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02.9.10


Product Description

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.

>I was so excited to learn the Elizabeth Gilbert published a new book. I absolutely fell in love with Eat, Pray, Love. In Committed EG comes to terms with marriage. Ms. Gilbert digs deep into what marriage is, what is was, and how it has evolved over the centuries. This, of course, is Ms. Gilbert’s interpretation of events, but she falls back on an enormous amount of research to draw these conclusions. Even better, she writes about it in a way that is entertaining and easy to read. If you have no desire to learn about the history of marriage you may find this book not to your liking. However, if you are married, engaged, dating, or divorced I think you would find a great deal of useful information within these pages.

For me, the first half of the book was the best. I particularly liked chapters 2 & 3 (Marriage and Expectation /Marriage and History). Each chapter is opened with a quote which was a nice touch.

“Today the problem that has no name is how to juggle work, love, home and children. Betty Friedan, The Second Stage”

“The first bond of society is marriage—Cicero”

In Chapter 2: Marriage and Expectation Ms Gilbert introduces us to Hmong woman.

“If you are a Hmong woman, then , you don’t necessarily expect your husband to be your best friend, your most intimate confidant, your emotional advisor, your intellectual equal, your comfort in time of sorrow. Hmong women, instead, get a lot of that emotional nourishment and support from other women—from sisters, aunties, mothers, grandmothers.” (p32)

Seriously, it was so nice to read this. It is something I have always believed, but this confirmed what I always thought. Women need women to meet their a lot of their emotional needs. Without my girlfriends I would have lost the crazy battle long ago. They are the ones that talk me back from the cliff, that encourage me when I want to quit, and who understand the obstacles of my life. That is not to say that my husband does not provide those things, but with my girlfriends, they provide them without me ever having to ask. It’s like they intuitively know what it is I need and I know what they need. I feel that women speak to each other on a deeper level than we can ever expect from our husbands and that’s OK! Now, this may be different in your life and I mean no offense, but for me this holds true.

“…there is not one special person waiting for you somewhere in this world who will make your life magically complete, but that there are any number of people (right in your own community, probably) with whom you could seal a respectful bond.” (p41)

Amen to that!

“Marriage becomes hard work once you have poured the entirety of your life’s expectations for happiness into the hands of one mere person. Keeping that going is hard work.” (p48)

Stated like that we are certainly expecting A LOT from our spouses. My poor husband, I hope all his happiness is not dependent on me—that is a burden I would not want to carry.

The historical chapter of marriage probably holds a lot of potentially argumentative points, but it is my favorite chapter of the entire book. It is important to keep an open mind while reading this section. If anything, it will allow your mind to explore other possibilities other than the ones you think are true. I had a very Christian upbringing which allowed no other truth than what the church (Methodist) taught (love ya Mom). For many years I never questioned that, however, the older I get the more open minded I have become (Mom, seriously, I’m not going to hell for having an open mind—it’s ok—really {see what happens when family reads your blog—lol}).

Now, maybe Ms. Gilbert’s interpretation of the bible is completely off here, but in her opening paragraph of chapter 3 (Marriage and History) she writes “First of all, marriage has not always been considered “sacred,” not even within the Christian tradition.” (p 53). She goes on to qualify this statement through various biblical scriptures and other historical documents. You’ll just have to read the book and either agree or agree to disagree. I, however, found it very interesting. Not sure if I completely agree with all of it, but it certainly opens up some discussion points.

There’s lots of other interesting facts throughout the book, but those were my faves. Overall, I would recommend this book to everyone. I think Ms. Gilbert does a wonderful job of showing us how marriage has changed, how we might be setting our expectations too high, and how we can embrace marriage instead of fighting against it.

6 Comments

  1. Brittany Ann
    Posted February 9, 2010 at 8:21 pm | Permalink

    This sounds like a great read! Thanks for the recommendation!

  2. Arizona Mamma
    Posted February 9, 2010 at 9:35 pm | Permalink

    I love to read. I devour books. I have heard nothing but good of "Eat, Pray, Love." Yet, I have not read it. Shame. I better do so.

  3. Booksnyc
    Posted February 10, 2010 at 3:53 am | Permalink

    thanks for the review – I found it via Cym Lowell's review party.

    I loved Eat Pray Love and have been following the review of this one – glad to hear you liked it!

  4. Lauren {Geeb}
    Posted February 10, 2010 at 4:08 am | Permalink

    Great review! I am a new follower and also added you to my blog roll on my blog! I am glad I found you. In a single post you made my To Be Read Pile gain 2 more books! I need to get Eat,Pray,Love and Committed very soon.

    Thanks,
    L.

  5. Tea
    Posted February 10, 2010 at 8:44 pm | Permalink

    Great review! I need to read "Eat, Pray, Love.

  6. christy rose
    Posted February 11, 2010 at 2:06 am | Permalink

    Hi Thanks for the follow over at my place. I am your newest follower.