By Maria SpeidelJONATHAN DURBINVICK BOUGHTON and FRANCINE PROSE
Updated March 20, 2006 12:00 PM
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by Elizabeth Gilbert

REVIEWED BY JONATHAN DURBIN

MEMOIR

In her early 30s, journalist Gilbert was battered by an acrimonious divorce and found herself on a search for spirituality that led her across the world. Eat, Pray, Love, her sprawling memoir, re-creates her pilgrimages to Italy, India and Indonesia, spending four months in each. (Gilbert calls it an “auspicious sign” that all three begin with an “I.”) In Italy she learns the joys of eating; in India, at an Ashram, she learns the art of meditation; and in Indonesia, befriending a local healer, she practices balancing the life of the mind with the desires of the body. Gilbert’s writing is sharp, humorous and self-deprecating, but though her insights are rewarding, her description of how shattered she was after her marriage breakup and her total lack of self-esteem are tiresome and slightly pathetic. Readers will recognize that Gilbert needed help; they’ll just be unclear as to why she’s writing about it.

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