Committed: A Skeptic Makes Peace with Marriage

by Elizabeth Gilbert

Hardcover, 2010




Viking Adult (2010), Edition: 1st, 285 pages


Biography & Autobiography. Family & Relationships. Nonfiction. HTML: The #1 New York Times bestselling follow-up to Eat Pray Loveâ??an intimate and erudite celebration of love from the author of Big Magic and City of Girls. At the end of her bestselling memoir Eat, Pray, Love, Elizabeth Gilbert fell in love with Felipe, a Brazilian-born man of Australian citizenship who'd been living in Indonesia when they met. Resettling in America, the couple swore eternal fidelity to each other, but also swore to never, ever, under any circumstances get legally married. (Both were survivors of previous bad divorces. Enough said.) But providence intervened one day in the form of the United States government, which-after unexpectedly detaining Felipe at an American border crossing-gave the couple a choice: they could either get married, or Felipe would never be allowed to enter the country again. Having been effectively sentenced to wed, Gilbert tackled her fears of marriage by delving into this topic completely, trying with all her might to discover through historical research, interviews, and much personal reflection what this stubbornly enduring old institution actually is. Told with Gilbert's trademark wit, intelligence and compassion, Committed attempts to "turn on all the lights" when it comes to matrimony, frankly examining questions of compatibility, infatuation, fidelity, family tradition, social expectations, divorce risks and humbling responsibilities. Gilbert's memoir is ultimately a clear-eyed celebration of love with all the complexity and consequence that real love, in the real world, actually entai… (more)


(505 ratings; 3.5)

Media reviews

And yet, if the sum of the parts in “Committed” add up to an awkward whole, many of those parts are nevertheless terrific.
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Ms. Gilbert has made "Eat, Pray, Love" look like a happy accident. Her "Committed" is less of a follow-up than an excuse to tread water.

User reviews

LibraryThing member 2chances
When I read Eat, Pray, Love a couple of years ago, I remember thinking to myself: "Elizabeth Gilbert is hilarious and sweet and very, very interesting, but I sure would not want to be married to her." Because, you know, she sounds kind of needy. And kind of over-dramatizing, and maybe just slightly
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nuts. As it turns out, Ms. Gilbert herself feels pretty much the same way. Not only did she not want to be married to someone like her, she did not want to be married at all - and most certainly did not want to inflict her slightly-nuts self on someone else.

But then her handsome Brazilian lover Felipe, souvenir of her trip to Bali, is escorted out of the country by Homeland Security for taking too-frequent advantage of the 90-day-visa so that he could be with Liz. And the only way for them to live together (in the US) is for Liz and Felipe to marry. So while they are waiting for their case to wander thru the federal court system, Liz takes the opportunity to read everything she can about marriage in the hopes of befriending the alien concept before she plunges headlong into its scary, bottomless depths.

Okay, my confession: I was not scared of marriage when I got married, and I am still extremely fond of the institution. So sometimes I found Gilbert's fears sort of extreme and wanted to tell her to try the decaf for a while. But one of the reasons that I do actually love Gilbert's writing is that she pinpoints certain ideas that kind of fascinate me, too. Like infidelity: As she points out, people always say, "I didn't plan for this. IT JUST HAPPENED," like it was a lightning strike on a sunny day. But it isn't, folks! Gilbert has done the research, and as it turns out, you DID plan it. Sort of. With your foolish ways of making too-close friends and telling them too damned much about your life with your spouse. I find that stuff interesting. Another part I liked QUITE a lot was her debunking of the "sacred matrimony" concept about which I have heard WAY too much from social conservatives. (Again, nope. Marriage is what it has always been: a way of managing purely secular concerns of wealth management, taxes, personal safety and child-rearing. Sacredness is just an occasional add-on by certain cultural groups.)(Don't get me wrong: I belong to one of those groups. It's pretty darn sacred to me, but that doesn't mean it has to be for everyone.)

