Title : Committed
Author : Elizabeth Gilbert
ISBN : 9780670021659
Publisher : Riverhead
Genre : Non-fiction
Pages : 285
Source : Self
Rating : 4 stars
The cheesy cover and title of this book are completely deceptive. Committed isn’t a love story, it’s a heart-full and thorough research on the subject of the institution of marriage.
The book’s prequel, Eat, Pray, Love, ends with Elizabeth Gilbert (the author) falling in love with a passionate Brazilian-born American citizen, Felipe. The duo settle in America and vow to love each other passionately, but to never get married. However, the US immigration service bans Felipe from returning to the States, until the two of them get married. Therefore, out of her desire to live with Felipe, the author delves into the topic of the institution of marriage.
In this book, Liz attempts to seek clarity on the topic, diving deep into the historical and sociological aspects of marriage. She talks about why marriage was invented, what it means to people from different cultures and religions, and about the changes that have occurred in western marriages during the past centuries.
Committed is a thoughtful analysis of courtships, families, and relationships across numerous eras and cultures. The story is never smug or superior.
The author doesn’t ask anyone to agree with her nor is she trying to convince anybody to get married or to not get married or giving out marital advices. (Even though she wisely advises women to seek for education and financial independence prior to marriage). She’s merely enlisting changes that have occurred in the Western marriage during the past centuries.
I have noticed a common theme in Elizabeth Gilbert’s work and that is of seeking truth and clarity amid thousands of theories, expectations and ideas sold to us by society. Gilbert has an amazing gift and it is her curiosity. She actually talks to people and gets the story and she’s extremely good at connecting all the dots and unearthing personal history and reference points to illustrate more abstract and erudite concepts.
My favorite quote from the book: “Marriage is those two thousand indistinguishable conversations, chatted over two thousand indistinguishable breakfasts, where intimacy turns like a slow wheel. How do you measure the worth of becoming that familiar to somebody-so utterly well known and so thoroughly ever-present that you become an almost invisible necessity, like air?”
Committed is gripping, sensible, full of information a sometimes refreshing, sometimes unsettling look at the reality of marriage and its consequences.
Great read, highly recommended.