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Book Review: Committed: A Skeptic Makes Peace with Marriage ~Elizabeth Gilbert

Wedding Rings

Wedding Rings

I so enjoyed Elizabeth Gilbert’s  EAT, PRAY, LOVE book, which is going to be released in movie form this August (2010).   The writing was 5 stars and the memoir was fascinating about recovery from divorce.  The book was hugely popular – a best seller.

Gilbert’s writing style is impressive and I have now read several of her other books and numerous other entries on her list of short stories.   I even watched her on the TED lectures explain that when one has success it does not always mean that was the noteworthy ‘5 minutes of fame” and the ride is complete.   We will all be graced with another time or two with the greatness of her writing.

Although COMMITTED is another memoir, this one about her needing to get a VISA so that she and her partner could get married and live together in the USA, it is a very different book.   So far it has not received the rave reviews or even the reader’s support.    I think they just heard that it was not as “GOOD” and so did not bother.

I thought the book was powerful and inspiring.   I wondered how I could get more people to read it, because I still think lots and lots of folks saunter down the aisle not even thinking about a plan for their marriage.  Many, many really do not have a clue about what they are committing to.

It is just something everyone does – this getting married business.

Gilbert has pulled history off the shelf and enlivened our knowledge base with interesting sociology; wrapping it around their personal struggles to get all the paperwork completed.  Her interviews with Grandparents, children, and family members are full of delightful analysis and discovery.   I so enjoyed her attempts at understanding marriage in the context of differing cultures from historic to contemporary situations.   Marriage is changing around the world – often driven by economics alone and with disregard for history and humanity.

I underlined and highlighted large portions of the book and referenced at least 4 more books to read in the future.   I was hard pressed to limit the number of quotes I wanted to share – but I did press down to two that I thought were significant resolutions:

We all are attempting….to force our marriage to “empower without disempowering, enable without disenabling, fulfill without burdening. “    ~ Bauman

Marriage is not an act of private prayer.  Instead, it is both a public and a private concern, with real-world consequences.    ~ Brian

I believe EPL is a great book about someone rediscovering their own sense of self-recovery, and it is her story, not mine.   I believe Committed takes us into a deeper sense of where this institution of marriage is headed and how rapidly it is evolving.  This is a story for all of us to be awakened – not just entertained.

I am giving this book to my partner for our 33rd wedding anniversary and hopefully it will make for some interesting discussion over the next few months.   I have asked all three of my daughters to put this on their reading list.   I think it is definitely 5 stars.

This book is available from this site and from most of your favorite bookstores and KINDLE.

What do you think is the purpose of marriage?  Do you think it is evolving or changing?  Did I inspire you to at least think about reading this book?  Hope so…..looking forward to your delightful insights.

Related Reading:
Momma Mia!
Merle’s Door
32 reasons to love my marriage
Donuts, coffee and the wisdom of daughters

25 Responses to “Book Review: Committed: A Skeptic Makes Peace with Marriage ~Elizabeth Gilbert”

  1. Tony Single Says:

    The timing could not be spookier! My lovely wife just bought EPL for herself last night! She can’t wait to get stuck into it. :)

    It seems, however, that Committed would be more my cup of tea. I can see me and Cass reading this one and then discussing it to death. We thought we knew what we were getting into when we got married… but really, we had no clue. Still, we’re happily married after 14 years, so we must have bumbled into something right after all, eh? 😛

    I’m looking for a copy of Committed asap. I think this could be a worthwhile investment and an aid to looking at where we’ve come from and planning for our future together. Thanks for the recommendation, Patricia. :)

  2. Talon Says:

    I have to honestly say I don’t know if anything could have prepared me for marriage. It’s like when you’re 10 years in you look around and say, “Wow! So THIS is what marriage is!” We’re at the point now that my hubby and I have been married longer than we were single – 30 years this June. I think what people don’t talk about enough is that in a long-term marriage, things will always be changing. There will be times when you downright don’t even like the person you’re hooked to a wagon with, but there will be times when you’ll look at them – as if seeing them for the first time – and you’ll be in awe. It’s an amazing journey that I’d take all over again in a heartbeat.

