Committed: A Sceptic Makes Peace with Marriage

Elizabeth Gilbert

Committed: A Sceptic Makes Peace with Marriage

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 survivors of difficult divorces. Enough said.) But providence intervened one day in the form of the U.S. government, who - 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 completely into this topic, trying with all her might to discover (through historical research, interviews and much personal reflection) what this stubbornly enduring old institution actually is. 3.2 out of 5 based on 9 reviews
Committed: A Sceptic Makes Peace with Marriage

Omniscore:

Classification Non-fiction
Genre Family & Lifestyle
Format Paperback
Pages 304
RRP £12.99
Date of Publication January 2010
ISBN 978-1408805763
Publisher Bloomsbury
 

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 survivors of difficult divorces. Enough said.) But providence intervened one day in the form of the U.S. government, who - 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 completely into this topic, trying with all her might to discover (through historical research, interviews and much personal reflection) what this stubbornly enduring old institution actually is.

Reviews

The Washington Post

Carolyn See

Felipe shines as a character here; he's quoted infrequently but appears tremendously endearing. On the downside, Gilbert portrays her relatively routine first marriage as something like the last act of a grand opera… This story is essentially journalism, written by an extremely competent journalist. It doesn't pretend to be anything more than that.

07/01/2010

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The Sunday Times

Eleanor Mills

The book improves markedly when she starts to focus on her real subject: herself… I found myself guzzling Committed, reading it in mighty chunks, far into the night.

17/01/2009

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The Observer

Nicola Barr

Gilbert is not at her most comfortable mired in socio-historical research, and the early parts of Committed are a garbled mess. Gilbert soon hits her stride, however, and the book grows into a lively commentary on a paradoxical institution she represents as repressive and expansive, subversive and conformist. Try as she might, though, she can't draw herself away from what she does best: telling her own story with humble but courageous honesty.

10/01/2010

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The Los Angeles Times

Samantha Dunn

Gilbert -- who, before her mega hit, was a well-respected, guy's gal kind of journalist known for penning terrific features in such mags as GQ and Rolling Stone -- seems to have reverted to a comfortable journalistic distance in this book. The problem is that this is a first-person account and the subject is love, and her life. She tells readers that she loves Felipe, but nowhere does she show a truly unique, poignant moment. She talks of her anguish about marriage, but it is never proved in the actions between them. Gilbert is far too skilled not to be entertaining, but forgive a reader thirsting for more emotion.

03/01/2010

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The Daily Mail

Jane Shilling

Despite its relentless and sometimes wearisome talkiness, its Dictionary of Quotations scholarship and its tourist guide anthropology, it is as near to an honest attempt at self-knowledge as ever contrived. Gilbert has the seductive ability to make her reader almost as fascinated by her story as she is herself.

26/01/2010

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The Financial Times

Isabel Berwick

Most compellingly, Gilbert puts herself at the centre of the tale, making a virtue of solipsism (“I require an amount of devotional attention that would have made Marie Antoinette blush”).

08/01/2010

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The New York Times

Curtis Sittenfeld

While her musings are usually interesting, some of the connections between her brief firsthand experiences in Asia and the larger phenomena they’re meant to illustrate seem tenuous. And this, in turn, accentuates the neither-fish-nor-fowl quality of “Committed,” a criticism Gilbert anticipates by self-mockingly referring to it as “another memoir (with extra socio-historical bonus sections!).” She’s right, though — the book is rather chatty and personal to be so heavy on research, but it’s rather researched to be so chatty and personal.

07/01/2010

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The Times

Suzi Godson

Though it does, at times, feel as if she has cherry-picked the most interesting ideas from authoritative works on marriage, she also makes academic texts accessible to a wide audience.

07/01/2010

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The New Yorker

Ariel Levy

“Committed” is an unfurling of Gilbert’s profound anxiety about reëntering a legally binding arrangement that she does not really believe in. All this ambivalence, expressed in her high-drama prose, can be a lot to handle. (One generally doesn’t indulge another person’s emotional processing at this length unless the jabbering is likely to conclude with sex.)

11/01/2010

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