Friday, December 21, 2012

Book Review--Committed: A Skeptic Makes Peace with Marriage

This is an excellent book.  The author is Elizabeth Gilbert who wrote the very popular Eat, Pray, and Love.  I enjoyed that as well, but this book I found to be even better.

It is a sequel of sorts.  If you have not read Eat, Pray, and Love or seen the movie by the same title--Liz Gilbert falls in love in the "love" part of that true story.  Committed is about the couple's subsequent journey toward marriage something that they were not considering when they fell in love, but were compelled to consider because of legal issues. (Gilbert and her sweetheart had each been divorced previously and were adamantly opposed to marriage).

Eat, Pray, and Love is a love story.  It is also very well written.  We, or at least many of us, can identify with heartbreak, healing, and the joy of reconnecting.  The familiarity of the story, the engaging writing, and the happy ending  made the book as popular as it was. (I will throw in, that despite the lukewarm reviews of the movie, I thought the movie with Julia Roberts was excellent and loyal to the book).

Committed is not a story in the same way as Eat Pray and Love. Committed is not difficult but not a page turner either. It could sit on my coffee table all weekend and I would not feel like I needed to read it. With most books I like, I can't not pick them up when I am into them. I shlep them everywhere in case I have a few minutes to read.  Committed was not this way for me.

Still, the book is wonderful.  Gilbert is so gifted as a writer, and so humble and straight shooting throughout.    I learned quite a bit about marriage and was especially informed by the history portion.  But what I liked the most were her honest and often self-deprecating reflections describing how the two of them, in very difficult circumstances, maintained and strengthened their union.  On the inside cover of the book, I kept writing page numbers down of sections that I found to be meaningful. After a while I ran out of space.

Sometimes when I like a book of non fiction that reveals the author's philosophies, I wonder if I like the book because the author thinks like I do.  My personality is not like Liz Gilbert's, but my sensibilities, I believe, are.  If you are looking for some escape reading, this is not for you, but if you are interested in relationships and the  inherent obstacles to loving, I think you will find this book as good as I did. Gilbert writes of couples that all they want is a "little bit of privacy in which to practice love."  The question to me is when the privacy is there, do the couples practice effectively.  I am curious to know how Liz and her husband are doing these days. 

No comments:

Post a Comment