    My friend has EPL and is going to pass it over to me when she’s finished reading it. I look forward to reading it.
    .-= Talon´s last blog ..Cherished =-.

  3. Lisa@Practically Intuitive Says:

    Patricia,

    I’m glad to read your review of this book. Like so many others, I ADORED EPL and have read and re-read it several times. The time she spent in India really moved me. She is an amazing writer.

    So, I had a bit of trepidation about this new work (and as an aside, cannot imagine trying to follow up such a break-out book as EPL) … glad to hear it’s a valuable read on its own. I think I will pick up a copy on your recommendation.

    As for what I think about marriages – hmm. I got married later in life (40) and it’s definitely been an eye-opening experience for me. I still have trouble being part of a “team” when I’ve been on my own for a long time. (I was an only child and quite content with my own company.) Marriage is truly evolving and where it goes as society changes will be interesting to watch.

  4. vered | blogger for hire Says:

    33 years – wow, that’s impressive.

    Thank you for the review!
    .-= vered | blogger for hire´s last blog ..What Was Your Worst Haircut Ever =-.

  5. Patricia Says:

    Tony,
    ELP is a wonderful book and I think Cassie will like it very much, Committed I think you will both enjoy and I am sure my partner will find things to share about this book too – he is not a big talker – tho every anniversary we sit down and look at our marriage and make a plan for the year ahead….kind of our own personal retreat and it will be nice to have a focus.

  6. Patricia Says:

    Talon,
    30 years – congratulations – change, disillusion, and awe a very nice summation. I never thought I wanted to get married, but promised my father as he was dying….who would have thought this was it when first we begin?

    So many folks don’t even have a clue

  7. Patricia Says:

    Lisa,
    I think marriage is changing a great deal worldwide right now – pushed by economics which I feel are fairly greed orientated. I see many young people opting not to get married, even after children, because the do not find the meaning and value in it.
    It is really a part of our life lessons – isn’t it?

  8. Patricia Says:

    vered,
    You are welcome. I think it is a good read.

  9. suzen Says:

    Hi Patricia! I’m pathetically behind in the fiction catagory but the list grows and grows – someday, when I’m done with school maybe. EPL is on the list and I’ll add Committed too. I agree when you find a writer you like, read them all! Hubs and I have just celebrated 29 yrs – well, no celebration since he forgot but oh well. Guess we are committed.
    Hugs
    suZen

  10. Patricia Says:

    suzen,
    I think you will enjoy EPL and Committed very much – they are not fiction but memoirs of life her life journey.

    29 years – sounds good to me Hip Hurray
    Sometimes I have to guess if we are committed too…I loved how respectful of each other this couple is…after both being burned by divorce

  11. Jannie Funster Says:

    Happy 33rd!

    I think the purpose of marriage is to hand down love to future generations.

    Yes, you DID inspire me to read it. Very much.

    You are such an avid reader — more than anyone else I know. AWESOME!!

    xo

  12. Hilary Says:

    Hi Patricia .. great review .. and one I will come back to .. and hopefully get to read, and see the film in due course ..

    I like Jannie’s comment re marriage .. excellent sentiment .. and I’ll be interested to hear how your discussions went .. Congratulations on 33 years …

    Moving in under two weeks – so somewhat fraught! Have a great weekend .. bye for now .. Hilary
    .-= Hilary´s last blog ..Hotspur- the Duchess and The Poison Garden =-.

  13. Davina Says:

    Congrats on 33 years, Patricia.

    Thanks for reviewing this book — sounds like a good read. I really appreciate Talon’s comment because I don’t think we can truly be prepared. And so true that change is the only thing we can count on. If we care enough about ourselves, that should get us through those times we may be at odds with each other, and lighten the load for the other person. My feeling is that they don’t have to carry all of our ‘baggage’. And vice versa.
    .-= Davina´s last blog ..13 Signs Your Ego is Driving Your Blog =-.