So, moments of slight hysteria here and there; a bit of tedium when the research gets kind of dry; but many fascinating bits and lucky for the reader, Elizabeth Gilbert writing the whole thing with her clever, funny ways. I liked it quite a lot.
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LibraryThing member CarolO
This is a book to be shared which is an indication of how much I enjoyed reading this book. This is a book that made me laugh out loud which is an indication of how much I enjoyed reading this book. I recommend this book to anyone who just wants to know what happens after Eat, Pray, Love. I
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recommend this book to anyone who is thinking of getting married. I recommend this book to anyone who just doesn’t get the concept of marriage…ummm, did I miss anyone?
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LibraryThing member acornell
I found Committed to be part memoir (a continuation of her love story with Felipe), part marriage manifesto, part feminist pronouncement and part self-help marriage manual. I loved every part of it. Gilbert's writing is clear and funny and convincing. It was what drew so many people to Eat, Pray,
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This really is a book for women, and it is a book about marriage through the ages and what marriage can mean for women. One part that took my breath away was her recounting of her Grandmother Maud's story. Equally as impressive was her own mother's story, and I got a little teary eyed at the end when she finally reunions with her lover after some weeks a part. As someone who endeavors to write myself, I feel like Gilbert makes the act of writing seem so easy and so profound.

Make no mistake, this is a very different story than the book that brought her so much attention, but the writing and the ideas and even the story are as captivating and worth your time as ever. I give this many stars.
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LibraryThing member gypsyreadr
Committed, Elizabeth Gilbert's sequel to Eat, Pray, Love, is both personal memoir of the years afterwards as well as an anthropological and sociological treatise on marriage. After living with Phillip for two years in Bali and traveling around the world together, professional and personal ties,
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take Elizabeth back home to the United States and a desire for a more settled lifestyle. The Department of Homeland Security intervenes after Phillip visits too many times, however, and he can only return if Elizabeth and Phillip marry. The process for an international marriage, however, has become quite complex and as they spend well over a year waiting trying to get the documentation together to wed, Elizabeth attempts to come to terms with her own tormented feelings about the institution, she looks into the history of marriage, research about what makes marriages successful, and personal stories from friends and family members, as well as those from women of the many different cultures she and Phillip visit, including Vietnamese, Hmong, Brazilian, Balinese, Italian, and so many more. She discovers that ideas about marriage have changed significantly from Judaic-Christian times and across cultures. By the time the Department of Homeland Security approves their marriage and Elizabeth and Phillip are approved to return to the United States, she has developed a sense of peace about the institution. I was left feeling that Phillip was a saint to still want to marry her, however. ;)

