Eat Pray Love Characters: 8 People You Should Know

This article is an excerpt from the Shortform book guide to "Eat Pray Love" by Elizabeth Gilbert. Shortform has the world's best summaries and analyses of books you should be reading.

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Who are the Eat Pray Love characters? Who does Elizabeth Gilbert meet in each country, and how do they influence her?

In her travels, Elizabeth Gilbert meets numerous people. Some become close friends and others change her life and move on. Each of the Eat Pray Love characters plays an important role in her journey of growth.

Read more about the Eat Pray Love characters and what they do in the book.

Eat Pray Love Characters

Throughout the book, Elizabeth Gilbert travels all over the world and meets numerous people. Many of them became her friends, family and more. Read about these amazing characters.

Eat Pray Love Characters From Italy

These Eat Pray Love characters are some of the people Elizabeth Gilbert met and became close to during her time in Italy. These friends helped her redefine pleasure in life and learn to appreciate herself.

Luca Spaghetti

Another friend she met in this way was Luca Spaghetti. Luca and Gilbert became quick friends. He spoke English and enjoyed food as much as she did. He was a tax accountant, which she thought was a strange job for him considering his easy-going manner. Likewise, Luca didn’t understand her desire to study spirituality in India. He said it didn’t match her appetite for pleasure and Italian food. Luca was also instrumental in teaching Gilbert new phrases. He took her to a soccer match and translated the curse words and expressions the fans shouted. Learning Italian slang helped Gilbert feel more ingrained in the culture. It also helped her converse more intelligibly with others. This skill helped her find more pleasure with the language. Still, the pleasure she got from food was hard to beat.


Gilbert made other friends through different means, as well. She grew close with her language partner, Giovanni. Their conversations centered mostly on politics and philosophy, and they knew little about each other’s personal lives. But they enjoyed each other’s company. 


Gilbert also made a close friend from her language course, a Swedish woman named Sofie. Sofie had also left her life behind for 4 months for the simple purpose of studying Italian in Rome. 

Maria and Giulio

Two of those people were a married couple named Maria and Giulio. Maria was American, and Giulio was from Southern Italy. The couple had Gilbert over for dinner several times, and the husband met with her separately to work on his English.  

Characters in India

Since much of her time was spent on prayer and meditation, Elizabeth met fewer people at the ashram in India that she became close to. One of the Eat Pray Love characters she did connect with was Richard, who was instrumental in helping her connect to her spirituality.

Richard From Texas

But help was on the way. It took the form of a man named Richard from Texas. Richard and Gilbert became friends quickly. He even nicknamed her “Groceries” for her insatiable appetite. Richard became a spiritual guide for Gilbert. He helped her see that she was allowing her thoughts to rule her. Her ego was afraid of her transformation and was trying to stop her from achieving it. Gilbert took this lesson to heart and was able to stop giving her thoughts emotional power. She was finally able to meditate, and she grew closer to God. 

Even though Gilbert found success meditating, she still felt stuck in her sorrow regarding her divorce and David. Richard helped her with David. He told her to give her heart time to heal in this spiritual place without disruption. David was likely her soul mate, but that only meant he was supposed to come into her life to help her grow. If not for David, Gilbert wouldn’t have searched for a transformative experience, and she wouldn’t be at the Ashram. She should thank David for his important role and move on. God would step in and fill the space with love. 

Characters From Bali

These Eat Pray Love characters from Bali became Elizabeth’s family. She also met her future husband here.


Gilbert landed in Bali with no plan or knowledge of how to find the medicine man she met two years before. But Bali was a major tourist destination, so getting around as a Westerner was easy. She found a hotel in a town called Ubud, which she believed was close to where the medicine man lived. The front desk attendant knew Ketut Liyer, the medicine man, and agreed to take her there. Gilbert thought it would take weeks to locate this man. She should have known God would provide. 

Ketut didn’t remember Gilbert right away, and she despaired that she’d misjudged the importance of their last meeting. But when she reminded him that she was the writer from New York, he perked up. He didn’t recognize her at first because she looked so different. Before, she was old and sad. Now, she was young and beautiful. He invited her to visit him every day. He would teach her Balinese meditation, and she would teach him English. 

Gilbert and Ketut grew close over the next few weeks. He taught her the meditation practice of sitting and smiling, allowing the smile to reach inside and consume her full body. She did her best to teach him English, but she realized that what he wanted most was her company. Ketut spent every day healing or blessing nearly 100 people who came to his compound. He rarely left and enjoyed seeing the world through Gilbert’s eyes. 


One day, Gilbert was hit by a truck and cut her leg. The wound became infected, but Ketut wouldn’t heal it. He told her to find a doctor. She was surprised, but in hindsight, she saw that there was a larger plan in his refusal. The doctor Gilbert found was a female healer named Wayan, and their lives became intertwined. 

Gilbert learned that Wayan was poor and struggling to make a life for her, her daughter, and two orphan children she’d taken in. She’d divorced an abusive husband and was cast out of the compound to fend for herself. Gilbert wanted to do something to help her new friend. She organized a fundraiser among her friends and family in America and raised enough money to help Wayan build a house. 


This gesture was significant, but so was the gift Wayan gave Gilbert. Wayan could see that Gilbert was devoid of love and started praying that she would find romance again. Within days, Gilbert met a man named Felipe. Felipe was a 52-year-old Brazilian who’d come to Bali years before to get over his divorce. Gilbert felt an instant connection to him, and they became close. 

Gilbert resisted his attempts at affection at first. She’d come this far in her celibacy and spiritual journey and didn’t want to threaten her progress by opening her heart to a man again. But she could see that Felipe was a different kind of man. He was an adventurer like her and already had grown children. He wanted nothing from her other than to love her, and she eventually let him. Their relationship blossomed, and she fell in love with him, as well. 

Eat Pray Love Characters: 8 People You Should Know

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Like what you just read? Read the rest of the world's best book summary and analysis of Elizabeth Gilbert's "Eat Pray Love" at Shortform .

Here's what you'll find in our full Eat Pray Love summary :

  • Why Elizabeth Gilbert needed to divorce her husband
  • How she was able to find joy again in Italy
  • How Gilbert was able to find balance with Felipe

Carrie Cabral

Carrie has been reading and writing for as long as she can remember, and has always been open to reading anything put in front of her. She wrote her first short story at the age of six, about a lost dog who meets animal friends on his journey home. Surprisingly, it was never picked up by any major publishers, but did spark her passion for books. Carrie worked in book publishing for several years before getting an MFA in Creative Writing. She especially loves literary fiction, historical fiction, and social, cultural, and historical nonfiction that gets into the weeds of daily life.

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