Eat Pray Love

The Skeptic’s Guide to Elizabeth Gilbert

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Elizabeth Gilbert is a great writer who has been, in some ways, cursed with great success. Her 2006 book Eat, Pray, Love: One Woman’s Search for Everything Across Italy, India, and Indonesia was such a raging, zeitgeist-capturing forever-on-the-list bestseller that it, paradoxically, practically erased her decade’s worth of work as an author that could do anything: write the hell out of a short story, books in fiction or nonfiction, and a haunting magazine feature that stays with the reader. Eat, Pray, Love turned Gilbert into “Elizabeth Gilbert” the self-help brand, a woman with a viral TED Talk and the approval of Oprah. And she still has it — she’ll be one of the “life trailblazer” speakers on Oprah’s eight-city “The Life You Want Empowerment Tour” in the fall.
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Flavorwire Interview: ‘The Signature of All Things’ and ‘Eat, Pray, Love’ Author Elizabeth Gilbert Defends Female Readers

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Elizabeth Gilbert’s engrossing new novel, The Signature of All Things, is the story of a 19th-century botanist named Alma Whittaker. Janet Maslin noted in her generally positive New York Times review that Alma is the sort of “serious” woman who might “never have read the 19th-century equivalent of Ms. Gilbert’s Eat, Pray, Love. Since she has no interest in fiction, she might sniff at The Signature of All Things, too.” I’m not sure she’s quite right, since the book is a rousing account of female intellectual development, which in many ways is also the subject of Eat, Pray, Love. Gilbert was kind enough to talk to Flavorwire by phone about the book and some of those themes last week. Here’s what she said.
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