This was definitely a book I'd encourage academics who are embarking on the institution of marriage to read and women who are in doubt about whether or not they want to answer affirmatively to a proposal. It helped me to come to terms with some of my own feelings about marriage and to try to work harder to make my own marriage successful. I am also grateful that I am not married to Elizabeth.
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LibraryThing member deadgirl
This book is very different from her previous Eat, Pray, Love, though also a memoir. This book is all about marriage; Elizabeth Gilbert explores various cultures and traditions and school of thoughts on tying the knot. This might make the book sound like a boring research, but it's really quite
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Elizabeth Gilbert tells us about her relationship with Felipe, sharing their story with us, and she tries to convince herself that marriage is the right step to take. I think this book is interesting for those of us who are married or thinking about getting married. Loads of information to help you decide if commitment is for you!
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LibraryThing member Alie
This is a fantastic exploration of the institution of marriage. Although it does talk about Elizabeth's journey with Felipe, it is less personal than Eat, Pray, Love, but nonetheless very interesting. As some one who is also skeptical about marriage, I found the book very intriguing as marriage is
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explored through various cultural lenses. Liz offers her own personal opinions as well as researched facts. I believe this is a must read!
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LibraryThing member Katie_H
My gawd. I wish I were the type of person to stop reading a book, because I could have saved myself a couple of hours on this one. I read “Eat, Pray, Love,” and I wasn't a fan of the author's extreme self-centeredness, so I should have steered clear of the second installment... big mistake on
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my part. “Committed” continues where EPL left off with the "Love" segment. Liz meets Felipe. She falls madly in love with him, but neither one has any interest in marriage due to painful divorces. That is, until immigration issues require them to marry if they intend to live together in America. The author spends the year of turmoil researching the idea of marriage in one of the most self-indulgent, whiny pieces of crap research that I've ever read. The author is needy, condescending, and childish, and her constant refrain is "what do *I* get out of the deal?" Well, last I checked, marriage is a partnership. One that involves giving AND receiving right? She begins many of her rants by stating that she doesn't wish to "insult" so-and-so (her grandmother, for example), but then she goes on to criticize the tough choices that were made based on unconditional love for another (in the grandmother example, she cut up her only beautiful dress to make an outfit for her child… oh the horror! Puhleeze.). Someone really needs to let Elizabeth know that it is impossible to "have it all." In making ANY choice, we essentially give up something else. Such is the case with major career decisions, marriage, whether or not to have children, what to eat for dinner, and on and on. That’s just life. Ugh. I can't handle another second of this woman's annoying, self-imposed drama. No more Elizabeth Gilbert books for me. I feel sorry for Felipe - it looks like he's stuck with her! The only redeeming aspect of this book are the humorous and often heartwarming travel anecdotes, so for those, I’m awarding “Committed” a generous 2 stars.
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LibraryThing member ABShepherd
I found Elizabeth Gilbert's Committed primarily to be annoyingly rambling narcissistic insecurity similar in vein to Woody Allen, only not at all funny. While I understand being afraid to jump back into the fire once you've been burned, writing an entire book about it seems a bit over the top. She
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convincingly writes of a million reasons why she shouldn't get married, and only one reason why she should - immigration laws. For a world traveler she also seemed extremely naive about the fact that Felipe shouldn't be living in the USA on a tourist visa (especially since he was apparently doing business in the USA). Of course that was going to come back and bite them.

I didn't realize that was the theme of the book. I expected it to be as marketed - a story about different types of marriage in many different cultures.

The book isn't a total loss. When Ms. Gilbert wrote about her personal experiences with members of other cultures and her own family's experiences I found those bits interesting. When she goes on and on about the writings of other authors I found it boring like reading a text book for a class in which you have no interest.
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LibraryThing member AgneJakubauskaite
I picked up "Committed" because I LOVED "Eat, Pray, Love" and expected this book to be a continuation of the famous bestseller. Well, it is a continuation in a sense that the author picks up where the first book ended. However, "Committed" is more like an entertaining research rather than a memoir
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or a novel.

This book was nothing what I expected, but I am glad I got my hands on it. Before reading this book, I was not particularly interested in the subject (marriage, that is). However, Gilbert's witty writing style can make any subject seem entertaining. Not surprisingly, I became interested in matrimony, or at least its theoretical side.

Do not expect, however, a comprehensive and objective research on matrimony. Due to her unique need to "make peace" with marriage, Gilbert explores the subject from a very unique angle. Yes, "Committed" is full of subjectivity and feminism; however, you do not need to share the author's point of view to enjoy this book. No matter where you stand, this book will likely make you think about marriage in the ways you never thought before (or at least I didn't).

Overall, "Committed" is a well-written, though-provoking book. However, it is not as light and entertaining as "Eat, Pray, Love" and because of that appeals to a smaller audience.
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LibraryThing member Emma_Manolis
I really loved Eat, Pray, Love. Not exclusively because of the content, but because of the voice resonating throughout the pages. I loved the way Ms. Gilbert told her tale. I felt as if I could relate to her. I was very excited to pick up Committed. I initially thought it was a sequel to Eat, Pray,
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Love and when I discovered it was not I quickly got over my disappointment.

