We dated the Zeros… so you don’t have to.

25
February

You Ate, Prayed, and Found Love. Now, is it time to get Committed?

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Millions of readers fell in love with Elizabeth Gilbert’s memoir Eat, Pray, Love, and with good reason; it reads like a romance novel with the added bonus of being true. When our heroine’s epic journey of self discovery across four continents ends with the bonus prize of true love, it doesn’t as overly convenient as it might in a novel, because that’s the way it actually happened.

Because Eat, Pray, Love ends with Elizabeth and ‘Philipe’ in love in Bali, and Committed starts with them still in love and starting their lives together in unmarried bliss back in America, it is tempting to think of Committed as a sequel. The plot of Committed is very simple – the lovers are committed to spending their lives together unmarried until ‘Philipe’ is deported, and they have to decide between separating, living out of the country together or marrying. And so Elizabeth takes another epic journey, but this time instead of a wild adventure through Italy, India and Bali, it is through history books. Which is why this book is definitely not a sequel to Eat, Pray, Love. It reads less like a highish-brow true romance than a history of western marriage through the perspective of one woman.

If you liked the more thinky aspects of Eat, Pray, Love, Committed is a good read. Elizabeth Gilbert’s relaxed and conversational tone keeps the book from being dry – for the most part.  But if you are looking to get swept away in a compelling narrative, Committed is not for you.

I really like anecdotal history, and as someone who has always been ambivalent about marriage, I found Committed fascinating. Many of the assumptions I’ve made about western marriage were turned on their head.  Particularly fascinating was how unsacred the early Christians viewed marriage. Gilbert asks some vital questions of herself, and the reader by extension. Statistics show that women’s lives, health and economic situations all suffer through the institution of marriage (the opposite is true of men), and nearly half of all marriages end in divorce. So why is it that the majority of women are so focused on getting married? Why do so many women want something that, statistically, isn’t going to make their lives better? The answer may be no more logical than ‘because I do”, but Committed makes a strong argument in favor of at least asking the question.

If this sounds too dry for you, try the audio book which is read by the author. You’ll miss out on the ability to underline some particularly interesting statistics and some beautiful quotes, but the humor and heart of Committed is strengthened by Gilbert’s read. For the average reader, though it’s narrative is not especially compelling, Committed is still enjoyable and ultimately worth reading. For anyone thinking about getting married, put it on the top of your reading list.

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