Pilgrims by Elizabeth Gilbert

PilgrimsPilgrims by Elizabeth Gilbert
Published by Penguin

Originally published in 1997, this collection of short stories was Elizabeth Gilbert’s first foray into published fiction.

I’m one of the people who actually liked Eat, Pray, Love a LOT, so when I noticed that Gilbert has written fiction as well I knew I had to give it a try. I love her somewhat sarcastic sense of humor and her complete openness and honesty in her nonfiction, but unfortunately that same voice didn’t exactly translate in this collection of short stories.

It’s not that I disliked every one of these stories – in fact, there were several that were incredibly compelling and that I wanted more from. But for the most part, this collection felt to me like a bunch of stories about a bunch of boring people doing a whole lot of nothing. They just weren’t all that interesting and not enough happened in most of these stories to make me want to keep reading the rest of them.

Also, I couldn’t hear Gilbert’s voice in these stories. I could not reconcile the Elizabeth Gilbert I knew from Eat, Pray, Love and Committed to the writer of these stories – it felt to me that they were written by someone completely different. One can argue that she wrote this book when she was in a very different place in her life than when she wrote her two nonfiction books, but I suppose since I was hoping to hear her in these stories the fact that I didn’t was a disappointment.

So even though I really do like Elizabeth Gilbert, Pilgrims just wasn’t for me. I did enjoy a few of the stories, but as a whole this collection fell short of my expectations. I would only recommend this book if you are a huge short story person and looking to explore a collection about ordinary people going about their lives.

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3 thoughts on “Pilgrims by Elizabeth Gilbert

  1. I also was one of the few who enjoyed Eat, Pray, Love, but I’m not so interested in her fiction. I might read a couple stories just for comparison. It’s interesting to me that she delved into both fiction and non-fiction. Seems difficult to make that transition.

  2. i hear your complaint here–an author i enjoy recently wrote a fiction novel after several hilarious non-fiction memoirs and i just couldn’t appreciate it as much.

    as for elizabeth gilbert, she actually lives here in nj (frenchtown, on the delaware river) and is part owner of a shop in town. i read her two memoirs and was sad that she was so unhappy in her marriage that she up and left. her writing was fine but i just thought the travel and self-discovery was a bit indulgent. did you see the EPL movie? if so, what did you think?

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