I feel like I am in the perfect stage in life to read this book as I too am moving forward in life and am getting married myself in August. I thought she shared some fascinating information and I enjoyed reading about the evolution of marriage through the ages. Sometimes I too wonder what the point is. Whether or not that paper is necessary. It was nice to find a commonality in that.

I probably won't read it again, but I think it has made me a better, more informed individual.
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LibraryThing member AmyElizabeth
If you liked Eat, Pray, Love you will like Committed, but be forewarned: this is not the same kind of book. So I guess what I should have said is: If you like Elizabeth Gilbert, you will like this book. I reviewed Eat, Pray, Love all the way over here on this other blog and never transferred it
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over to this one. My bad. I'll do that eventually. In the meantime, let us continue through Elizabeth's newest adventure, shall we?

First I just want to say that this book is lovely, not only through the language but through the actual physicality of it. Normally I'm not a fan of hardcovers, but I had a gift card and this was the only book I really, really wanted when it came out, so I splurged. I'm so glad I did. Everything from the front and back covers, the engraving on the front, the text, and the decorations throughout are beautiful. Sigh. Just the way every book should be.

Now, on to the contents. This is a very different book from Eat, Pray, Love but it's told in the same witty, humorous tone that defines Elizabeth's writing. I felt like I was catching up with an old friend. While this is technically another memoir, detailing the circumstances in which she and Felipe are forced to live halfway around the world while trying to gain him entrance into the US, it's really more about her dive into the history of Western civilization's concept of marriage and how that has shaped her aversion towards it. You see, Felipe can't return to the US unless he and Liz get married, but neither one of them wants to get married because they were both so scarred by their previous divorces. While trying to get Felipe a fiance visa so they can return home, Elizabeth has to grapple with her own adamant feelings of aversion to marriage. And how does an educated, 21 Century woman do this? Through research, of course. So not only do we get to enjoy her writing, we get a bit of a history lesson as well (if only she had been my history professor back in college).

I actually really enjoyed the lesson on marriage. There were a lot of interesting tidbits about the institution I never would have heard about, which made me realize I had jumped into the most socially acceptable thing to do without knowing why. Some of the statistics that are thrown out are a bit daunting (women who married at my age are much less likely to stay married than those who wait another 10 years) but I ended up agreeing with the conclusion Elizabeth found at the end of her search. (I won't spoil it here; you'll have to find out for yourself!)

5 out of 5 stars. Another great book from one of my all-time favorite authors. This book is well-researched, told in a way that makes you want to keep reading (even when you already know the ending for her personal story), and is really just a great quick read. Plus, you'll learn something along the way. Guaranteed.
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LibraryThing member ashwey
This was an interesting memoir with a little bit of history about marriage. Being a big believer in marriage myself, I enjoyed it, but didn't love it.
LibraryThing member kris_onken
Elizabeth Gilbert is incapable of writing a bad sentence. Crystal clear and full of truth.
LibraryThing member Kellyannbrown
I loved Eat, Pray, love, but I have to tell you, "committed" was just a bit to whiny for me. Sure, we all have to overcome baggage from our first or second marriages, but we get over it. We go to therapy, we heal ourselves, we meet potential mates, we fall in love, we commit. Life goes on. I felt
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this book was a just a little too... self-involved for me.
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LibraryThing member monzrocks
An informal history of matrimony in the West, plus a sort of personal memoir follow-up to Eat, Pray, Love. Enjoyable, with interesting research about how marriage has changed. My only complaint is the author's tone is a touch too conversational.
LibraryThing member igjoe
I loved EPL. I found Committed to be an interesting study of marriage and traditions. However, it was nowhere near as well written as EPL. Monotonous at times, repetitive the entire time, and just plain whiny throughout. I love the way Liz Gilbert writes, but this book is a 2 star at best. Sorry, I
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really wanted to love this one too.
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LibraryThing member jeniwren
This was recently selected for my bookgroup and aside from that I would not have considered reading a book about marriage. Gilbert is the author of the hugely successful 'Eat Pray Love' which I have not read and this continues with the relationship she built on with her beau Filipe. Having endured
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a painful divorce Gilbert is not keen to rush into marriage but when there are problems due to immigration laws there is a necessity to take the plunge once again. So it is here that Gilbert explores the constitution of wedlock and its relevance within different societies and cultures.

