The best-selling author of Eat, Pray, Love could have decided based on the book’s success to play it safe and write more autobiographical books about her life and spiritual journey. After reading The Signature Of All Things, it is apparent to me that Elizabeth Gilbert did not play it safe. In fact this 600+ page novel is quite an ambitious undertaking. Having read both Eat, Pray, Love and Committed and loving both books, I was a bit dubious about The Signature Of All Things. If I am honest, it just did not sound like a book I wanted to read. What I had gleaned was that the book was a period novel based on the science of Botany with the main character being a female Botanist. Oh dear! Yet, the conundrum was that I really did yearn to read more by Elizabeth Gilbert. Still, I kept putting it off until after hearing more and more of the book’s success and it being printed in different countries and in many languages I finally succumbed to reading the book. I am truly very glad that I did!
I am also glad that I knew so little about the book when I began reading it for this book really surprised me. It is so much more than just a period novel about a Botanist. This book causes the imagination to bloom in panoramic proportions so that what you envision is breathtakingly beautiful. Besides that, it is exceptionally well-researched. Those with an adventurous spirit will find themselves soaring. Contemplatives will find their minds being further challenged while lovers of science will find satisfaction.
Partly into the book, I thought I knew what the book was about; then surprise after surprise enters into the story. It isn’t as if the story changes direction. It was more like a flower bud opening layer upon layer of petals so that each time something new was revealed it added to making the story more captivating. I found myself often wondering, “Now where is this story going?”
My conclusion is that The Signature Of All Things is Elizabeth Gilbert’s current masterpiece. How she will top this, I don’t know but I will never again hesitate to read more by her!