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 had been living in Indonesia when they met. Resettling in America, the couple swore eternal fidelity to each other, but they also swore to never, ever, under any circumstances, get married. But providence intervened one day in the form of the U.S. government, which?after 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 decided to tackle her fears of matrimony by becoming a student of the institution. Over the next ten months, as she and Felipe wandered haphazardly across Southeast Asia, waiting for the U.S. government to permit them to return to America and get married, the only thing she talked about, read about, or thought about was this perplexing subject. Committed tells the story of one woman's efforts?through contemplation, historical study, and extensive conversation with every soul she encountered along the way?to make peace with marriage before she entered its estate once more. From the Compact Disc edition.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
I think this is the reason I love her. I can relate to her. Although I am married and haven’t personally gone thorough a divorce, I was definitely jaded by my parents divorce and decided early on it is much better to be happily divorced than unhappily married. Yes, I am married, but I made sure that nowhere in our vows did it say anything about “till death do us part” because I just don’t believe it. My husband is fully aware of my “issues” (both with marriage and otherwise). I have to admit part of me hoped that Committed would bring me some reassurance, and it kind of did. Gilbert seemed to jump into her research with a clear plan to “figure it all out.” One of my favorite lines is after she is talking to her mother about things given up for marriage as opposed to things gained.
“Therefore, the tidy ultimate conclusion is…???
It was slowly becoming clear to me that perhaps there was never going to be any tidy ultimate conclusion here. My mother herself had probably given up long ago trying to draw tidy ultimate conclusions about her existence, having abandoned (as so many of us must do, after a certain age) the luxuriously innocent fantasy that one is entitled to have mixed feelings about one’s own life.”
In Committed, Gilbert bounces back and forth between her stories—including conversations with people she met while waiting for Felipe to be allowed back in the United States and her extensive research on the subject of marriage. I found it fascinating to learn about the various histories and different rituals in other cultures. Gilbert has an incredible talent for recreating her conversations and adventures and I enjoyed every minute of it.
What I Liked: I listened 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).