Elizabeth Gilbert has been a success in the written world not just for her creativity and natural ability to write but because of her charasmatic and overall enjoyable personality. Since "Eat, Pray, Love" is the only piece I have read from Ms. Gilbert, this will be the topic of my post as I educate you, the reader, on my fascination and somewhat obsession with Elizabeth Gilbert and this book.
The book is written in much the same way as a conversation; Elizabeth speaks, and then reader reacts. Now, I know this happens in all forms of writing because when we read anything from a newspaper ad to an American Gothic literary work we are engaging in dialogue with the author. But somehow, someway, Elizabeh Gilbert has her own unique style when it comes to engaging in this coversation of language use and ideas. And I think a lot of her success in allowing the reader to engage comes from the trust that is established within the first 20 or so pages of the novel. From the very beginning, Ms. Gilbert is honest with her reader, which is hard for any human being to do, especially to complete strangers. She quite literally opens her emotional self to manipulation and vulnerability as she weeps on her bathroom floor. This brutal honesty allows the reader to feel sincere empathy and an overall emotional connection with Ms. Gilbert. And after finishing the book, like many readers, I often wondered about what Ms. Gilbert's life was like after her journey...did everything work out in the end? I was able to find a Frequently Asked Questions section on her website, where her answers are as honest as always. Again she is establishing a relationship with her reader and keeps this relationship moving forward. I have yet to read another novel where the author has such a personal and honest effect on me and connection with me as Ms. Gilbert does. Once the reader moves past the first few chapters, the trust is established and the story is able to successfully move forward.
Ms. Gilbert also shows strength, freedom and fearlessness at the end of her journey, which she was missing at the beginning of this novel. At the end of this novel, I felt as though I had just ran a marathon with Elizabeth, which sounds incredibly cheesy and almost ridiculous but I don't know how else to describe it. The reader has the opportunity and honour to share in the journey of one human being's search and eventual success at finding the meaning of life...who wouldn't want that for themselves? I know I do, yet I'm almost positive I wouldn't want the entire literary world watching me. Ms. Gilbert is fearless, or at least this is what I understand her to be because she is not afraid to publicly admit her failings and, more importantly, her successes.
Elizabeth Gilbert's fun-loving, independent and "try-anything-once" personality is definitely a key ingredient to the success of this novel. The New York Times published an article on just this idea, where Jennifer Egan admits, "If a more likable writer than Gilbert is currently in print, I haven't found him or her. And I don't mean this as consolation prize, along the lines of: but she's really, really nice. I mean that Gilbert's prose is fueled by a mix of intelligence, wit and colloquial exuberance that is close to irresistible, and makes the reader only too glad to join the posse of friends and devotees who have the pleasure of listening in." I could not have said it better myself.Borders Book Club also did a feature with Elizabeth Gilbert, where she stressed that although this book is about self-discovery, it doesn't mean that to discover yourself you need to follow the exact journey that she did. It's more about finding yourself than traveling to exotic locations, which I also think a lot of people may misinterpret when reading this book. Ms. Gilbert sets the record straight at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m9B9zFo4RFw
All in all, this book & this author are success stories in the literary world.