Sunday, April 27, 2014

{Book Review} Committed: A Skeptic Makes Peace with Marriage

source: Goodreads

Committed: A Skeptic Makes Peace with Marriage

by Elizabeth Gilbert

First Published: 2009

Pages: 7 CD's

ISBN:  978-0670021659

Dates Read: April 14-21, 2014

Reading Challenges this book is part of: 

- 2014 Audiobook Challenge
- 2014 Non-Fiction Challenge

Synopsis (from Goodreads):

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 entails.

Other works by this author:
  • Eat, Pray, Love
  • The Signature of All Things

Further Information:

My thoughts on the book:

Boys it seems like this book just can't catch a break, well at least on the Goodreads website. Review after review talked about how much people disliked the book, but I quite liked it, and MUCH better than 'Eat, Pray, Love' I must say.

I picked it up because it was basically bargain priced at my local Half Price Bookstore and it was an audiobook at that. I've been looking for some audiobooks to pass the time on my commute but have had a terrible time finding ones that I don't mind listening to. This was one I actually enjoyed listening to and couldn't wait to get back in the car at the end of the work day to hear what other tidbits the author would tell me about. On that merit alone the book gets a couple of stars.

The basic premise of the book is all the research Elizabeth Gilbert does about marriage while she is waiting for the Visa that will allow her Brazilian boyfriend to enter the United States so they can get married. Neither want to get married (both having come through bad divorces) but in order for them to live together in the US they'll have to. So while out of the country she starts to research the history and culture of marriage in an effort to pretty much convince herself it'll be OK. Funny thing is while she's convincing herself of marriage she's turned me more against marriage!

One of the things I liked the best about this was that instead of portraying marriage as some fantasy, romantic, end all and be all, she brought it back down to earth for what it is and has been over the centuries. And it hasn't always been about love. Nor is it all about love even today in some cultures. I also liked that she was honest and real about the faults of individuals that make up a couple- her boyfriend's and her own. We all have them. None of us are as wonderful and perfect as most romance novels would have us believe, yet we still find great people to spend our time with that make our lives so much richer and enjoyable than they would have been without them.

All in all this was a very enjoyable read, well listen, and so good that I'll probably listen to it again in fact.


  1. I had really similar thoughts about this book – Eat Pray Love annoyed me a bit but this I found really fascinating, its one of those ones where I kept telling people random facts from it. It probably helped that I read it just before getting married which added a bit of a different perspective (luckily it didn't put me off! It did make me think about the type of marriage I wanted though).

    1. You sound like me with the random facts- have you told people about the "divorce rate" among seagulls yet? :-)

  2. Hopping over from the Nonfiction Reading Challenge.

    I enjoyed this book, too.