"In the end, though, maybe we must all give up trying to pay back the people in the world who sustain our lives. In the end, maybe it's wiser to surrender before the miraculous scope of human generosity and to just keep saying thank you, forever and sincerely, for as long as we have voices."The last sentence of the acknowledgments section of the book. Which I finished while staying at Jean Carroll's on our marvelous California vacation of 2008. Perfect!As for the rest of the book, I had a lot of trepidation approaching it. I only read it because it was just sitting there at the library, waiting to be checked out. I resisted reading this uber-popular book for a long time. The wild women poo-pooed it. But some many people had/were reading it, I felt I had to check it out.In the beginning, and to some extent throughout the book, I really disliked Elizabeth. She seems totally spoiled and self-indulgent. While I need to give my self over to pleasure a bit more, her first foray to Italy just seems over the top with self-indulgence. And wallowing in her own self-pity before and during Italy about the sorry state of her life -- divorce, confused relationship with David, etc. Then there's this major sea change when she gets to India. It's hard to believe that someone so self-indulgent could get so totally immersed in the ashram life. But she seems different here. Richard from Texas provides some comic relief. And the discussion of her transcendent experiences were very interesting -- I've never really heard it described in this way. Onto Indonesia, and we're back to Elizabeth as Elizabeth. She goes there without any plan or planning and things seem to fall apart at first. The medicine man doesn't seem to remember her, etc. But then things fall in place, and start coming together for her, including a love interest with a seemingly wonderful older Brazilian man. There's a complication with raising money for her Indonesian healer friend and single mom, Wayan, to buy a home. This part is a little tricky. Wayan seems to be scamming her or milking her for more for a while. It's hard to read this without the white imperialist/charity do-gooder aspects coming through. In the end, Elizabeth gets it to work out and have everyone remain friends, but it's touch and go for a while.So I'm left with a mixed bag impression. Overall, I guess I still don't like her/approve of her. But there are definitely aspects that are intriguing and appealing. So in the end, I was glad to have read, if only for the cultural literacy, since it's been such a big book for the last year or two.