At the end of her best-selling 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 entails.
©2010 Elizabeth Gilbert; (P)2010 Penguin
I doubt the subject & the research which went into this book will be everyones cup of tea, but it is filled with thoughts & experiences that many can relate to. I initially doubted it would be of much interest to me but I enjoyed her last book, so I took a chance! I give it high marks for a couple of reasons: 1st because I enjoy Elizabeth's style of writing. She sounds authentic & devotes an earnest thoughtfulness to the subject matter within her books. The 2nd reason I enjoyed it is: I've had similar life-experiences & very similar thoughts about those experiences so it was nice to be reminded I wasn't so alone in feeling the way I did regarding, divorce, commitment, remarriage & children. So... for what it is worth, & for better or worse, that's my review.
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This book initially caught my ear because I found Elizabeth's voice in the audio sample really soothing and wanted to hear more. The book is about the struggles of a modern woman's ideas of matrimony, and philosophical questions of what does a marriage and a good husband make. Yes, it's a very personal book, but since I recently got married myself, it spoke to me on a lot of levels. I've gone through the same musings and thoughts myself and given that the entire wedding industry is built around how magical and happy everything is supposed to be, it was good to hear that I'm not alone in being skeptical and afraid about entering marriage (despite my husband being anything a girl could ever wish for).
I wasn't the biggest fan of Eat, Pray, Love - and whether or not that was the case for you - please do not let that stop you from picking up this book if you are thinking about marriage or are already married. This was a wonderful listen, with just the right amount of history and research about the Institution (marriage that is) and personal anecdotes sprinkled throughout. Fascinating was Gilbert's discovery of a book called Subversion (chapter 7), a rather interesting text that claims marriage is actually revolution on a micro level - that while the ruling class has been trying to control the individual, they have never been able to control the almost universal impulse to cohabitate in pairs and get married. What goes on in the marital bed, the secret pillow talks, the shared intimacy, the privacy of a relationship - all of these are threats to those that want to control. This decision to choose one person, above all others, to share your life with is a personal revolution that will on some level, said or unsaid, upset family, friends, and anyone else with an agenda against you. This CONCEPT is revolutionary, and really appealed to the rebel within. And perhaps, for someone like me who never much liked the Institution in the first place, is just the kind of thing I needed to hear.
That being said, there's plenty said in the book against marriage - particularly for women. Less happiness, lower life expectancy, and if you happened to live in the 19th century a nifty legal concept called Coverture - whereupon marriage, a woman's legal rights ceased to exist. When you consider today's typical prenuptial agreement, especially in the case of the disadvantaged party (which often is the woman), not much has changed. Its maddening.
Another interesting tidbit, especially in light of the Pope's recent comments - Christianity has only very recently been a proponent of marriage - and only once the powers that be realized they could not stop people from cohabitating and marrying did this come to be. Originally celibacy & non marriage were heavily encouraged. If you can't beat em, join em, I guess.
I was disappointed in this book because it did not have the appeal or the flow of Eat, Pray, Love.
I did not find the details of what commitment is, and what love means to her presented in a way that held my attention. I think it would have benefitted from a good editor with a sharp red pen.
Fantastic narration. A great follow up to Eat, Pray, Love. A good supportive reminder for those traditionalists and non conformists alike!
Teach only love, for that is what you are.
Worth the listen!
Stands on it's own. Blends historical fact with a process of coming to terms with marriage, albeit reluctantly.
She narrated her own process.
Not appropriate for a film.
Anyone who still believes the political arguments about marriage can learn the truth in this well researched book.
I'm a researcher by nature, and this book provides a thorough examination of the logical/emotional aspects of matrimony.
I strongly identified with Elizabeth as herself. She carried many of the same questions I had regarding marriage, and provided in-depth and heartfelt explanation as she explored what marriage really means.
This book is very insightful, and provided a lot of "aha" moments for me. I'm much better for having read it (and just in time as the wedding is in October!) I strongly suggest this book to anyone who struggles with balancing fact and fiction in light of the Hollywood Romance epidemic that subliminally impacts us all.
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