Three stars. Read the first time in December 2010; read again from December 2014 to January 2015.
I had no desire of my own to read this, but it came up in so many conversations in the late 2000s that I decided I should, if only to see how I felt compared to everyone else. It’s funny, though—for all the hype, I actually have very little to say. I didn’t hate it, and I didn’t fall in love with it. I think her experience is incredible, but not necessarily the book itself.
People’s primary complaint seems to be that they thought she was selfish, and this is obviously a very sexist opinion. We don’t complain when men go on journeys to find themselves (or for no reason at all, or just to have sex and do drugs); “selfishness” is not even a concept that occurs to us. That is because only women are expected to put themselves last and make someone else the hero in their own lives.
There were small things that annoyed me about it, like the accents she does in the audiobook narration, but I honestly ended up feeling pretty neutral about it. My strongest feeling the first time I read it was that I envied the incredible spiritual and physical journey she went on. I’ve read it a second time now, and really, the only thing I feel is irritation with how the book was received.