Elizabeth Gilbert, best known for her 2006 book, Eat, Pray, Love, which shared her story of traveling around the world trying to find healing after a difficult divorce, is at it again. This time, she’s captivating readers with her latest work, The Signature of All Things. Gilbert’s No. 1 New York Times bestseller sold over 10 million copies and it was made in a movie starring Julia Roberts in 2010 … her new novel is sure not to disappoint the masses, as well, .
Writers everywhere are told to write about things that they know. Gilbert’s varied past has given her much to write about over the years. After she began writing short stories while studying political science at New York University, she traveled around the country and then the world. Gilbert has worked in a variety of professions including bartending, serving at restaurants, working in ranches and writing as a journalist. These are all segues into her newest work.
The Signature of All Things goes in a completely different direction. Gilbert’s official website simply describes the book as “a sprawling tale of 19th century botanical exploration.” Already, many are praising the author’s efforts.
O Magazine calls it, “The novel of a lifetime,” and the New York Time Book Review says, “Gilbert has established herself as a straight-up storyteller who dares us into adventures of worldly discovery, and this novel stands as a winning next act. The Signature of All Things is a bracing homage to the many natures of genius and the inevitable progress of ideas, in a world that reveals its bet truths to uncommonly patient minds.”
While a story of fiction and not based on Gilbert’s life, The Signature of All Things will sound familiar to fans as it is a story about love, adventure and discovery. The novel focuses on Henry Whittaker, the richest man in Philadelphia and his family.
Whittaker went from poverty to riches in the South American quinine trade.
Years later, his daughter Alma, the recipient of her father’s great wealth, decides to become a botanist which in takes her on a journey regarding evolution. To mix things up, she falls in love with painter of flowers, Ambrose Pike, who does not share her appreciation for evolution but instead focuses on the spiritual. She is all science, he is all faith. Quite the odd couple.
As in her previous stories, The Signature of All Things takes the characters all over the world discovering a wide variety of people including missionaries, abolitionists, adventurers, astronomers, sea captains, geniuses and those losing their mind.
The book promises to be a fast-paced trip exploring science, religion, the class of people and more. The publisher, Penguin, claims that “Gilbert’s wise, deep and spellbinding tale is certain to capture the hearts and minds of readers.”
While many praise Gilbert’s works, not everyone is on board with her thinking. One magazine, (I can’t print the title here) claimed that Eat, Pray, Love should have been re-titled, Wealthy Whiney White.
Gilbert has been quoted for saying, “Religion is for those who don’t want to go to hell, and spirituality is for those who have already been there.” While that thought can be debatable, it also gives insight on Gilbert’s views on organized religion.
The Signature of All Things could be more of the same from the author who tends to do what many others do in life; pick and choose which aspects of world religions she appreciates and throw away those she doesn’t. In fact, many people praise Gilbert for being so “wise” in doing so. Bible-believing Christians don’t have the luxury of picking and choosing which verses they agree with and throwing out the ones that they don’t.
Will you read the book? Have you read the book? What did think? Tell us your thoughts.