Committed by Elizabeth Gilbert
I wanted to read Committed for two reasons: I enjoyed Eat, Pray, Love and I envision myself getting married sometime in my life. That being said, I would say that my interest in matrimony proved to be a better motivation to read the book than the prequel. As the back announces before reading, this novel is in part a historical and sociological look at marriage. Elizabeth Gilbert does extensive research in history and cultures about how they view marriage. Because of my intention to marry, and my own conflicted feelings about marriage, I found this book very interesting and even helpful. There were quotes I wanted to share with my partner and discuss in regards to our own potential marriage (in a way that the prequel does not share).
The book is divided into chapters that are organized chronologically, but also by theme (expectation, autonomy, women, etc). That is what separates this book from its prequel, is that there is a more specific theme in each chapter which is furthered by historical information. I found the nature of this information enlightening and interesting. Her thoughts on her research and her own renegotiation with marriage are relevant to me (and anyone who wants to marry). It is not only ideal for any who have doubts or problems with marriage, but also interesting for those who want a semi-historical slice in their novel.
Some of my favorite parts/advice are: an evaluation of one’s expectations regarding happiness and marriage (the idea not to expect that this marriage will be the sole source of one’s happiness) and “Let’s be careful” (to be extra careful in the next moments not to say words one does not mean). I thoroughly enjoyed the novel for its information and its narration of her personal experience. While the novel’s ultimate negotiation can be on unsteady ground (there is no clear cut answer – it is truly a negotiation), that was never the point. This is less a book about her solution to her problems with marriage, but a book about her renegotiation and re-evaluation of her own ideas and expectations about marriage (which is more fluid anyway).
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