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“Page Flipping” is Madame Noire‘s weekly column on books. Stay tuned for more topics, comment or write us at if you have suggestions!

In Elizabeth Gilbert’s memoir Eat Pray Love, six years into a marriage and after months of “trying” to get pregnant, Gilbert discovers that she does not want to be a wife or a mother.  Rather inconvenient timing for such a revelation, especially from her husband’s perspective.

Wracked with severe depression and guilt after the divorce, Gilbert decides to spend a year traveling to Italy, India and Indonesia in order find herself and her place in the world.

For foodies, the first third of Eat Pray Love is pure heaven. Gilbert offers up decadent descriptions of Italian delicacies.  The middle chapters—and really sprinkled throughout the entire book—the reader finds a lot of talk about God and energy and karma. If talk of spirituality makes you roll your eyes, this is not the book for you, Madame.  The last part of the book in Indonesia is charming, warm and just a tad Hot.

Gilbert has a nice flow to her words and her often self-deprecating humor is endearing.  It’s a little strange, but reassuring to read the usually private thoughts of a 30-something year old woman. She is a bit annoying at times, but aren’t we all? You will find a bit yourself in these pages.

Some have criticized Gilbert as being extraordinarily selfish for divorcing her husband, leaving behind her seemingly perfect suburban life and spending a year to travel the globe alone.  But is selfishness always a bad thing?

In American culture, we celebrate marriage as the union of two people. We celebrate the birth of children as the parents learn to put their kids first and push aside their own needs and wants.  Why is there no traditional celebration or acknowledgment of getting to know yourself? (And no, going to a bar on your 21st birthday does not count.) A strong sense of self seems to be a rather essential component to entering into a healthy marriage or balancing self-preservation and nurturing in parenthood.

Perhaps Gilbert is on to something. Perhaps Carrie was on the right track too in that Sex and the City episode where she “marries” herself and has a one-item registry—a pair of delightfully gorgeous Manolo Blahniks.

By the way, are you going to see the Julia Roberts movie based on Eat Pray Love? Do you usually try to read the book before you watch the movie?

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