Food, serenity and kisses - what's not to like? Absolutely nothing, that's what, as millions of readers of Elizabeth Gilbert's phenomenally successful 2006 memoir Eat, Pray, Love will attest. The high-concept structure of Gilbert's confessional story is surely a draw: After a painful divorce, the author ships off on a yearlong international odyssey to pick up the pieces of her shattered self, touching down in Italy to eat, India to pray, and Bali to fall in love. (The love part was not on the author's agenda until the irresistible Brazilian man she calls Felipe in the book, whom she has since married, changed her Indonesian plans.) But what's even more seductive than the exoticism of Gilbert's passport stamps is her ability to describe her moment-to-moment, meal-to-meal feelings with such warm, chatty, deprecating self-awareness that even her episodes of dithering, obsessing, or Where's the rest of me? boo-hooing sound kind of...endearing. On the page, Liz Gilbert comes across as a cool friend, a smart sister, a snappy pal who seems to promise, If I can get myself together, so can you. And you want to believe her. Or at least you want to chew what she's chewing.
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