Review: Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert

Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert

Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear
Elizabeth Gilbert
Riverhead Books
September 22, 2015

Amazon | Bookshop | Goodreads

About Big Magic

Readers of all ages and walks of life have drawn inspiration and empowerment from Elizabeth Gilbert’s books for years. Gilbert offers insights into the mysterious nature of inspiration. She asks us to embrace our curiosity and let go of needless suffering. She shows us how to tackle what we most love, and how to face down what we most fear. And she discusses the attitudes, approaches, and habits we need in order to live our most creative lives.

Balancing between soulful spirituality and cheerful pragmatism, Gilbert encourages us to uncover the “strange jewels” that are hidden within each of us. Whether we are looking to write a book, make art, find new ways to address challenges in our work, embark on a dream long deferred, or simply infuse our everyday lives with more mindfulness and passion, BIG MAGIC cracks open a world of wonder and joy.

Big Magic on Goodreads

My Review

I saw this book on a list of great nonfiction for women. Years ago, I read EAT, PRAY, LOVE by Elizabeth Gilbert, and I love her TedTalk about creative genius, but this is the first book of hers that I’ve read since those things.

I feel like the best, shortest description of this book is that it’s basically her TedTalk on creative genius, but deeper, wider, and filled with even more wild and amazing stories. Every time I thought, well, “I can’t possibly love this book any more than I currently do,” she would open a new topic that resonated with me or begin talking about an author I deeply admire. (She talks about Harper Lee, Robin Wall Kimmerer, and Brené Brown in the book, just to name a few.)

This is the kind of book that I need to read again and again and let its lessons kind of soak in my brain. I want to be able to highlight sections or use some of the quotes from the book as journal prompts.

The book explores a lot of the heartaches and roadblocks of pursuing a creative life. As a writer, a LOT of what she said resonated with me in terms of my own processes and experiences. I feel like there are some great tools here that can help me move forward with my writing with more confidence and purpose. I’m really excited about that.

BIG MAGIC is a great book for creative people of all types, not just writers and not just people who are trying to pay the bills with their art. Pretty much, my advice is watch the TedTalk. If it speaks to you, and you’re interested in going deeper about those topics and your creativity, definitely check out BIG MAGIC.

Big Magic on Bookshop

Content Notes

Brief mentions of suicide or alcoholism.

Recommended for Ages 14 up.

Elizabeth Gilbert is a white woman. She tells the stories of a lot of other writers and artists, but I’m not sure how diverse that crowd is. At least a few are BIPOC.

Profanity/Crude Language Content
Extreme profanity used somewhat infrequently.

Romance/Sexual Content
References to moving overseas with her boyfriend.

Spiritual Content
So the basic premise is about approaching creativity or inspiration as if it arrives from an external source. Gilbert isn’t specific about what that source is, so readers have lots of room to fill in the blanks with their own spirituality. She talks about her beliefs about a soul versus her ego and how experiences affect each.

Violent Content
Gilbert mentions briefly that a number of artists have died by suicide or addiction to alcohol.

Drug Content
Mentions of alcoholism.

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About Kasey

Reads things. Writes things. Fluent in sarcasm. Willful optimist. Cat companion, chocolate connoisseur, coffee drinker. There are some who call me Mom.

2 Responses to Review: Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert

  1. This has long been stuck in my TBR stack. I really do need to get to it. Thanks for the nudge.