Everyone has been telling me to read this book, from co-workers to my mom. Mom loved it so much she bought me a copy when I was at home because hers was loaned out (not that she wouldn't buy me a book she didn't love, but still). So I've read it. And here's my final assessment:
It's OK. But then again, going to the doctor and getting a shot is also OK. Not great, not a nightmare. I've thought about it, and the last third of the book, in Bali, is excellent. I loved that part and could read it again. But in the first third she sits around and eats pasta all day. Don't get me wrong, I love pasta as much as the next gal, but I don't write about eating Italian food all the time. And the second part, in India...let's put it this way. I spent two years studying Buddhism in America for my undergrad thesis, so I've read my fair share of Americans getting into "Eastern" religions, and I have a very low tolerance for most of what they have to say. So that personal bias came out very strong in this middle section. There were some parts that were OK, but having studied Hinduism as an undergrad and a grad student (I'm not an expert but know more than the average bear, so to speak), I definitely had a shaded reading of the middle section. It's a nice story, but seriously if you want to read a good journal read Annie Dillard's Pilgrim at Tinker Creek or George Kennan's Tent Life in Siberia.
Overall grade: B-. I'm not giving it a C because the writing is very good. I just didn't find the book all that interesting, and kept reading it just so I could finish it (I hate not finishing books...I read The Brothers Karamazov every summer and only make it 50 pages further than the last summer.)