She writes in an engaging style but you get the feeling she remains a sceptic and siezes upon the negatives where possible.
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LibraryThing member jepeters333
Having fallen in love with Felipe, a Brazilian-born man living in Indonesia, Gilbert nevertheless disapproved of marriage. However, when the duo attempts to settle in America and Felipe faces possible deportation, Gilbert is forced to swallow her pride and venture forth into a life of matrimony.
LibraryThing member thehistorychic
What I Loved: As a History Buff--I absolutely love that this is more of a history lesson on marriage (and all that encompasses. Ms. Gilbert did an amazing amount research on this topic all across the globe. She was non-judgmental and really kind of just presented the facts.

What I Liked: I listened
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to this on Audio book (just as I did Eat, Pray, Love) and I think it made me like the book more. Elizabeth reads her own book, so she is very good at conveying what she is feeling during the reading. This adds a whole layer to the book that I think might be missing in the print version.

Why I gave it a 4: This audio book was wonderful. I would recommend it to anyone who is curious about commitment and the history of it through out the world. I also love that at different points she was good at making sure that the reader also knows that there is a good amount of happiness in being single too. If you love history and personal stories then you will enjoy this (as long as the topic appeals to you).
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LibraryThing member sabs83
She brings up a million reasons against marriage but in the end the one that she said worked for her seemed somewhat flimsy.
LibraryThing member mahallett
i thought maybe she had dashed this off to make money but it was an interesting exploration of marriage, commitment. she read very well too.
LibraryThing member tjsjohanna
Ms. Gilbert explores some of the different aspects of marriage and the history of marriage as she comes to terms with the idea of re-marrying. What I enjoyed most about this book was all that it gave me to think about. I'm happily married and committed to the idea of a long-lasting marriage. But I
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have found many of the same dilemmas that Ms. Gilbert outlines in my own relationship: autonomy vs. compromise, infatuation vs. commitment, expectations vs. reality. I hope for Ms. Gilbert a long and happy partnership with 'Felipe'!
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LibraryThing member CarolineTrevor
I am so disappointed with this book. I adored, 'Eat, Love, Pray'. As I am unable to discard a book, I did finish it however I did not savour it, like her previous book. Some of her research on 'marriage' particularly in other cultures was interesting. In short, it felt like a hurriedly put together
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follow up which left me feeling pretty cold.
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LibraryThing member LShanna
Just like Eat, Pray Love: Loved parts of it and wanted to wring the author's neck in others.
LibraryThing member fullerteacher
Elizabeth Gilbert, acclaimed memoirist reveals the second leg on her journey in her life with Felipe--the hard-won, balanced love she found post-divorce. The premise of the novel is that she and Felipe both recovered from very painful divorces, and so despite the fact that they love each other and
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are a united couple, decide not to remarry. Felipe and Liz live together for 90 days at a time, whereupon his visa expires, Felipe leaves the country for a time, then reenters when the appropriate time has lapsed. This works fine for a few years, but with the attach of 9-11 homeland security is more conscientious and decided this schedule cannot continue and they refuse Felipe re-entry into the United States. Liz (and Felipe) are forced to reevaluate their beliefs, desires, and fears surrounding marriage. This books investigates various aspects of marriage: other cultures meaning/history of marriage, marriage and children, childless women, even her mother and grandmother's own marriages.
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0670021652 / 9780670021659
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