(picture taken from Goodreads)
First Impression: What has really struck me so far is Gilbert's honesty. I really thought she might have romanticized her story a bit (basing my opinion solely on TV commercials for the movie version and the recommendations from friends of mine who are serious romantics), but she doesn't. I love her open, honest, casual writing style and how she sprinkles bits of history and language in her story. She talks about her divorce (though not in detail, which I appreciated) and her struggles with depression and loneliness. The pure experiential way she approaches the memoir helps me to see and feel her story. Personally, I love the Italian language and the very idea of Italy, so I may be somewhat biased at the beginning here. A Room with a View, Only You, Dante...these are all reasons I have been mesmerized before, and Gilbert is basically giving me justification for this loving stupor right now.
Conclusion: This was a fun read about a writer who basically turned her entire life around when she turned 30. I was a little surprised by some of the other reviews I read on this book. I think some people were expecting it to be a great spiritual or life guide for them, and it's not. In truth, it was easy for me to read this just as a memoir, because Gilbert is nothing like me. I couldn't even try to place myself in her position. But learning little things about the places she traveled and the history of those surroundings was a bonus for me. And I was a big fan of this audio version since it's narrated by Gilbert herself. This lends a more personal connection to the story, and the natural inflections in Gilbert's written and spoken language are easily found.
Recommendation: If you enjoy casual memoirs about people taking chances and changing their lives around, this is a good pick for you. If the occasional bawdy reference or discussions of divorce or religious practice make you uncomfortable, this probably isn't a great read for you.