Monday, August 1, 2016

[Book Review] Committed by Elizabeth Gilbert

Committed: A Skeptic Makes Peace with MarriageCommitted: A Skeptic Makes Peace with Marriage by Elizabeth Gilbert
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Part 1: From The Book Cover

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.

Part 2: Recommendation

I read and enjoyed Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert back in July 8, 2014 and it was such a great experience, that I decided to follow-up on the story with Felipe and thus read Committed. While it was not as great as Eat, Pray, Love and it was not meant to be an exact sequel but designed to be ramblings on what marriage truly means, why is she so skeptic about the whole thing, her fears surrounding marriage and everything she discovered about marriage through research and talking to the married people she met throughout her travels with Felipe.

I was a bit disappointed with this book in the sense that there was very little mentioned about the relationship (struggles and growth or lack of growth) between Liz and Felipe. This book really was more focused on marriage and divorce statistics, historical research data on the reasons why people get married, (which, by the way, you can easily have figured out by reading a couple of historical romance novels) and transcripts of her interviews with married women. I realize that Committed is Ms. Gilbert's attempt at understanding marriage and her way of coming to terms with it and as her way of preparing herself for her own marriage to Felipe and she succeeded in delivering that, it's just that I felt cheated in the sense that I didn't pick up this book to read someone else's [diary] ramblings on marriage and relationships when it is quite obvious she is not the marrying type and should probably never have gotten married. In light of recent events in Ms. Gilbert's personal life, I feel sad and pained for her and Felipe as all this could've been avoided by finding another way or another country to live in. I mean, writers can work literally everywhere in the world so why couldn't Ms. Gilbert settle in Bali (or anywhere else) with Felipe and never have to get legally married and would probably have avoided all the trouble they went through in this book.

In conclusion, Committed served only to solidify my belief that if a person truly doesn't feel like getting married, then don't get married. Some people are meant for marriage and some aren't. If you are someone who is thinking about getting married and/or engaged but is having a tough time deciding whether to go for it or not, then this book might give you some perspective and statistical data that may or may not scare you off. If it scares you off, then maybe the person you're planning to marry is not the right one after all.

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