The Signature of All Things by Elizabeth Gilbert

Alma Whittaker, born with the century, slid into our world on the fifth of January, 1800. Swiftly—nearly immediately—opinions began to form around her.

A friend of mine lent me this book, and it has consequently made its way around a small group of my friends. It was like the Sisterhood of the Travelling Book: every one of us had a beautiful experience with the novel and it all spoke to us in different ways.

This is our collective love letter to this other worldly novel by Elizabeth Gilbert.

The Signature of All Things by Elizabeth Gilbert was truly a joy to read for many reasons. I loved the relatable, yet flawed, characters, the witty, laugh-out-loud humor so subtle you might miss it, and the vivid scenes that truly put you in the shoes of Alma, the main character. The book affected me so strongly that I immediately read two of her other books, Eat, Pray, Love, and Big Magic. Gilbert has a diverse and welcoming writing style, and I cannot wait to immerse myself in more of her creative stories! Sophie of

Readers join the intelligent and resolute protagonist Alma Whittaker on her fantastic journey to discover the world of botany while unintentionally discovering herself in the process. Author Elizabeth Gilbert’s thorough research on 19th century life and the study of botany emanates from each page, providing readers with a historical context for all of Alma’s life stages and botanical encounters. The world Gilbert builds is vibrantly colored by her cast of memorable characters, each one lending unique influences to Alma’s life. Readers are with Alma every step of the way and can feel her quiet sorrow during struggles, her excitement at new discoveries, and her outsider status as a woman who wants to be taken seriously in the field of science. This is a journey that will leave readers feeling fulfilled and wanting more of Gilbert’s masterful prose. -Brooke, the catalyst for this post

[The novel] is about a woman who lived in the 1800s, whose passion was to study plants, but it is really about so much more. The book is about family and loving your parents and siblings despite their imperfections, crookedness, or distance. The book is about female sexuality and frustration, but the plot delves beyond the love storyline to explore stubbornness, longing, and forgiveness. Most of all, the book is about the power of intellect in this impressive woman who accomplished so much in the 1800s, so we should take note and be inspired. -Danielle of future blog “Stories and Journeys”

To me this novel represents the alluring combination of resilience and vulnerability that seem to be inherent in much of the female sex. Alma Whittaker moves through life with a voracious, unending thirst for knowledge which sometimes blinds her to the emotions of the people around her. The other characters posses a variety of strong personality traits that differ from Alma; and because of those people she learns a lot about life and how her own actions reflect on the world around her. And just putting it out there: the word “Signature” has the word nature in it. -Carina, author of this blog


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