CCLaP Rare: Eat Pray Love (2006), by Elizabeth Gilbert (1st Edition, 1st Printing)

Eat Pray Love
By Elizabeth Gilbert (2006)
First Edition, First Printing

DESCRIPTION: So why should a serious book collector pay any attention to a volume that’s less than ten years old, by an author who has otherwise not proven that she has any lasting power within the literary industry? Because Elizabeth Gilbert’s Eat Pray Love may in fact turn out to be the absolute perfect book to chronicle for future historians exactly what it was like to be a middle-class white suburban American female in the years following 9/11, a period that is bound to become a point of obsession for those in the future studying the US’s rise and fall as a global superpower.

A reluctant suburbanite who had just gone through a bitter divorce, the mid-thirties Gilbert found herself in the early 2000s mentally adrift, a confessed “self-help junkie” who was trying every gimmicky piece of advice that landed her way, being force-fed a diet of anti-depressive medication against her wishes but too afraid of the alternative to stop them. Within such a moment of mid-life crisis, then, she made the radical decision to sell all her things, get rid of her New York apartment, and spend a year doing nothing but traveling to what she called the “three I’s” — Italy (to indulge a random desire to learn the language), India (to delve more seriously into her recent conversion to Hinduism), and Indonesia (specifically to Bali, to spend four months as the personal assistant to a “village elder” she previously met during her job as a globe-trotting magazine journalist).

The results of this year-long trek are charming and infectious, and it’s no surprise that the book remained on the NYT bestseller list for a whopping 187 weeks straight, later made into a high-profile movie produced by Brad Pitt and starring Julia Roberts. And that’s because Gilbert cuts through the usual “chick-lit” filler here, having the courage to take a cruelly hard look at her mistakes and her weaknesses, and showing how spending a year letting go of every expectation she had had about life was ironically the best thing she could’ve ever done for that life.

It’s a call for simplicity, spirituality and anti-materialism that resonated profoundly with tens of millions of women in the same position as her, which says a lot about the point of runaway consumerism and moral bankruptcy the US had reached by the beginning of the 21st century; and it doesn’t hurt that the book is also laugh-out-loud funny at points, moving sometimes to the point of tears, and just so happens to hit all the usual beats of a typical romantic comedy but this time in real life. A perfect gift for a fan of the book who wants to have a closer relationship with the original text, this first printing in flawless condition is being offered at a price specifically for young beginning collectors, those looking to add important titles to their library now when no one else is thinking of them, to ripen and age like a fine wine into the valuable commodities they’ll one day be.

CONDITION: Text and dust jacket: Like New. No noticeable difference between this copy and a brand-new one being sold at a bookstore. As confirmed by the McBride Guide to First Editions, the inclusion on the copyright page of the text “First published in 2006,” plus the inclusion of the number “1” in its printing history, marks this as a true first edition, first printing.

PROVENANCE: Acquired by CCLaP at Delphine Street Books, New Orleans, May 2017.

Buy now at eBay
Buy now at eBay

(If coming across this in the future, see CCLaP’s main page at eBay for the relisted auction URL)

Jason Pettus is the owner of CCLaP, and a former novelist, slam poet and travel writer. During the day he is a front-end software developer within the Chicago tech startup community. Goodreads | LibraryThing | Twitter | Instagram | Letterboxd