It's an absolute impossibility that you haven't heard of the massively popular book, Eat, Pray, Love, by Elizabeth Gilbert. It's been on Oprah, airport book shelves, and (most unfortunately) my "to-read pile."
I do have a valid excuse as to why I was lured by Ms. Gilbert: I was extremely travel-hungry at the time. I had picked it up while roaming up and down the cement aisles of Costco and it seemed like a nice reprieve from the impending wedding(s), house buying, and finals. I couldn't have been more wrong.
Gilbert is probably the most self-obsessed and ungrateful woman I have had the displeasure of reading about.
She was able to convince her publisher to give her a hefty advance to travel for over a year to Italy, India, and Bali. Not ONCE does she mention the impoverished state of her surroundings and individuals in India. The only time she looks up from her plate in Italy is to lament the fact that she has gained 20 pounds after a steady diet of pasta and self-soothing-self-centered-ness. In Bali, she finds a "Guru" and finds a way to only discuss how he can help her achieve enlightenment and to "please make his wife smile at her more."
The cultures, the countries, the beauty, and the issues these countries face are never really discussed. I felt I was in this aseptic pod, traveling with Gilbert, to all these different locations, and was being forced to NOT look out the window. (Do "aseptic pods" even have windows? Apparently, in my mind, they do.) All these travels ended up being was an excuse to talk more and more about herself. She could have traveled to Lavan, Utah and the book would have been just as entertaining.
Yes, memoirs are about the author's life and experiences, but I don't think Gilbert has any room to talk about loss, pain, suffering, and resurrection. She is an upper, middle-class yuppie, who lived in New York City, left her husband and got to travel the world. Cry about it! Have you read Angela's Ashes, Ms. Gilbert?