let's cross over"). Liz loved the sound of this word so much she bugged her friends by saying it every chance she could get so they were frequently crossing the busy streets of Rome. It also symbolizes her changes within.

Comments: For those who might enjoy this inspiring modern travel adventure, you may also want to read "Travels of a Female Nomad" by Rita Golden Gelman. It chronicles another adventure, but of a woman more than a decade older than Gilbert, who also immerses herself in foreign cultures.

Karen Jahnke-Barila is a librarian's associate at the Lodi Public Library. Each week, a member of the library staff reviews a recent book release for Lodi Living. Reviews are archived at http://www.lodi.gov/library.

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