By Elizabeth Gilbert
From the back of the book:
“At the end of her bestselling memoir Eat, Pray, Love, Elizabeth Gilbert fell in love with Felipe, a Brazilian living in Indonesia. The couple swore eternal love, but also swore (as skittish divorce survivors) to never marry. However, when Felipe was unexpectedly kicked out of the United States by U.S. Immigration officials, the couple was faced with a strict ultimatum: get married or Felipe could never enter America again. Over the next ten months, as Elizabeth and Felipe wandered Southeast Asia waiting for permission to return home and wed, the author searched far and wide for wisdom, advice, and perspective on the subject of romantic commitment.”
Just my opinion:
First of all, I have to admit I’m probably one of the few people who never read “Eat, Pray, Love” and I haven’t seen the movie, either. So, I really didn’t know what to expect when I started reading “Committed.”
This actually turned out to be one of the most interesting nonfiction books I’ve read in a long time. As a social scientist, I’m always interested in topics that discuss the history of people’s lives and the ramifications of such. And this book reminds me of some of the women’s studies courses I took in college to earn my degree.
Gilbert explains in detail the history of relationships and marriage – and the aspects those entail – in a language that makes it easy to read and understand. Then she takes those facts and weaves them around the story of her life between when her previous book ended and she finally (reluctantly) married Felipe.
Her purpose was to find out what marriage means in different cultures, from ancient to modern times, and how she could apply the positive parts to her own life. Both her and Felipe were totally opposed to the idea of marriage, but circumstances forced them into it … it was that or consider the possibility they might not be able to have a life together.
This really is a good book and I’m certainly glad I took the time to read it. Now, I guess I’ll have to give “Eat, Pray, Love” a try!
Some favorite passages from the book:
It doesn’t take a great genius to recognize that when you are pushed by circumstances to do the one thing you have always most specifically loathed and feared, this can be, at the very least, an interesting growth opportunity.
Some fears can be vanquished, Rumpelstiltskin-like, only by uncovering their hidden, secret names.
I had long ago learned that when you are the giant, alien visitor to a remote and foreign culture it is sort of your job to become an object of ridicule. It’s the least you can do, really, as a polite guest.
Maybe the only difference between first marriage and second marriage is that the second time at least you know you are gambling.
Grandpa Stanley had watched Felipe carefully all weekend the first time they met, and then finally cast his verdict: “I like you, Felipe,” he pronounced. “You seem to be a survivor. And you’d better be one, too—because this girl has burned through quite a few of ‘em already.”
But authority figures, much to their frustration, have never been able to entirely control, or even monitor, the most secret intimacies that pass between two people who sleep together on a regular basis.
Marriage is a game. They (the anxious and powerful) set the rules. We (the ordinary and subversive) bow obediently before those rules. And then we go home and do whatever the hell we want anyhow.