  14. Mark Says:

    Sounds like a great read. Thanks for the review, I will be checking this one out.
    .-= Mark´s last blog ..Remember You Are A Visionary =-.

  15. Patricia Says:

    Jannie,
    I just might be to reading like you are to beer and donuts! Or taking pictures?
    What a nice thought about marriage. I think you will truly enjoy this book.

  16. Patricia Says:

    Hilary,
    I have been thinking about your move and wondering when it was going to be – I think you will enjoy both of these book – Eat, Pray, Love and Committed. I just can not stop referring them to people – they resonate well and the writing it good.

  17. Patricia Says:

    Davina,
    OH but sometimes in a marriage one ends up carrying All the baggage!…that can work too :) Yes! Talon’s comments are lovely and Jannie’s loving pass it forward too… how can we possibly know? thank you for you good comments – I think my writing was better too while reading Gilbert’s good prose.

  18. Patricia Says:

    Mark,
    It is very good and equal to her best seller EPL….and it certainly is a discussion starter. I so enjoyed the examples of conflict where they were so respectful of each other – and to the border crossing agents.

  19. Hilary Says:

    Hi Patricia .. thanks for that .. I’ll be reading a bit more in the future I hope. The move has been moved on a week I think – end of the month .. quite glad – gives me an extra week to sort papers etc and be tidied up a bit more .. stories – take up lots of paper & I haven’t written out to family and friends this half of the year

    Enjoy the weekend .. fresh fruit and veggies .. delicious .. Hilary
    .-= Hilary´s last blog ..Hotspur- the Duchess and The Poison Garden =-.

  20. Patricia Says:

    Hilary,
    I hope the move goes smoothly. I have been cleaning up papers from our household and my mum’s estate (have to keep lots of paper for 5 years after death according to accountant). It does feel good to get some gleaning cleaning accomplished – lightens the load

  21. Hilary Says:

    Hi Patricia .. thanks v much .. yes – it sure does help to get the ‘place’ clearer .. be it physical paperwork, or our heads!

    It’s been delayed a week – I think – to the end of the month .. but things happening .. so I trickle on ..

    Thanks for the thoughts .. look after yourself too .. enjoy today in a few hours time! Hilary
    .-= Hilary´s last blog ..Hotspur- the Duchess and The Poison Garden =-.

  22. Cath Lawson Says:

    Hi Patricia – Great review. And congratulations on 33 years of marriage. It is 18 years today since my first wedding and I have to say, anyone thinking about getting married should realize how serious it is – especially if you’re really young. Looking back, I should have waited much longer.
    .-= Cath Lawson´s last blog ..Shoply – A New Place To Sell Your Stuff Online =-.

  23. Patricia Says:

    Hilary,
    Hope it is going well – This phase too shall pass

    Cath,
    I think there is a great deal of wisdom in this book. I did wait longer – actually I thought I would never marry….ah me such a deal, but it is still lots of work to keep it going. We could all use a few minutes with this book :)
    .-= Patricia´s last blog ..5 In 2 =-.

  24. Tess The Bold Life Says:

    Patricia,
    I saw Elizabeth in person in AZ and have a signed copy of the book. It’s weird but I couldn’t get into it. In person she is absolutely hilarious. We were all ROFL or rolling on the floor laughing. I’m looking forward to seeing the movie, Eat Love Pray.

    Married 38 plus years and dated two.

    I love what Jannie said about handing down love to future generations. lovely.
    .-= Tess The Bold Life´s last blog ..It’s Time for Bold Family Lifestyle Leadership =-.

  25. Patricia Says:

    Tess,
    Lucky you – yes I had heard that she is very funny, I think she is not funny in this book – she is writing about the stress of the situation in the first sections, I just liked the book better and better as I got into it..

    Congratulations on 38 years….Now you need to write a book about marriage – I think it will be even better than from someone who was divorced and figuring out if she wants to try again.

    Yes, Jannie’s concept is just right and lasting