Sunday, November 27, 2011

4th Book Club Selection: Committed, by Elizabeth Gilbert

    I am fairly certain I can assume that all of you have heard about/read the best selling memoir and now motion picture Eat Pray Love, by Elizabeth Gilbert. Well, Committed: A Skeptic Makes Peace With Marriage is her follow up memoir, and my 4th 9er Domestic Book Club Selection.

    I read Eat Pray Love about three years ago when it was announced as an Oprah book club selection. I found the novel captivating and unable to put down. I remember reading the entire thing in a day. So when she published Committed, I was instantly interested. Although it is a follow up novel to Eat Pray Love, it isn't necessary to have read the first to enjoy the second.
    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 researching the topic in it's entirity, trying with all her might to discover through historical research, interviews, and a lot of personal reflection what this stubbornly enduring old institution actually is. Commited is told with Gilbert's trademark wit, intelligence and compassion, and 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.
    This book was a nice conclusion to the previous memoir written by Elizabeth Gilbert. Although I did say the books could be read independantly, I do think it is necessary to first read Eat, Pray, Love even if just to develop a relationship with the characters.
    Committed, was written in a similar style to previous memoir, but was more of Elizabeth reflecting on her dissaproval of marriage rather than her search to find herself. This book takes on a completely different tone than her last, but I still enjoyed it nonetheless.

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