Wednesday, January 13, 2010

I'm Reading...

Committed: A Skeptic Makes Peace with Marriage by Elizabeth Gilbert

I loved Eat, Pray, Love.  I identified with Gilbert's restlessness. Heartbroken? Head to Italy and beyond. Makes sense to me.  Committed is the follow up to EPL, where Gilbert finds herself forced to marry her sweetheart so that he may enter the United States. A self-declared skeptic of marriage after a nasty divorce, this book is part history of marriage, part anecdotes on marriage from family, friends, and strangers around globe, part self-rationalization and philosophy lesson. If you've ever asked yourself Why? or conversely, Why Not? to the question of marriage in the modern age, this book attempts to pull all of those questions and ideas and justifications together. In the end however, it is a love story.

Some quotes:

“It is delicate, then, this operation of mutual, quiet, almost velvety oppression. Out of respect, we   must learn how to release and confine each other with the most exquisite care, but we should never- not even for a moment-pretend that we are not confined.” (pg 226)

“Every couple in the world has the potential over time to become a small and isolated nation of two-creating their own culture, their own language, and their own moral code, to which nobody else can be privy.” (pg 257)

I tend to ask these kind of philosophical questions anyway, but it was handy it have it all wrapped up with a bit of history thrown in for good measure. It's not the captivating story of Eat, Pray, Love, and really there are very few thunderbolts in here. She mostly ignores the role of children in marriage, and touches only lightly on recent politics. But it is an easy read in the voice of an old friend, and a few times I was given pause by a new idea or piece of the puzzle.

While we're on the subject, check out this New York Times article "Married (Happily) with Issues" by Elizabeth Weil and this post by Meg on her experiences with pre-marital counseling.


  1. just wandered over here via good mouse bad mouse, and so delighted to see you like gilbert's new book. i made the mistake of reading the nytimes book review before reading the book (they CANNED it!) but now you've inspired me to pick it up. i LOVED her profile of eustace conway in "the last american man" and both loved and couldn't stand EPL (i lost patience with some of the navel-gazing), but ultimately i found some passages described so articulately the burden of a broken relationship and the joy, independence, and self-discovery found in traveling. she's a talented storyteller and a fascinating, gung-ho gal.

    anywho, this looks a maaarvelous blog. happy to have found you! xo

  2. I've enjoyed her books before, I'll have to check this one out.